UPGro Catalyst Projects

An overview of the 15 UPGro Catalyst Projects
An overview of the 15 UPGro Catalyst Projects (click to enlarge)

The UPGro programme had two phases, the initial phase (2013-2015) comprised 15 ‘Catalyst’ projects that are investigating different aspects of how the use and understanding of groundwater in Africa interacts with with socio-economic conditions.

Le programme UPGro s’articule en deux phases, la première phase (2013-2015) comprend 15 projets «catalyseurs» qui étudient différents aspects de la façon dont l’utilisation et la compréhension des eaux souterraines en Afrique interagissent avec les conditions socio-économiques.”

Resource limitations to sustainability of groundwater well-points in basement complex regions of sub-Saharan Africa

The problem: Despite the many advantages of groundwater, including its resilience to climate variability and change, a recent analysis in Malawi has cast doubt on its universal sufficiency, in the Basement Complex regions of southern Africa, where the aquifer has limited storage and demand is high.

The approach: To test the analysis by comparing its implications for well-point failure against the Malawi water point database, and to develop a similar analysis for southern Zimbabwe.

Key findings: The hypothesis of resource limitation in Malawi was not supported by the test. In Zimbabwe abstractions may exceed availability in places, but the analysis depends on scarce transmissivity data. Groundwater level monitoring is in its infancy in both Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Where? Malawi, Zimbabwe

Consortium grant? No.

Principal Investigator: Dr Willy Burgess, (University College London UCL)

Research Team:

  • Richard Chandler, University College London
  • Nicholas Robins, British Geological Survey
  • Jeffrey Davies, British Geological Survey
  • Melinda Lewis, British Geological Survey
  • Geoffrey Chavula, University of Malawi
  • Daina Mdimbu, University of Zimbabwe

Research Organisations:

Find out more:

 

INGROUND: Evaluating an inexpensive biosensor to detect anthropogenic pollution in groundwater

The problem: The majority of the urban population in Africa uses on-site sanitation systems which pose a threat to groundwater quality and safety. The monitoring of water quality in such environments needs to be made easier and cheaper.

The approach: Design a prototype biosensor for testing and development in Tanzania.

Key findings: A biosensor has been designed and tested in the laboratory. Initial results are encouraging. The next step is to field-test the device.

Where? Tanzania

Consortium grant? No.

Principal Investigator: Dr Sharon Velasquez-Orta, Newcastle University

Research Team:

Research Organisations:

Find out more:

GroFutures: Groundwater Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa

The problem: Despite the importance of groundwater for growth and development, substantial uncertainty concerning the renewability, accessibility and management of groundwater resources remains.

The approach: Quantifying changes in groundwater demand and supply. Development of an interdisciplinary, pan-African consortium to prepare a consortium research proposal for more in-depth research. Identifying long-term groundwater data-sets.

Catalyst Phase Key findings: Multi-decadal groundwater level time series have been compiled. A strong collaborative network has been established to take the consortium research forward.

Where?
Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Africa-wide

Consortium grant? Yes – visit the GroFutures Consortium

Principal Investigator: Professor Richard Taylor, (University College London, UCL)

Research Team:

  • Dr Karen G. Villholth, IWMI
  • Dr Neno Kukurić, IGRAC
  • Dr Japhet J. Kashaigili, Sokoine University of Agriculture
  • Dr Emmanuel Obuobie, Ghana Water Research Institute
  • Dr Tenalem Ayenew, Addis Ababa University
  • Roger Calow, ODI
  • Josephine Tucker, ODI
  • Dr Martin Todd, University of Sussex

Research Organisations:

Find out more:

Use of remote sensing and terrain modelling to map manual drilling potential in Senegal and Guinea

The problem: Extending groundwater supply to more people is expensive using conventional technologies. Manual well drilling offers cost-saving opportunities, but the techniques involved can only be used in specific ground conditions.

The approach: Development of a systematic methodology for combining remotely sensed data with direct data from drilling records, to map the potential for manual drilling.

