a BRAVE new world…now online

brave-agm

The UPGro Consortium project, BRAVE has launched a brand new website to show case the fantastic work that the team – led by Reading University, in the UK is doing. BRAVE, or to use its more descriptive-but-not-so-catchy name: “Building understanding of climate variability and environmental change into planning of groundwater supplies from low storage aquifers in Africa” is focusing research on aquifers in Ghana and Burkina Faso.

The big idea behind BRAVE is  that we can build better ways to model and communicate the complex environmental changes in the Sahel region of West Africa and use that to improve the long term planning of groundwater supplies and provide early warnings of groundwater shortages so that the most vulnerable families and communities are more resilient to drought.

The team held their 2017 Annual General Meeting between 24 – 26 January and you can find full details on the new website, so be BRAVE and dive in!

Presentations:

introducing-upgro-brave_2017-brave-agm

understanding-vulnerability_brave-wp1

understanding-policy-context-and-changing-socio-ecological-environment_brave-wp2

improved-understanding-of-groundwater_brave-wp3

improved-strategic-planning-and-adaptive-capacity_brave-wp4

african-groundwater_brave-2017-agm

GroFutures at the Association of Tanzanian Water Suppliers (ATAWAS)

participants_picture_awac_edited-768x482

reposted from: http://grofutures.org/article/grofutures-at-awac-2016-in-tanzania/

Professor Japhet Kashaigili presented recent research from the GroFutures Site Observatory in Tanzania (Makutapora) at the 4th Annual Conference (AWAC 2016) of the Association of Tanzanian Water Suppliers (ATAWAS) held on 8th and 9thNovember 2016 in Dodoma, Tanzania. Under the theme of “Knowledge, Capacity and Learning in the Water and Sanitation Sector,” the development of water supplies and sanitation as well as the current challenges faced by organisations across Tanzania were discussed by professionals working in water sector including policy makers and those involved water governance.

Professor Japhet Kashaigili, based at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), presented a paper entitled, Assessing the sustainability of groundwater-fed water supplies to intensive pumping and climate variability: evidence from detailed monitoring of the Makutapora Wellfield, drawing on collaborative research conducted by SUA, University College London, University of Sussex (UK), and the WamiRuvu Basin Water Board within the Ministry of Water and Irrigation. Key stakeholders including the Dodoma Regional Administrative Secretary and Technical Manager of the Dodoma Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (DUWASA) expressed great interest in the GroFutures Team’s evaluation of the sustainability of intensive groundwater abstraction from the Makutapora Wellfield, which is currently the sole perennial supply of freshwater to the rapidly growing capital city, Dodoma. Japhet’s presentation highlighted the bias in wellfield replenishment (recharge) to heavy rainfall and the observed dependence of recharge on the duration of ephemeral river discharge to the wellfield. He also reported on the establishment of telemetry-based, high-frequency (hourly) monitoring of groundwater levels in boreholes enabling the WamiRuvu Basin Water Board and GroFutures team to download real-time monitoring of groundwater levels for wellfield management and research.

presentation_guest_of_honour_awac_edited-768x477

Policy: Devolution & Water Services in Kenya

from Gro for GooD newsletter 2

Johanna Koehler, Gro for GooD researcher (University of Oxford) reports from Kenya’s Third Annual Devolution Conference, April 2016

Devolution is here to last! This message was delivered loud and clear at the Third Annual Devolution Conference in Kenya, organised by the Council of Governors. In three years this conference has become an important gathering of national and county government representatives, academia, private sector and civil society to discuss the benefits and challenges of devolution.

This year’s conference marked the end of the three-year transition period in March 2016, when all functions outlined in the 2010 Constitution became fully devolved. It is also a critical time politically as Kenya’s 2017 national and gubernatorial elections are approaching fast and competition over the Governors’ seats is rising.

The delegates passed 18 resolutions to reinforce devolution and hand over all devolved functions to county governments. Some of the contested functions were the water, health and irrigation sectors.

Water is one of the mandates divided between national and county governments; it remains a national resource, but water service delivery is now a county responsibility. As water crosses county boundaries, it is clear that national-level institutions are needed to navigate conflicts and regulate water service provision. However, counties are asking for more autonomy and there is a need to avoid duplication of efforts between the national and county institutions.

The research I shared at the conference shows that the water service mandate is interpreted differently by Kenya’s 47 counties. Counties do not equally acknowledge their responsibility for the human right to water, which entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water. This suggests a need for county water policies to be streamlined so that regional disparities don’t grow and transformative development is sustained.

These findings come from the unique opportunity I had to survey all 47 county water ministries in Kenya at a summit organised by the Water Services Trust Fund to develop a prototype County Water Bill. I found that while counties are making major investments in new infrastructure for water services (where the majority spend more than 75% of their water budgets), maintenance provision and institutional coordination are often neglected. This raises a concern about the sustainability of water services and could slow down progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal for water.

