Using groundwater to reduce poverty

New study to examine the potential of groundwater to expand irrigation and increase access to safe water in Tanzania

Groundwater flowing beneath the land surface of Tanzania has the potential to provide year-round sources of freshwater to irrigate crops when rains fail and to supply safe drinking water at low cost. There remain, however, key questions regarding the development of this vital resource including how much groundwater can be used sustainably, what groundwater development pathways will best reduce poverty, and how use of groundwater will affect other water sources such as rivers, wetlands and lakes.

To answer these questions, scientists at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), together with the Ministry of Water and an international team of experts are embarking on a new, 4-year study of groundwater in Tanzania. The team which is led by Dr. Japhet Kashaigili from the Faculty of Forestry at SUA and Professor Richard Taylor of University College London (UCL) in the UK, will focus their research in the Great Ruaha Sub-Catchment of the Rufijji Basin and the Makutapora Wellfield supplying Dodoma. Researchers at SUA will also work with experts from the International Water Management Institute, Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, UK and International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC) in The Netherlands.

A workshop to kick off this study was held on March 31st 2016 in Iringa and involve the Assistant Director of Water Resources, Regional Commissioner for Iringa, Water Officers of the Rufijji and WamiRuvu Basins together with a range of other key stakeholders including District Water and Irrigation Engineers and local NGOs.

This groundwater research in Tanzania is part of a multi-country study, Groundwater Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa (GroFutures), which involves comparative studies in Ethiopia, Niger and Nigeria, and is funded by the UK government under its UPGro (Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor) programme.

For more information, contact:

Professor Japhet Kashaigili (SUA):
Professor Richard Taylor (UCL):
GroFutures website:
UPGro website:

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