Use of geosynthetics in water conservation and erosion control was the focus at sessions hosted by the IGS Technical Committee on Hydraulics (TC-H).
The TC-H held two speaking events at the 5th African Regional Conference hosted by the Moroccan National Committee of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) in Marrakech, Morocco.
The IGS-supported events at the hybrid conference first focused on the durability of geosynthetic barriers for reservoirs and water preservation. Keynote speaker J.P. Giroud spoke on ‘Geosynthetics for water conservation’ with further speakers Alberto Scuero, Catrin Tarnowski, Kent Von Maubeuge, Bertrand Breul and Carl Charpentier exploring topics such as clay liners, bituminous geomembrane, and geo-electric leak detection.
Erosion control was discussed in the second session where keynote speaker Pietro Rimoldi shared ‘An overview of geosynthetics products for erosion control on slopes and river/channel banks’.
Also speaking were Simon Ebbert, Will Crawford, Edwin Zengerink, Eyal Blatman and Paulo Di Pietro, on topics including shoreline protection, and the uses of gabions, mattresses and geomats.
TC-H chairman Eric Blond said water scarcity has been exacerbated with the advance of climate change, and managing this precious resource was key.
He said: “We hope through our technical sessions we can share the ways geosynthetics have a positive part to play in addressing water resource management and safeguarding, and how these materials can improve the performance of infrastructure such as reservoirs so water is not lost to something as simple as poor lining materials.
“Preventing the erosion of riverbanks is also a key issue, especially in regions more exposed to extreme climate events.
“Spreading an understanding of the positive part geosynthetics can play is vital to make positive global change.”
Mr Blond added: “I would like to thank IGS Morocco for helping to coordinate these sessions, in particular its President Dr. Houssine Ejjaaouani as well as Vice President Abdelaziz Khattari who arranged a simultaneous translation of the talks for the entire duration of the geosynthetic sessions.”
Mr. Khattari said: “On the sidelines of the conferences, the Moroccan chapter organized a stand to promote the use and role of geosynthetics for the storage and preservation of water quality as well as the reinforcement and protection of soils against erosion.
“Several case studies made it possible to quantify the reduction in the environmental impact related to the use of geosynthetics in hydraulic structures, or in anti-erosion sites, showing geosynthetics effectively contribute to sustainable development.”
The lectures were the latest in the IGS’s continued collaboration with ICID on education and information events. IGS-supported lectures or keynote talks have previously featured in ICID conferences in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The TC-H is also due to contribute to ICID’s next annual conference in Adelaide, Australia, in October 2022, where it has a full day dedicated to geosynthetic technologies.