Key findings: Software has been developed to integrate drilling data and remotely-sensed data to map manual drilling potential in Senegal. Further validation of the approach is still needed.

Where? Guinea, Senegal

Consortium grant? No.

Principal Investigator: Robert Colombo, University of Milano Bicocca

Research Team:

  • Fabio Fussi, University of Milano Biococca
  • Francesco Fava, University of Milano Biococca
  • Letizia Fumagalli, University of Milano Biococca
  • Gayane Faye, University of Milano Biococca
  • Hamidou Barry, SNAPE
  • Souleye Wade, University Cheick Anta Diop
  • Cheik Hamidou Kane, University Cheick Anta Diop

Research Organisations:

  • University of Milano Biococca Grant NE/L002167/1
  • SNAPE, Guinea
  • University Cheick Anta Diop

Find out more:

Groundwater risks and institutional response in rural Africa

The problem: In locations with limited groundwater resources, but where large-scale demands are increasing, the question arises as to how groundwater can be sustainably managed to the benefit of both the wider economy and the rural poor. Can water risks be managed for both growth and development?

The approach: A case study in Kenya, involving hydrogeological assessments, handpump monitoring, a household survey to inform understanding of water poverty, and key informant interviews and focus group discussions to understand groundwater governance.

Key findings: A great deal of data regarding ground-water level and quality, water use, health and indicators of welfare has been generated. An inter-disciplinary Groundwater Risk Management Tool has been proposed for development in the consortium phase.

Where? Kenya

Consortium grant? Yes – visit the Gro for GooD Consortium page.

Principal Investigator: Dr Rob Hope, University of Oxford

Research Team:

Research Organisations:

 

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Improving access to safe drinking water prospection for low-fluoride sources of groundwater

Groundwater fluoride mitigation in the Ethiopian Rift Valley.

The problem: High levels of fluoride in groundwater cause dental and skeletal fluorosis in those who consume it. It is necessary to find ways to mitigate this problem for the estimated 8m people who are exposed to it in Ethiopia alone.

The approach: Hydrogeological studies of fluoride occurrence. User surveys and financial analyses of alternative mitigation strategies.

Key findings: Fluoride in groundwater is influenced by surface water/groundwater interactions, geothermal inputs and aquifer geology. Mitigation options include safe sourcing (locating primary low-fluoride sources); alternatives are defluoridation and multi-village piped water schemes – the former dependent on NGO capacity and subsidy and community involvement, the latter on investment, infrastructure and professional management. Of the options, defluoridation is the least sustainable.

Where? Ethiopia

Consortium grant? No.

Principal Investigator: Dr Pauline Smedley, (British Geological Survey, BGS)

Research Team:

  • Jennifer Bearcock, British Geological Survey
  • Lorraine Field, British Geological Survey
  • Seifu Kebede, Addis Ababa University
  • Frank van Steenbergen, MetaMeta Research
  • Asefa Kumssa Afeta, MetaMeta Research

Research Organisations:

Find out more:

Towards groundwater security in Coastal East Africa

The problem: Groundwater resources in coastal East Africa are at risk from growing populations and from climate change. Groundwater resources need to be understood and monitored, and sustainable management approaches designed.

The approach: Hydrogeological desk studies and field studies at three case study locations. Monitoring of groundwater level and quality, and rainfall. Assessments of demand for and use of groundwater.

Key findings: Limited renewable fresh groundwater resources are under pressure from growing demands and from degradation as a result of human activity. Communities, and women especially, are willing to engage in better water management, if given the information and tools to do so.

Where? Kenya, Tanzania, Comoros

Consortium grant? No.

