A Training Workshop on Groundwater Management within IWRM in River Basin Context was held from 21 to 25 November 2017 in Ségou, Mali. It was organised in collaboration with the Country Coordination of Natural Resources Users in the Niger Basin (CNU-Mali), Regional Coordination of Natural Resources Users in the Niger Basin (CRU-BN) and Africa Groundwater Network (AGW-Net). The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Moustapha DIENE Hydrogeologist at University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar (Senegal), AGW-Net Manager and Prof. Amadou Zanga Traoré, retired Professor in Hydrogeology, from ENI (School of Engineers in Bamako, Mali).
On 25th October, the prestigious keynote Ineson Lecture 2017 at the Geological Society in London was given by Dr Callist Tindimugaya, head of Water Resource Planning and Regulation in Uganda’s Ministry of Water & Environment, and one of four UPGro Ambassadors. In his speech he highlighted the importance understanding and managing groundwater well, not for its own sake but because it is a natural resource that underpins most, if not all, African societies and economies.
However, he expressed his frustration that the economic contribution of this resource has not yet been properly quantified so that its invisible contribution is made plain to all, from ordinary citizens to political leaders. Nevertheless, he was encouraged by the many initiatives across the continent to address the knowledge gaps and to improve the visibility and use of groundwater – in particular the importance of the UPGro programme and GRIPP. He concluded: “You cannot milk a cow, if you do not feed it”, likewise if the potential benefits of Africa’s aquifers are to be realised, then investment is needed in research, monitoring, regulation and – most of all – in education and training.
The day-long event was well attended and as well as a lively debate and a presentation by Guy Howard, DFID WASH policy team leader, there were numerous inputs from across UPGro, including: presentations by Prof. Richard Taylor about GroFutures and the Chronicles Consortium; from Brighid Ó Dochartaigh about the Africa Groundwater Altas; from Prof. Alan MacDonald about the Hidden Crisis project; and an array of posters from UPGro Catalyst and Consortia research, including a poster on the AMGRAF project by David Walker (Newcastle University) supported by UPGro and REACH, which had won the award for best Early Career Researcher poster at the recent 44th IAH Congress in Dubrovnik.
The day before the 2017 Ineson Lecture, a meeting was held in the Council Chamber of the Geological Society in London at which the project leaders, programme board members from NERC and DFID, and the Knowledge Broker team met with three of the UPGro Ambassadors: Dr Callist Tindimugaya, Ministry of Water & Environment, Uganda; Prof. Moustapha Diene, U. Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal; Prof. Muna Mirghani, Technische Universität Berlin.
Prof. Richard Carter made opening remarks on behalf of the Knowledge Broker team welcoming everyone to the event followed an icebreaker exercise so that everyone in the room got to know each other.
The aim of the workshop was to bring together representatives from the UPGro Consortia, the Knowledge Broker team, the Programme Executive Board (PEB), and the UPGro Ambassadors to reflect on the progress of the UPGro programme to date and to set the priorities for maximising the impact of the research over the next 2 years. It was the first opportunity for the Ambassadors to share their experiences of the challenges and opportunities facing groundwater resources across Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in relation to improving opportunities for the poor.
The three UPGro Ambassadors who were present gave a short overview of their backgrounds, their current role and their personal and professional interests in African groundwater research, development and management. They were all co-founders of the African Groundwater Network.
Prof. Dr Moustapha Diene
- Senior Assistant Professor
- Started in surface water
- Interested in capacity development and practical knowledge of groundwater (manager of AGW-Net)
- Groundwater is mysterious and difficult to illustrate
Prof. Dr Muna Mirghani
- Visiting Professor lecturing in IWRM and runs WaterTrac consultancy in Sudan
- Started in civil engineering
- Interested in groundwater within IWRM implementation and governance (including catchment frameworks and transboundary issues) and drought governance.
Dr Callist Tindimugaya
- Commissioner for Water Resources Planning & Regulation
- Has worked for the Government since 1990 on water and groundwater in particular.
- Interested in getting groundwater high on the agenda of political leaders and funders.