Overall, the conference provided an important platform for the key political actors to share progress made in Kenya’s devolution process, and also to flag new or existing challenges as county governments manifest their power. It is remarkable to see such a transformation in Kenya’s political system within the short timeframe of only three years. It seems the water sector will gain from these changes, but only the future will tell if these benefits are equitably shared.

Hidden Crisis team reveal themselves in Edinburgh

project-meeting
reposted from: https://upgro-hidden-crisis.org/2016/12/07/2nd-project-workshop-meeting-edinburgh-21-24-nov-2016/

Overview and aims of the workshop

Since our last project workshop, held in Addis Ababa Ethiopia in September 2015, the first main survey phase of the project (to survey the functionality and performance of a sub-sample of water points and committees) has been completed within each of the three countries, alongside a rapid political economy analysis studies for Ethiopia and Malawi (Uganda to happen within the next few months).

The aim of the workshop was to bring the project team together to foster our growing working relationships, and to:

1. Review Survey 1 – key challenges and successes – and to review the initial analysis of the data and plan for more detailed final analysis
2. Planning of Survey 2  – location and site selection criteria, the research approach and aims, methods and logistics
3. Planning of the Longitudinal studies in the 3 countries for both physical and social science surveys
4. Interdisciplinary research – to review and discuss our approaches to interdisciplinary science in the Hidden Crisis project and lessons learned from other UPGro Projects
5. Discuss ongoing stakeholder engagement and a Publication Strategy – for both the country research teams, and for the project as a whole.

joint-picture

Attendees and meeting programme

The workshop was held at the British Geological Survey (BGS) office in Edinburgh, UK, over four days – from 21st to 24th November 2016.  Representatives from all institutions and from each country involved in the research consortium attended the workshop – 23 people in total.

Day 1 was focused to reviewing the work of Survey 1 across the three countries and the initial data analysis; on Day 2 the key logistics and research aims of Survey 2 happening  in 2017 were discussed, as well as the political economy work completed so far; Day 3 explored interdisciplinary research in the project, and the key aims and logistics for the longitudinal studies; and, Day 4, was used to identify and review the key priorities and planning actions for the next few months across the project team for the next main research survey phases. Several short “Ted talks” were also given throughout the week.

Summary of discussions

Presentations were made by Dessie Nedaw (Ethiopia), Michael Owor (Uganda) and Evance Mwathunga (Malawi) of the successes and challenges in completing Survey 1 across the three countries.    The project database and QA process which has been developed to store all the data collected by the project (both physical science and social science) from Survey 1, and subsequent surveys.

classroom

A preliminary analysis of Survey 1 data from Ethiopia was presented by Dessie Nedaw and Seifu Kebebe.  The analysis used the project approach of examining the impact of using different definitions of water point functionality.  These include: working at the time of visit, having an acceptable yield, passing national inorganic chemistry standards, and whether they contained total thermal tolerant coliforms.

malawi

The initial results of the rapid political economy analysis (PEA) work from Malawi and Ethiopia were presented by Naomi Oates and Florence Pichon of ODI, respectively.

There were detailed discipline group discussions and wider project team discussions to identify the main methods, key criteria for site selection and the main challenges and logistics for planning Survey 2.  Discussion was given to logistical and ethical challenges of repair of water points visited, risk of damage of the water points, and management of community expectations and follow-up during the mobilisation phases.  Key timescales for planning were identified by the project team.

planning

A half day of the workshop was focused on a wider project team discussion of our approach to interdisciplinary science – and the key challenges and opportunities of doing this in the next phases of the project.  Kirsty Upton (of the UPGro programme co-ordination group) gave a presentation of an external MSc research paper, which has reviewed the different approaches to interdisciplinary science across the 5 UPGro consortium projects.  Lissie Liddle (PhD student Cambridge University) presented the systems dynamics analysis she will be conducting for the Hidden Crisis project, bringing together physical and social science data, as part of her PhD within a Bayesian network analysis; and, Richard Carter then led a facilitated project discussion on our different perceptions of physical and social science factors to HPB failure.

From Tyneside to Abidjan: UPGro @ 7th RWSN Forum

2016-12-02-10-57-03

Pictured: Prof. Richard Carter on the UPGro stand at the 7th RWSN Forum

I had the pleasure of recently attending the 7th RWSN Forum, held from 29th November to 2nd December 2016 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.  The conference is only every five years so I am fortunate that it fell during the third year of my PhD giving me not only the opportunity to attend, but also the chance to contribute some of my own research completed thus far.

