New UPGro paper: Better map-making for manual drilling in West Africa

In a new open paper in the Hydrogeological Journal, Dr Fabio Fussi and his UPGro Catalyst team present work done in Senegal that looks at how improving hydrogeological data, maps and understanding can improve the success of manually drilled boreholes.

In a region where access to safe, affordable water is limited, manual drilling provides a cost-effective way of tapping groundwater resources. However, aquifers are complex and striking fresh water is not guaranteed.

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Manual drilling in Lagos, Nigeria (photo: Dotun Adekile, 2014)

Fussi and his team propose a model that uses analysis of borehole logs for the to characterise shallow aquifers  so that areas suitable for manual drilling can be found. The model is based on available borehole-log parameters: depth to hard rock, depth to water, thickness of laterite (a iron-rich rock type common in the tropics) and hydraulic properties of the shallow aquifer. The model was applied to a study area in northwestern Senegal.

The hydraulic conductivity values – how easily water flows through rock –  were estimated from geological data and  partially validated by comparing them with measured values from a series of pumping tests carried out in large-diameter wells.

The results show that this method is able to produce a reliable interpretation of the shallow hydrogeological context using information generally available in the region.

The research contributes to improving the identification of areas where conditions are suitable for manual drilling, and has the potential to be used throughout Africa, and beyond, using data available in most African countries.

Ultimately, this work will support proposed international programs aimed at promoting low-cost water supply in Africa and enhancing access to safe drinking water for the population.

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!

The magic and mystery of groundwater data

To be effective, drinking water programmes relying on groundwater need good quality and well managed groundwater data. Unfortunately this is an overlooked, “techy domain”. The presentations and discussants on this webinar explain the typical problems of groundwater data collection, management and use. They draw on first hand examples of: groundwater data use in Uganda and the United Kingdom; groundwater databases in 15 African countries (Benin, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Zambia) and work on transboundary aquifers in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana) followed by of the current realities in Mozambique. There is need for training, quality assurance of data, and for groundwater data collection to become part of drilling contract management.
Presentations and reflections from Lawrence Brown from Hafren Water (UK), Helen Bonsor of the British Geological Survey – BGS (UK), Fabio Fussi of the University of Milano Bicocca, Italy and Andreas Antoniou of the International Groundwater Centre – IGRAC (the Netherlands). Reflections from Brighid O Dochartaigh, British Geological Survey – BGS (UK) and Samo Chirindja Farisse – Eduardo Mondlane University (Mozambique).

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Pour être efficients, les programmes d’approvisionnement en eau potable ayant recours aux eaux souterraines ont besoin de données sur les eaux souterraines de bonne qualité et bien gérées. Malheureusement il s’agit d’un domaine jugé trop technique et souvent négligé. Lors de ce webinar les présentateurs et commentateurs mettent en exergue les problèmes typiques concernant la collecte, la gestion et l’utilisation des données sur les eaux souterraines. Ils se basent sur des exemples personnels : utilisation des données des eaux souterraines en Ouganda et au Royaume Uni ; bases de données sur l’eau souterraine dans 15 pays africains (Bénin, Burundi, République Centrafricaine, Tchad, Guinée, Côte d’Ivoire, Libéria, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritanie, Niger, Sénégal, Sierra Leone, Togo et Zambie). Il y a des besoins en formation, en assurance qualité des données et en ce qui concerne la collecte des données sur les eaux souterraines la nécessité de devenir partie du contrat de forage.
Présentations et réflexions de Lawrence Brown de “Hafren Water” (UK), Helen Bonsor du “British Geological Survey” – BGS (UK), Fabio Fussi de l’Université de Milano Bicocca, Italie et Andreas Antoniou du Centre International sur les Eaux Souterraines – IGRAC (Pays-Bas). Commentaires de Brighid O Dochartaigh, “British Geological Survey” – BGS (UK).

UPGro invited by UNICEF to present at the UN Zaragoza Conference

(with thanks to John Chilton, Sharon Velasquez-Orta and Jose Gesti-Canuto)

The UN-Water Annual Zaragoza Conferences serve UN-Water to prepare for World Water Day, which in 2015 will focus on “water and sustainable development” and celebrated the end of the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Life’, so it was especially important for taking stock of and learning from achievements as well as planning the next steps.

The meeting brought together the UN agencies working in water and invited stakeholders from governments, business, civil society, academia and the media to talk about water scarcity and water quality, risk and risk management and WASH in terms of lessons learnt from the Waterforlife Decade and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to take them forward to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In the theme “Academia contribution to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals related to water” on the 16th January, the was a session titled “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): Tools for WASH implementation from an equity lens”, led by Jose Gesti-Canuto, with short presentations by three UPGro collaborators:

Continue reading UPGro invited by UNICEF to present at the UN Zaragoza Conference

High-Tech meets Low-Tech: Using remote sensing to help manual drilling

Drilling for water can be expensive: it can cost up to £10,000 to drill a borehole that will have a £500 handpump installed on it.  However, there are alternatives – manual drilling methods are often most effective and just as good quality, but the challenge for the drillers is knowing where they can find good quality water.

Continue reading High-Tech meets Low-Tech: Using remote sensing to help manual drilling