Each Ambassador presented an overview of what they see as the key issues facing the understanding, use and management of groundwater in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Using posters that had been created at a previous UPGro workshop (in Montpellier, Sept 2016), members from each of the five projects, plus Brighid from the Africa Groundwater Atlas, gave concise overviews of what each study is trying to achieve and summary of some of the early findings that are emerging.
After the presentations in the morning, the afternoon focused on discussions that pulled together the various strands of the conversation so far and some important questions to the Ambassadors on ways that the UPGro research can create more impact:
How do we move beyond conventional dissemination pathways and in what form do we deliver that information?
- Be ready to share now what is being done, not waiting until the end. Otherwise, there is a danger that stakeholders think you have an agenda. Use national fora like Joint Sector Reviews and sector working groups to get some feedback and build appetite for your research. Remember to use simple language but not to over-simplify your message.
- Politicians need to be approached indirectly. Decisions are made at a technical level. Build confidence in the results. Politicians learn through their assistants.
Other observations on research into action:
- An important role for the Knowledge Broker is to interpret results and make them as non-technical as possible, without misrepresenting the extent to which the results answer the questions that decision-makers may have;
- Corruption: can lead to evidence being completely ignored, and is difficult to deal with;
- Political leaders have to make socially acceptable trade-offs, and are aware that citizens en masse have power through votes and demonstrations;
- It is important to be neutral and not to frame evidence to push a specific gender;
- Where are the influencing opportunities on the horizon?
- Peer-to-peer learning between countries, River Basin Organisations, governments, donors can be an important uptake mechanism for new evidence;
- Good short, punchy stories are important because they can be used as anecdotes to explain why UPGro is a great programme. These stories should not be afraid to cut-across projects where there is a common topic, such as finance, gender, climate change or governance.
Sum-up by Richard Carter
1. Integration of social and physical sciences : each project is taking a slightly different approach;
2. Synthesising: We need to get the messages right; there are some assumption about groundwater responses to wider changes (population growth, climate change) that shouldn’t be taken for granted;
3. There are variety of non-specialist audiences and we need to cater for that, from school children to senior government advisors;
4. We need to elevate the conversation beyond groundwater to the wider issues around food security, environment, industrialisation and employment.
5. We should be more confident about the positioning of groundwater – most of the world’s fresh water is groundwater so our communication should be too shy about that.
From the left – Moustapha Diene; Brighid Ó Dochartaigh, Muna Mirghani, Callist Tindimugaya, Richard Taylor, Alan MacDonald, Rob Hope, Kirsty Upton, Mohammad Shamsudduha, Tom Doyle, Michelle Truman, Jan Willem Foppen. (Not in the picture: Richard Carter, Ken Wright, Ken de Souza, Sean Furey)
BRAVE was featured in a presentation by Dr Peter Cook at the Fifth Annual iLEAPS (Integrated Land Ecosystem-Atmosphere Processes Study Conference. iLEAPS is a global research project of Future Earth. This year’s theme, “Understanding the impact of land-atmosphere exchanges,” organised by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology of the National Environment Research Council.
Dr Cook presented recent findings of the BRAVE project on behalf of contributing scientists, Dr Emiliy Black and Professor Anne Verhoef. The Presentation, Modelling the changing water balance in West Africa, showcased research investigating future changes to extreme water balances. This has the potential to impact current and future management of water resources.
See Dr Cook’s presentation slides here.
