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.


  • 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)

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