Salt Water Intrusion Meeting (SWIM)

The history of SWIM

Group photo taken during 24th SWIM, Cairns, AustraliaThe Salt Water Intrusion Meetings (SWIMs) have been held since 1968. The first one was convened by the late Professor Dr. W. Richter, who invited some German, Dutch and Danish colleagues to his institute in Hanover, Germany, to discuss saltwater intrusion in coastal aquifers. He felt that the three countries had similar problems in this field and that an exchange of experience would be useful. After this meeting, it was decided that there should be a follow-up meeting. The following five meetings where organized by countries located around the North Sea (1970, Vogelenzang, the Netherlands; 1972, Copenhagen, Denmark; 1974, Ghent, Belgium, 1977, Medmenham, UK; and 1979, Hanover, Germany). The main topics of these meetings were the exploration of salt water in groundwater reservoirs by geophysical surveys, geophysical well logging, and the chemistry of groundwater samples. The phenomenon of groundwater salinization was mainly treated with analytical models in view of the increasing water demand in the coastal plain. However, some inland problems with deep saline water were also considered.

The number of meeting participants increased steadily over the years. Also the number of contributions coming from countries not bordering the North Sea became larger. As a consequence the two following SWIMs were organized in Sweden, a country bordering the East Sea (Uppsala, 1981) and in Italy, a country bordering the Mediterranean Sea (Bari, 1983). From that moment on, it was generally accepted that SWIM could be organized by any European country with important salt water problems. After a short return of SWIM to its cradle (1986, Delft, the Netherlands and 1988, Ghent, Belgium) SWIM started being held all over Europe (see list below).

During the years, the scope of SWIM changed progressively and enlarged considerably, from the pure exploitation of coastal and continental aquifers that may be affected by salt water to all aspects of a sustainable development of the groundwater resources, taking into account all technical and managerial implementation means to protect and restore the water bodies and the environment. Today, the number of disciplines involved with salt water intrusion is still growing. The categories in which the published papers were grouped in the proceedings shifts continualy.

SWICA, short for Salt Water Intrusion in Coastal Aquifers, was founded in the early 2000s, and formed an initiative formed to address salt water intrusion at the global scale. The first SWICA meeting was held in 2001 in Essaouira, Morocco, and was followed by a second event in 2003 in Merida, Mexico. At the 2004 meeting in Cartagena, the links between SWIM and SWICA were strengthened and it was decided to organize a joint SWIM-SWICA conference in Cagliari, Italy in 2006. This joint conference was the 19th SWIM and the 3rd SWICA. At this first joint meeting it was decided to merge both groups under the SWIM name, and to organise a conference very two years. In 2009, the first Asia-Pacific Coastal Aquifer Management Meeting (APCAMM) was held. This conference has similar objectives as the SWIM, but with a specific geographic focus. In 2016, SWIM and APCAMM were organised jointly in Cairns, and both conferences will exist in parallel in the future.

List of previous meetings

  1. 2018 Gdansk, Poland
  2. 2016 Cairns, Australia
  3. 2014 Husum, Germany
  4. 2012 Buzios, Brazil
  5. 2010 S. Miguel, Azores, Portugal
  6. 2008 Naples, Florida
  7. 2006 Cagliari, Italy
  8. 2004 Cartagena, Spain
  9. 2002 Delft, The Netherlands
  10. 2000 Miedzyzdroje, Poland
  11. 1998 Ghent, Belgium
  12. 1996 Malmo, Sweden
  13. 1994 Cagliari, Italy
  14. 1992 Barcelona, Spain
  15. 1990 Danzig, Poland
  16. 1988 Ghent, Belgium
  17. 1986 Delft, The Netherlands
  18. 1983 Bari, Italy
  19. 1981 Upsala, Sweden
  20. 1979 Hanover, Germany
  21. 1977 Medmenham, UK
  22. 1974 Ghent, Belgium
  23. 1972 Copenhagen, Denmark
  24. 1970 Vogelenzang, The Netherlands
  25. 1968 Hanover, Germany