Once again, UPGro has a strong presence at the annual congress of the International Association of Hydrogeologists, which this year is in Dubrovnik, Croatia. UPGro highlights this year include:
T2.2. THE ROLE OF GROUNDWATER IN REDUCING POVERTY
Conveners: Alan Macdonald (BGS/Hidden Crisis) and Viviana Re
With presentations by:
T2.2.1 Tim Foster: “A Multi-Decadal Financial Assessment of Groundwater Services For Low-Income Households in Rural Kenya” (Gro For Good)
T2.2.4 Fabio Fussi: “Characterization Of Shallow Aquifers In Guinea Bissau To Support The Promotion Of Manual Drilling At Country Level” (Remote Sensing For Manual Drilling Catalyst)
T2.2.5 David Walker: “Comparison Of Multiple Groundwater Recharge Assessment Methods For A Shallow Aquifer: Why Are The Results So Varied?” (AMGRAF Catalyst)
T2.2.6 Adrian Healy: “Exploiting Our Groundwater Resource: Choices And Challenges In Managing The Water Commons” (Upgro Spin-Off Project)
T2.2.9 Richard Taylor: “Large-Scale Modelling Of Groundwater Resources: Insight from The Comparison Of Models And In-Situ Observations In Sub-Saharan Africa” (GroFutures)
T2.2.11 Jade Ward: “Rapid Screening for Pathogens In Drinking Water: Preliminary Results From A National Scale Survey In Malawi” (Hidden Crisis)
T2.2.13 Alan Macdonald: “Hand Pump Functionality: Are The Rural Poor Getting A Raw Deal ?” (Hidden Crisis)
And in other sessions:
T2.3.3 Núria Ferrer: “How Do New Development Activities Affect Coastal Groundwater Systems In Africa? The Case Of Kwale, Kenya” (Gro for GooD)
T4.4.6 Richard Taylor: “Recent Changes in Terrestrial Water Storage In The Upper Nile Basin: An Evaluation Of Commonly Used Gridded Grace Products” (GroFutures)
T4.4.3 Albert Folch: “Combining Different Techniques To Monitor Seawater Intrusion Integrating Different Observation Scales” (Gro for GooD)
T2.6.1 Johanna Koehler: “A Cultural Theory of Groundwater Risks And Social Responses In Rural Kenya” (Gro for GooD)
T2.2.14 Jacob Katuva: “Groundwater and Poverty – Evidence From Kwale, Kenya” (Gro for GooD)
T2.2.15 David Walker: “Investigating the Resilience of Shallow Groundwater Resources in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Case Study from Ethiopia” (AMGRAF Catalyst)
T2.3.14 Moshood N. Tijani: “Hydrogeological and Hydraulic Characterization of Weathered Crystalline Basement Aquifers of Ibarapa Area, Southwestern Nigeria” (GroFutures)
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
By Sean Furey, Skat Foundation/RWSN/UPGro
Where does wealth come from? At its most basic, it is the difference between how much you invest in a product or service and how much you get from selling it. If the difference is positive you get wealth, if it is negative then you get trouble.
For a country like Zambia, the biggest source of wealth comes from underground: copper, oil and many other minerals and metals. Every aspect of our lives, from fertilisers, to homes, to solar panels depends on what can be dug from the ground. The scale on which mining and quarrying is done varies from a single person digging a hole, to the world’s largest machines demolishing mountains. Mining is also an economic activity that stretches from the very local to the most globalised trade.
In that context, groundwater can also be seen as a mineral resource on which the wealth of a country depends, so it was great that UPGro and RWSN were invited by the University of Zambia to run a special session on hydrogeology in Africa at the International Conference on Geology, Mining, Mineral and Groundwater Resources of the Sub-Saharan Africa, held in Livingstone, Zambia, in July.
The conference was opened by the President of Zambia, HE Edgar Lungu, who stressed the importance of groundwater and mineral resources to the economy, society and environment of Zambia and Africa more widely.
He was followed by a keynote speech by UPGro Ambassador, Dr Callist Tindimugaya of the Ministry of Water & Environment Uganda who gave the 400+ audience an overview of exciting groundwater initiatives happening across Africa, in particular highlighting UPGro, GRIPP, RWSN’s work on drilling professionalisation,the Africa Groundwater Network and the re-boot of the AMCOW Africa Groundwater Commission which took place the following week in Dar es Salaam.
One of the eye-opening facts that was presented by the government during the event that more than half of electricity generated in Zambia is used by the mining industry and most of that is used for de-watering mines – pumping water out of the ground and dumping it – contaminated – into rivers. Clearly a change in mindset is needed to see groundwater as a source of wealth to be used wisely for the benefit of all, not a problem that sends money pouring down the drain.
photos: Dr Callist Tindimugaya gives a keynote presentation on Groundwater Resources Management in Sub-Saharan Africa: Status, Challenges and Prospects.