Principal Investigator: Professor Joy Obando, Kenyatta University

Research Team:

  • Mary Makokha, Kenyatta University
  • Jean-Christophe Comte, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Rachel Cassidy, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Nicholas Robins, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Isaac Marobhe, University of Dar es Salaam
  • Simon Melchioly, University of Dar es Salaam
  • Halimu Shauri, Pwani University
  • Ibrahimu Mjemah, Sokoine University of Agriculture
  • Kassim Ibrahim, Université des Comores
  • Ibrahim Mohamed, Université des Comores
  • Hamidou Soule, Université des Comores
  • Olivier Banton, University of Reunion Island/University of Avignon
  • Jean-Lambert Join, University of Reunion Island/University of Avignon

Research Organisations:

  • Kenyatta University (KU) – Grant NE/L001829/1
  • Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) – Grant NE/L001888/1
  • Pwani University (PU),
  • Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA),
  • University of Dar es Salaam (UDS),
  • Université des Comores (UC),
  • University of Reunion Island (URI)
  • University of Avignon (UA)

Find out more:

AMGRAF: Adaptive management of groundwater in Africa

AMGRAF

The problem: Productive use of groundwater in Africa offers many opportunities. Much information on groundwater exists in the form of global remote sensing products, while local indigenous knowledge also has much to offer. These two information sources need to be combined with hydrological modelling and appropriate social and governance systems to achieve sustainable development and to assure equitable access to the resource by the poor.

The approach: A multi-scale, multi-disciplinary approach was taken, including water resource monitoring by community members, modelling and social science studies.

Key findings: Potential exists for shallow groundwater irrigation. Simple water balance models and community monitoring can be used with appropriate governance systems for local adaptive resource management.

Where?

  • Ethiopia

Principal Investigator:

John Gowing, Newcastle University

Mr Demis Alamirew Ayenew, Geological Survey of Ethiopia (Co-I)

Dr Simon Langan, International Water Management Institute (Co-I)

Research Organisations:

Research Team:

  • Dr Geoff Parkin, Newcastle University
  • Dr Liz Oughton, Newcastle University
  • Dr Jaime Amezaga, Newcastle University
  • Dr Emmanuel Obuobie, Water Research Institute (CSIR)
  • Dr Nebo Jovanovic, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa
  • Dr Karen Villholth, IWMI

Find out more:

Journal Papers

Sustaining groundwater safety in peri-urban areas

Domestic groundwater safety in Kisumu, Kenya

The problem: As urban populations outgrow the ability of utilities to supply piped water, the growing dependence on privately developed urban groundwater raises questions of water safety for consumers.

The approach: Examination of past records of groundwater quality, field studies of present water quality, and projections and expert modelling of possible futures.

Key findings: Urban groundwater use has remained high over the study period (1999-2014). Risks to water safety have increased, according to sanitary surveys. Groundwater quality data tells a less clear story. Future (to 2030) risks may be highest in small towns and peri-urban settlements.

Where? Kenya

Consortium grant? No.

Principal Investigator: Dr James Wright (University of Southampton)

Research Team:

  • Steve Pedley, University of Surrey
  • Lorna G. Okotto, JOOUST
  • Joseph Okotto-Okotto, VIRED

Research Organisations:

  • University of Southampton Grant NE/L001853/1
  • University of Surrey
  • Jaramogi Oginga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST)
  • Victoria Institute for Research on Environment and Development International (VIRED)

Find out more:

Data:

ARIGA: Assessing Risk of Investment in Groundwater Resources

The problem: Groundwater investments are often pursued without adequately considering the associated risks. These investments then frequently fail to meet their development objectives. A broader, inclusive socio-hydrological approach is needed.

The approach: The case study involved a proposed 110km pipeline from boreholes at Habaswein to the town of Wazir. The hydrological, social and financial risks were examined through stakeholder engagement, modelling and social surveys.

Key findings: Investment risks were judged to be high as a result of risks of salinisation, socio-political risks and lack of knowledge. Stakeholders with opposing opinions appreciated the risk perspective offered and the opportunity for dialogue. They indicated that better information might assist them to reconsider their opinions.

Where? Kenya

Consortium grant? No.