The conference delegates came from a mixture of backgrounds, from both local and global scale NGOs to government ministries, and from financiers like the World Bank to pump manufacturers.  It was a great opportunity to share experiences and create connections with people outside of the world of academia and consultancies, which dominated many other conferences that I have attended.

The 7th RWSN Forum was a chance for water infrastructure installers and financiers to learn more about the water resources which they are hoping to exploit.  The conference also allowed water resource researchers to find out what kind of information NGOs and ministries require in order to plan and manage interventions.

There were a number of oral and poster presentations and company stands at the RWSN Forum expounding solutions to WASH shortfalls and food insecurity, such as manual drilling technologies, solar and foot powered pumps, and smart technology to transmit water point equipment performance.  While all of these technologies undeniably have much to offer, without a reliable and renewable water resource their usefulness dwindles.  Therefore, the relevance of the UPGro projects in emphasising sustainable management of groundwater is clear.

An UPGro catalyst grant initiated the AMGRAF (Adaptive management of shallow groundwater for small-scale irrigation and poverty alleviation in sub-Saharan Africa) project in 2013.  The catalyst grant funded hydrogeological investigations, the setting up of a community‑based hydrometeorological monitoring programme, and gender separated focus groups in Dangila woreda, northwest Ethiopia.  My own research has developed from the AMGRAF project and concerns the potential for shallow groundwater resources to be used for irrigation by poor rural communities, lessening the reliance on increasingly inconsistent rains.  Research principally focuses on two field sites; Dangila in Ethiopia and in Limpopo province in South Africa.  The resilience of the shallow groundwater resources to climate variability and increasing abstraction is being assessed through modelling.  To construct the models, it is vital to have data on aquifer parameters as well as time series of rainfall, river flow and groundwater levels for model calibration.  The presentation I gave at the forum concerned the computation of these aquifer parameters from pumping tests of hand dug wells and the collection of the aforementioned time series via the community‑based monitoring program.

I enjoyed the week I spent in Côte d’Ivoire, a country that I may never have had the chance to visit without the RWSN Forum.  I believe the connections made with groundwater specialists from around sub-Saharan Africa will greatly benefit my PhD in terms of testing the transferability of the research with data from their countries.  Leaving Abidjan, I had the same feeling as everyone else I spoke to at the conference: “Please RWSN, why does this only happen every five years!”

David Walker, PhD Candidate, Newcastle University, UK – read his RWSN Forum Paper: “Properties of shallow thin regolith aquifers in sub-Saharan Africa: a case study from northwest Ethiopia [061]

UPGro at the RWSN Forum

Groundwater is critical to rural water supply – for many uses and in many parts of the world, not just in Africa. Therefore understanding of aquifers and how to use them sustainably is essential to tackling rural poverty.

So that is why we will be at the 7th RWSN Forum next week in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, to present the work of UPGro and to network with delegates from all over Africa (and the world) on how interdisciplinary research in African groundwater can deliver tangible benefits.

Highlights to look out for:

We look forward to seeing you there!

Quelques astuces pour une exploitation des eaux souterraines réussie: séminaire sponsorisé au 7ème Forum du RWSN, Abidjan

Rural Water Supply Network

Vous exploitez des nappes phréatiques pour améliorer la desserte en eau des zones rurales? Venez participer à cette journée de séminaire et découvrir comment utiliser les eaux souterraines pour établir des systèmes salubres et durables d’approvisionnement en eau. Nous y aborderons nombre de sujets liés à l’exploitation des eaux souterraines, des informations et des données nous permettant de mieux comprendre ces ressources particulières aux technologies de construction des forages et des pompes solaires qui facilitent la mise en oeuvre d’un approvisionnement en eau efficace.

Quel intérêt ai-je à participer à ce séminaire?
Ce séminaire d’une journée – une approche intelligible de l’exploitation et de l’utilisation des eaux souterraines – dissipera certains des mystères qui entourent encore l’exploitation des eaux souterraines. Il vous fournira aussi des informations pratiques et utiles pour vous aider à mettre en place des systèmes d’approvisionnement en eaux souterraines efficaces.

Les eaux souterraines représentent 30% des réserves…

View original post 808 more words

Invitation to the The Walker Institute “Big Event”

We are delighted to invite you to The Walker Institutes ‘Big Event’ at the University of Reading on Wednesday 14 December 2016.

 An occasion not to be missed, the event will showcase creative and entertaining approaches to communicating about climate change challenges.  This is an opportunity to network with Walker Institute researchers and our partners to discover game-changing research projects that bridge the latest scientific work on climate and health, and translate it for delivery at the grassroots.

 We are providing a platform for discussion and debate and we value your expertise and opinion.