UPGro-RWSN Special Session on Hydrogeology in Africa and Drilling Professionalisation
- Urban Groundwater Quality and Quantity in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Case for Lusaka, Zambia,
Dr Daniel CW Nkhuwa – UPGro Catalyst (Mapping Groundwater Town Groundwater Quality)
- Groundwater recharge from Angola to Namibia,
Dr Christoph Lohe
- Continuous monitoring of water quality using an in situ microbial fuel cell, Dr. Sharon Velasquez Orta – UPGro Catalyst (IN-GROUND)
- Water Harvesting from Roads in Ethiopia: Techniques and Approaches,
Dr Kifle Woldearegay – UPGro Catalyst (Roads for Water)
- Africa Groundwater Atlas, Making African groundwater information more visible and accessible,
Dr Kirsty Upton (UPGro Africa GW Atlas)
- Water quality prediction mapping with the Groundwater Assessment Platform (GAP),
Dr Joel Podgorski
- Contributions to the Characterisation of the Vadose Zone for Hydrogeological and Geotechnical Applications,
Dr Matthys Dippenaar
- Introduction and overview: Water Well Drilling Professionalism in Africa,
Dr Callist Tindimugaya
- Professional Water Well Drilling in Africa: Incentives and Support,
Sean Furey (Skat, RWSN, UPGro)
- Registration of groundwater consultants in Uganda: rationale and status,
Dr Callist Tindimugaya
- Presentation on Groundwater regulation development – the Zambian case,
Eng. Levy Museteka
- A Borehole is for Life?
- Groundwater drilling regulations: What will it take to implement them?
Dr Kawawa Banda
Dr Galine Yanon presented a paper at the 9th Internationale Conference on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation: communicating and collaborating for resilient solutions to climate change, at the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK April 21-22, 2017. The conference had more than 70 participants from 26 countries.
Dr Yanon presented the paper, Local governance of groundwater for Agriculture Livelihoods: Managing Climate change Impacts in West Africa. This paper explores how local capacity and user perceptions of vulnerability to water insecurity in the Sahel are shaped. Research findings are supporting the BRAVE project and its partner communities in future groundwater planning for agriculture and livelihood resilience to climate change impacts.
This conference was a real opportunity to share the BRAVE project approach, methodology, and particularly the work that has been done in project communities in Ghana and Burkina Faso. Research findings are from the scoping stage of the project. Data collection was done in collaboration with the NGOs Partners, CARE Internationale, Ghana, Tamale office, Christian Aid Sahel in Burkina Faso, and Reseau Marp in Burkina Faso. See Conference Presentation here.
Dr Yanon also recently participated at the International Scientific Conference on Climate Risk Management in Nairobi, April 5-9, 2017. The conference was organized by the Kenya Red Cross in collaboration with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), with participants from government, civil society, research academia, the private sector, and NGOs.
The message heard in this pre-scoping meeting was very clear: IPCC wants to move from a 1.0 to a 2.0 version, as this message is more relevant to, applicable to, and representative of people’s lives. This will require new voices and stakeholders to play a fundamental role in the AR6 cycle and beyond. The conclusion and recommendation of this meeting will be presented at the IPCC assessment meeting in Addis Ababa in May 2017.
Furthermore, the conference also allowed Dr Yanon to present the BRAVE project and its interdisciplinary approach as well as the Rainwatch Alliance.
The UPGro programme, supported by AfriWatSan & ESPRC, conducted a pan-African capacity-strengthening and knowledge co-production workshop at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania from the 10th to 12th of February, 2017.
40 participants from 12 countries in Africa took part and analysed multi-decadal, groundwater-level data (“chronicles”) from 9 countries including Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Sénégal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
re-posted from UPGro BRAVE
The Fifth International Conference on Climate Services (ICCS 5) is the premier global event for Climate Services Partnership in Africa. This year’s conference will take place in Cape Town, from February 28 until March 2, 2017, and focuses on capacity building and forging connections, with a particular focus on activities and persistent challenges in Africa.
Continue reading A BRAVE new approach to community climate resilience