6th International Conference
Novel Methods for Subsurface Characterization and Monitoring:
From Theory to Practice
NovCare 2019
May 28-31, 2019
Waterloo, Canada
Application of Direct Push -Technology for subsurface characterization ( Photo: Künzelmann(UFZ))

The 6th International Conference “Novel Methods for Subsurface Characterization and Monitoring: From Theory to Practice” - NovCare 2019 took place from May 28-31, 2019 at the University of Waterloo in Canada. This conference, organized by the University of Waterloo, the University of Guelph, the Kansas Geological Survey and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, was the sixth conference in a series that has proven to be a great event for field oriented subsurface science and an excellent forum for exchanging ideas and experiences related to the challenges of subsurface characterization and monitoring as well as for establishing new collaborations.

Previous conferences in the series were in Leipzig in 2009, Cape Cod in 2011, Leipzig again in 2013, Lawrence/Kansas in 2015 and Dresden in 2017. At every one of these previous conferences about 100 scientists, stakeholders, engineers and entrepreneurs made NovCare a success. At all last conferences, there were 508 participants from 28 countries all over the world, 225 oral and 89 poster presentations and 42 keynote lectures were given and 51 companies showed their portfolio of expertise and newest development in the company exhibition or the field demonstration.

NovCare 2019 provided a rare opportunity and an outstanding platform for researchers and practitioners from all over the world to exchange their ideas and experiences on dealing with challenges of subsurface characterization and monitoring. This year, the conference explored topics on advances in groundwater-surface water interactions, monitoring in the critical zone, fractured rock environments and monitoring, requirements in ecohydrology, characterizing frozen and melting soils, using isotope tracers and emerging sensor technologies for subsurface characterization, synthesis of big data, and benchmarking models with real-world data. NovCare 2019 focus was on both the interdisciplinary approaches to monitoring multi-scale dynamic processes: Near real-time data for decision making and modeling and data fusion from satellites, drones, and terrestrial sensing.

127 scientists, consultants, and decision makers from 8 countries surely found invaluable information among the suite of 48 presentations and 17 posters and had an opportunity to make important connections during the conference social events. An outstanding group of 7 plenary speakers includes John Cherry from the University of Guelph, Rosemary Knight from Stanford University, Jay Famiglietti from the University of Saskatchewan, Bruno Basso from Michigan State University, Lee Slater from Rutgers University, Jessica Meyer from the University of Iowa, and Rick Devlin from the University of Kansas. Groundwater and its related issues such as mapping, contamination and depleation was the main topic in the keynote talks. The breathtaking talk of John Cherry examines the history of contaminant hydrogeology from its origins in the 1950’s to the present and highlightes the fact that new and unprecedented contamination issues such as PFAS, nanoparticles, pharmaceuticals, and more; even while ‘old’ contaminants such as nitrate expand relentlessly into groundwater. Rosemary Knight showed some impression studies to map groundwater systems with the airborne electromagnetic method. Jay Famiglietti reported that groundwater depletion in the world’s major aquifer systems poses a major threat to human and environmental security and there is a urgent need of countermeasures regarding sustainable management. Lee Slater showed newly developed testing techniques for large scale mapping of anoxic discharge zones, while Jessica Meyer introduced to her research combining information regarding identified contrasts of hydraulic conductivity using a direct hydraulic dataset and the position/thickness of best fitted the geologic framework. The Point Velocity Probes (PVPs) to quantify groundwater velocity in both directions was presented by Rick Devlin. The talk of Bruno Basso presents a novel approach to enhance sustainability of agricultural systems using an integrated approach based on big-data analytics through remote sensing and crop modeling.

It is already a tradition that companies and institutes present their expertise and novel equipment and techniques during the accompanying exhibition and field demonstrations at every NovCare conference. This time University of Waterloo Environmental Isotope Lab, Westbay Instruments, Waterloo Hydrogeologic,Geoprobe Systems, Vista Clara Inc., Solinst Canada Ltd., QED Environmental Systems, SkyTEM Canada Inc., TerraPlus Inc., G360 Institute for Groundwater Research and Cryosphere Research Lab participated at NovCare 2019.

The lively discussions during the formal sessions and the accompanying social events demonstrated the enthusiasm of the characterization, monitoring, and modeling communities for forums in which researchers and practitioners can come together. A seventh conference (NovCare 2021) has tentatively been scheduled for May 2021 in Europe.

Conference Organizers

University of Waterloo
Michigan State University
UFZ- Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
Kansas Geological Survey
University of Guelph G360 Group
Water institute at the University of Waterloo



Vista Clara
QED Environmental Systems, Inc.
Environmental Isotope Lab
Westbay Instruments
Waterloo Hydrogeologic

Contact us

NovCare 2019 European Coordinator
Uta Koedel (Sauer)
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Department Monitoring and Exploration Technologies

+49 341 235-1979
+49 341 235-1837

Past Conferences

NovCare 2009 (May 13-16, 2009 in Leipzig, Germany)

NovCare 2011 (May 9-11, 2011 in Cape Code, USA)

NovCare 2013 (May 13-16, 2013 in Leipzig, Germany)

NovCare 2015 (May 19-21, 2015 in Kansas, USA)

NovCare 2017 ( June 6-9, 2017 in Dresden, Germany)