 Speakers include:

  • Dr Rosalind Cornforth (Director, the Walker Institute) – UPGro BRAVE project
  • Sir Nigel Crisp (co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health)
  • Fatima Denton (Coordinator for the African Climate Policy Centre and a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

 We do hope you can join us!

 When:       Wednesday 14 December, 3.30 p.m. to 7.00 p.m.

Where:     University of Reading, Whiteknights campus, Reading RG6 6UR

RSVP to:  events@walker.ac.uk 

Please reply by 5th December to be sure of your place at this event!

Join Future Climate for Africa at COP22

Join our sibling research programme, Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) at the COP22 conference in Morocco:

At this event, South SouthSouthNorth and our partners, the Met Office, bring together a diverse panel of experts to discuss how Africa can increase its climate resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extremes.

This event will look at how innovative science and services are helping people across a broad range of contexts deal with key challenges.

Speakers: 

Please feel free to forward this invitation on to any colleagues you think would be interested. We look forward to welcoming you.
If you are unable to attend in person, you can watch the live broadcast at 16:45 UTC.

Tips for Groundwater Success: A Sponsored Seminar at the 7th RWSN Forum, Abidjan

Are you involved in groundwater development for rural water services? Come along to this one day seminar to learn more about how to develop groundwater for safe and sustainable water supplies. We will be discussing many aspects of groundwater development, from data and information that can help us understand groundwater resources, to technologies in borehole construction and solar pumping for the delivery of effective water supplies.

Why should I come to this seminar?

This one day seminar – An Understandable Approach to the Development and Use of Groundwater – aims to take some of the mystery out of groundwater development and provide useful, practical information to help you develop effective groundwater supplies.

Groundwater makes up almost 30% of the world’s freshwater reserves, and more than 95% of the available, unfrozen fresh water. Given its broad geographical distribution, general good quality, and resilience to seasonal fluctuations (as compared to surface water), groundwater holds the promise to ensure many communities an affordable, safe and sustainable water supply.

Groundwater is sometimes referred to as a hidden asset – it occurs underground therefore can’t be easily seen or visualised, and is often difficult to understand due to the many varying factors influencing its behaviour, from geology, topography, and climate to land use, soil type and human activities.

What will I learn?

To develop groundwater in a safe and sustainable way we need to understand it. And to understand groundwater we need good data and information, which is often hard to find. The first half of the seminar will seek to answer the questions:

What data and information is needed to understand groundwater and develop it sustainably?

How can we effectively collect and store groundwater data to produce a high quality body of information that is accessible, convenient, affordable, manageable and useful for current and future groundwater development projects?

We will look at data at different scales – from international initiatives down to local, site-scale data – but will be focussing at the country-scale with an introduction to the Africa Groundwater Atlas and case studies of national groundwater data collection and storage from West Africa. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss some of the issues they have experienced with all aspects of groundwater data (collection, storage, management and use) and we will try to offer practical solutions for the future.

The second half of the seminar will focus on practical groundwater development, demonstrating how proper borehole construction, and solar pumping and distribution solutions can provide safe and accessible water that is cost-effective and sustainable for those most in need.

We will seek to show how borehole construction and maintenance can help protect groundwater sources, providing a drinking water supply that is free of e-coli and will last for generations. Participants will also receive tools and guidance for writing borehole specifications to help ensure that groundwater sources are safe and sustainable.

From borehole construction we will then move on to solar pumping and distribution technology, demonstrating that this is often a viable and smart option for potable water services in rural development, particularly where poor groundwater quality or high population density and growth limit the applicability of boreholes fitted with hand pumps. We will show several case studies, from single point supplies to full distribution networks, which highlight low failure rates and overall life-cycle costs, and discuss the key considerations for designing, constructing and implementing solar powered water supply systems.

Who should come to the seminar?

 The seminar is aimed at anyone with an interest in rural water services, and in particular groundwater resources and water supply. We hope to include a range of professionals from all types of organizations and at all levels – from government staff, NGOs, private sector practitioners and academia.

 Who is running the seminar?

The seminar is being sponsored by the UPGro research programme (Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor) and Water Mission and will be run by a range of groundwater experts from across Africa, Europe and the USA.

Fabio Fussi (University Milano Bicocca)
Richard Carter (Richard Carter & Associates Ltd.)
Moustapha Diene (Universite Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar & AGW-Net)
Callist Tindimugaya (Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda & AGW-Net)
Brighid O Dochartaigh & Kirsty Upton (British Geological Survey)
Steve Schneider (Schneider Water Services & NGWA)
Jeff Zapor & Doug Lawson (Water Mission)

Where and When?

Friday 2nd December, 7th RWSN Forum (Bamako Room), Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, https://rwsn7.net/

Please note the seminar will be run predominantly in English with simultaneous translation into French

, however there will be Francophone and Anglophone facilitators present throughout the day.