Over the last year, the UPGro Knowledge Broker and RWSN team has been on tour promoting the potential of Africa’s groundwater as a catalyst for tackling poverty and the practical challenges of improving scientific understand and professionalism of implementation. These “Africa Rocks!” sessions in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire), Livingstone (Zambia) have showcased the Africa Groundwater Atlas, major findings from UPGro research, the new UNICEF Guidance on Drilling Professionalisation and brought in a variety of guest presentations from friends and colleagues working in related fields – whether it is drillers from Zambia, government regulators from Uganda, or international partners like BGR who are doing similar research. It has also become an opportunity to build momentum, not just for UPGro but for initiatives like GRIPP, the Africa Groundwater Network and the Africa Groundwater Commission.
It’s a lot to fit in, but the Africa Rocks! Session at this years’ WEDC Conference in Loughborough, was a great opportunity to share and pick up new ideas from WASH practitioners and researchers from all over Africa, and the world. Professor Richard Carter chaired the session and made opening remarks followed by a mix of presentations (see below) from UPGro and RWSN.
Time ran out for a full discussion, however, in the corridors and coffee areas afterwards it was apparent that one of the big issues that needs to be addressed is the growing uptake – and impact – of solar pumping. Is it the future for rural water supply, replacing the humble handpump? If so how will such systems be maintained and paid for, and what is there to stop unregulated solar-powered groundwater pumping leading to the kind of groundwater depletion that is wreaking havoc across the Indian sub-continent?
These kind of discussions are really helpful as we plan the next three years for the network and the research programme. If you have ideas or suggestions, then get in touch, either by email, by leaving a comment on this post, or come and find us at SIWI World Water Week in Stockholm, the IAH Congress in Dubrovnik, or the Ineson lecture in London.
Chair: Prof Richard C Carter
Presentations (files will be added)
- The Africa Groundwater Atlas and Literature Archive
An overview of an extensive, unique and valuable database of groundwater information for the entire continent
Brighid Ó’Dochartaigh, British Geological Survey
Recent work with UNICEF to raise the standards of drilling and borehole construction
Sean Furey, Skat Foundation
- How one of the UPGro research projects is leading to real changes in the lives of poor households and communities in Kenya
Jacob Katuva, Oxford University, UPGro Gro for Good
- Groundwater and Poverty – an UPGro Scoping Study: An overview of a recent review of the links between groundwater and poverty
Richard Carter, Consultant
Geraint Burrows, Groundwater Relief
Sean Furey, Skat Foundation
Other presentations at the conference by UPGro and related partners included:
- “Promotion of manual drilling in Guinea Bissau: mapping suitable zones and estimating the potential” Dr Fabio Fussi
- “Individual water sourcing: understanding risks and resilience to groundwater resource abstraction in Nigeria” Adrian Healy – RIGSS project, which is partially a spin-off of UPGro and RWSN work
- Jacob Katuva presenting UPGro/REACH poster on Fundifix in Kenya