Principal Investigator: Jan der Leeuw, (World Agroforestry Centre, ICRAF)

Research Team:

  • Eike Luedeling, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
  • Maimbo Malesu, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
  • Alex Oduor, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
  • Dr Katherine Homewood, University College London
  • Boniface Kiteme, Training and Research Support Centre
  • Lieselotte Tolk, Acacia Water
  • Arjen Oord, Acacia Water
  • Sarah Ogalleh, Centre for Training and Integrated Research in Arid & Semi-Arid Lands Development

Research Organisations:

  • World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) – Grant NE/L00206X/1
  • University College London (UCL)
  • Training and Research Support Centre (TRSC)
  • Acacia Water (AW)
  • Centre for Training and Integrated Research in Arid & Semi-Arid Lands Development (CETRAD)

Find out more:

 

Optimising Road Development for Groundwater Recharge and Retention

Roads for recharge

The problem: Road construction interferes with local runoff and recharge, to the detriment of farming and livelihoods. At the same time roads suffer serious water-related damage. The project has attempted to address both issues.

The approach: Social science research to “put a human face” to the problems communities face when roads are constructed. Engineering designs to minimise these problems and optimise use and infiltration of runoff.

Key findings: Low-cost solutions have been proven, and their rapid uptake by Regional and local Government and communities holds much promise for scale-up elsewhere.

Where?

  • Ethiopia

Principal Investigator:

Frank van Steenbergen, MetaMeta Research

Research Team:

  • Kifle Woldearegay Woldemariam, Mekelle University
  • Lyla Mehta, Institute of Development Studies
  • Jeremy Marc Allouche, Institute of Development Studies

Research Organisations:

  • MetaMeta Research (MMR) Grant NE/L001934/1
  • Mekelle University (MU)
  • Institute of Development Studies (IDS)

Find out more:

BRAVE: Building understanding of climate variability into the planning of groundwater supplies from low storage aquifers in Africa

BRAVE

The problem Increasing water demands set in a context of variable climate and changing land use, together with dependence on low-storage, low-yield aquifers.

The approach Application of linked land surface and groundwater models to assess impact on groundwater supplies of periods of reduced recharge; investigation of sensitivity of groundwater recharge to key climate and land use controls; development of stakeholder networks to examine planning needs and support decisions on groundwater development.

Key findings from Catalyst Phase

Although the study shows that the land surface model used needs development to incorporate all the key processes, initial findings confirm that annual groundwater recharge can be highly variable. The impact of this variability on the continuity of supply during drought depends on how non-pumped water discharges from these low storage aquifers.

Where?
Burkina Faso, Ghana

Consortium grant? Yes – visit BRAVE Consortium page

Principal Investigator: David MacDonald (British Geological Survey, BGS)

Research Team:

  • Christopher Jackson, British Geological Survey
  • Jean Pierre Sandwidi, University of Ouagadougou
  • Dr William Agyekum, Ghana Water Research Institute
  • Dr Emily Black, University of Reading
  • Prof. Anne Verhoef, University of Reading
  • Dr Rosalind Cornforth, University of Reading

Research Organisation:

Find out more:

Related outputs:

Mapping groundwater quality degradation beneath growing rural towns in Sub-Saharan Africa

Novel methods for understanding contamination and risk factors in shallow urban groundwaters

The problem: Shallow hand dug wells and boreholes in urban areas are potentially at high risk of contamination. Mapping of groundwater contamination and understanding the key risk factors remains a priority.

The approach: In-situ optical fluorescence for tryptophan (a protein waste water marker) and molecular pathogen screening (qPCR), alongside conventional measurements and assessments for groundwater quality surveys during the wet and dry seasons at 50 sites.

Key findings: High groundwater vulnerability in shallow wells irrespective of land use; overall degradation of water quality during the wet season; nitrate contamination in some deeper sites; pumping induced connectivity between shallow and deep GW based on age tracers and organic contaminants; impact of mine waste in some shallow wells in close proximity to waste.

Where? Zambia

Consortium grant? No.

