Scope and Objectives

Scope

Natural mineral water is a term, which in various countries is understood differently. However, all definitions of mineral water have in common a characterization that natural mineral water is a groundwater possessing extraordinary purity and chemical properties, which may positively affect the state of population´s health and may have even medicinal effects. In some countries distribution of bottled natural mineral waters represents the main source of drinking water for the majority of the population.

The issue of global pollution of the environment accentuates the qualitative aspect connected with resources of potable groundwater not only in industrial but also in developing countries. Therefore, the importance and demand for mineral waters are sharply increasing world-wide.

Mineral waters in the form of the so-called bottled waters belong among the most important food commodities. The use of mineral waters in balneology, balneotherapy and in prevention of various diseases is becoming more intense. Consequently, the hydrogeologists are facing the problem of increasing demand for natural mineral waters and the search for their resources. Securing of continually increasing volumes of extremely high quality groundwaters generates simultaneously rising requirements on the protection of the existing resources.

Objectives

The major objective of the conference is to bring together four groups of experts:

The first group includes mostly hydrogeologists and hydrogeochemists who deal with the search for and protection of mineral water resources. This regards hydrogeologists from universities, research institutes and private consultancy firms particularly those interested in thermal and mineral waters, who want to see up-to-date studies on the structure and functioning of such hydrosystems, who want to learn about methodologies they can use to characterise existing springs or springs to be developed in the next future.

The second group include professionals involved in distribution of bottled mineral waters whose activities are essentially dependent on the results of hydrogeological exploration.  This includes also the managers and hydrogeologists from bottling companies and, if such companies do not have their own hydrogeologist, the quality managers.

The third group includes professionals for whom the mineral water is a tool used for treatment of various diseases and their prevention. There exists a broad spectrum of issues, which are dealt with in balneology, i.e. balneotherapy and balneotechnics. Experts in this group are represented mostly by physicians who use mineral waters for medicinal procedures, for complex balneotherapy and physiotherapy. Therefore, groundwater during this conference should be presented and considered a very complex scientific field of which results may have extremely broad consequences and effects.

The fourth group regards administrations (local, regional, national, European, etc.) that evaluate projects aimed at development of new sources of natural mineral waters. It also includes professionals  and administrators involved in designing the regulatory measures for safeguarding and protection of natural mineral water resources.

Conference structure – updated (February 2014)

Conference is centred around the following themes:

  • THEME A: HYDROGEOLOGY AND HYDROGEOCHEMISTRY — ORIGIN, PROTECTION AND MANAGEMENT
  • THEME B: BOTTLED WATER — MARKET AND DEMAND, HEALTH ISSUES
  • THEME C: BALNEOLOGY — BALNEOTHERAPY AND BALNEOTECHNICS.

All presentations (themes A, B and C) during the entire conference time will be held in plenary way, i.e. in one lecture hall only. The programme during each day will consist of a number of presentation time blocks, each of these time blocks being devoted to a certain theme. At the beginning of each day – and at the beginning of most presentation time blocks – introductory keynote lectures will be held. The main objective if these keynote lectures will be the presentation of typical problems existing in the fields of hydrogeology-hydrogeochemistry (theme A), bottled mineral water (theme B), and balneology (theme C). These introductory keynote lectures are intended also for colleagues from other disciplines. By doing so, the experts from, for example, water bottling and balneology will learn about current issues in the field of hydrogeology and hydrogeochemistry, and vice versa, of course. The invited keynote lectures (30 minutes) will be followed by a series of regular oral presentations (15 or 20 minutes). Based on the abstracts received, most presentations are expected from themes A and B. In addition to oral (platform) presentations there is a possibility to present the work by means of posters.

The conference will be a great opportunity for official or informal meetings of leading players in the field of mineral waters.

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