The Lord CharlesThe Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water was a principal sponsor for the 2009 Biennial Groundwater Conference which was held from 16-18 November at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West, South Africa.

The conference was attended by more than 250 prestigious delegates from 20 countries, including leading environmentalists,  academics, scientists and researchers, as well as key players in Africa's groundwater industry.

PSIPW's General Secretary, Dr. AbdulmaleK A. Al Alsheikh presented the Prize during the opening ceremony of the conference and invited nominations for the Prize's  current award.

With the National Water act of 1998, South Africa declared groundwater to be a "public resource" and the government is committed to transforming groundwater from "a  resource of last resort, dellivered to rural communities in times of drout and disaster" to a resource that "can play an important part in increasing the total  availibility of water in all sectors."

Cape Town Groundwater Conference 2009In line with this ambitious goal, the conference's theme was "Pushing the Limits", and Dr. AbdulmaleK A. Al Alsheikh contributed to this effort by presenting the  Prize's long experience with King Fahad's Water Harvesting Project during the conference session on "Artificial Recharge and Climate Change". In Saudi Arabia,  groundwater is a significant source of the country's water.

More than 120 papers were presented at the conference, many of which stressed the countless links groundwater has with society, the economy, land use, and the health  of the environment.