Principal Investigator: Dan Lapworth (British Geological Survey, BGS)

Research Team:

  • Marianne Stuart, British Geological Survey
  • James Sorensen, British Geological Survey
  • Daniel Nkhuwa, University of Zambia
  • Moshood Tijani, University of Ibadan
  • Daniel Read, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
  • Stephen Pedley, University of Surrey

Research Organisations:

  • British Geological Survey (BGS) – Grant NE/L002078/1
  • University of Zambia (UZ)
  • University of Ibadan (UI)
  • Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH)
  • University of Surrey (US)

Find out more:

Groundwater recharge in Africa: identifying critical thresholds

Groundwater recharge: will the pumps run dry?

The problem Groundwater recharge is one of the most difficult parameters to measure in the assessment of water resources yet is critical for reliable projections of sustainable resource development.

The approach A continent-wide review of more than 200 recharge studies. Where possible the data were extracted to identify relationships between rainfall and recharge, and in particular examine evidence for thresholds controlling recharge.

Key findings The importance of multiple methods; reporting recharge as decadal, rather than annual averages; that while broad relationships exist between average rainfall and recharge, such relationships becomes non-linear when long-term average annual rainfall is less than 1000 mm.  Here rainfall intensity becomes particularly important.  As future rainfall is expected to intensify with climate change, deeper understanding of the role of episodic high intensity rainfall events in governing recharge will become increasingly important.

Where? Africa-wide

Consortium grant? No.

Principal Investigator: Professor Alan MacDonald (British Geological Survey, BGS)

Research Team:

  • Prof. Alan MacDonald, British Geological Survey
  • Helen Bonsor, British Geological Survey
  • Richard Taylor, University College London
  • Mike Edmunds, University of Oxford
  • Tamiru Abiye, University of Witwatersrand
  • Ibrahim Goni, University of Maiduguri
  • Seifu Kebede, Addis Ababa University
  • Moshood Tijani, University of Ibadan

Research Organisations:

  • British Geological Survey (BGS) – Grant: NE/L002035/1
  • University College London (UCL)
  • University of Oxford (UO)
  • Addis Ababa University (AAU)
  • University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID)
  • University of Ibadan (UI)
  • University of Witwatersrand (UW)

For more information:

Hidden crisis: Strengthening the evidence base on the sustainability of rural groundwater services

The problem: Rural water boreholes with handpumps suffer high failure rates. Understanding the causes of these failures is necessary to carry out more effective service provision

The approach: A conceptual framework involving symptoms, causal factors and underlying conditions. Field studies including community meetings and detailed borehole / handpump inspections.

Key findings: Low yield and poor water quality are symptomatic of poor siting, construction and materials selection. Underlying causes lie in poor practices of implementing agencies, and especially the lack of competent construction supervision.

Where? Uganda

Consortium grant? Yes – visit the Hidden Crisis Consortium page

Principal Investigator: John Chilton, International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH)

Research Team:

  • Prof. Alan MacDonald, British Geological Survey
  • Helen Bonsor, British Geological Survey
  • Paul Wilson. British Geological Survey
  • Prof. Frances Cleaver, Sheffield University
  • Vincent Casey, WaterAid
  • Rebecca Alowo, WaterAid
  • Geoffrey Kidega Willy, WaterAid
  • Naomi Oates, ODI
  • Roger Calow, ODI
  • Bennie Mangeni, Makerere University
  • Martin Tumutungire, Makerere University
  • Dr Callist Tindimugaya, Ministry of Water and Environment Uganda
  • Eng Aaron Kabirizi, Ministry of Water and Environment Uganda
  • Francis Ediau, TEDDO
  • Andrew Alemu, TEDDO
  • Daniel Emadu, TEDDO
  • David Etama, TEDDO
  • Moses Opua, WEDA
  • Prof. Richard Carter, Richard Carter and Associates
  • Sophie McPhillips, Richard Carter and Associates

Research Organisations:

  • British Geological Survey (BGS) – Grant NE/L001969/1
  • WaterAid (WA)
  • Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Grant NE/L001799/1
  • Makerere University (MU)
  • Ministry of Water and Environment Uganda (MWE)
  • TEDDO
  • WEDA
  • Richard Carter and Associates Ltd (RCA)

Find out more:

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