Africa Rocks! @WEDC 40

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

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:

 

Monitoring people’s welfare: where are the poor?

Gro for GooD collected data from over 3,000 households each year in 2014, 2015 and 2016 with the support of over 20 local staff trained by Oxford University. These data provide insights into who is poor, where people suffering poverty live and what is changing people’s welfare over time. The sampling strategy spans across Matuga, Msambweni and Lunga Lunga constituencies.

The latest round of the household survey took place in September to November 2016. The survey captures information on demographic and socio-economic, health, water sources, waterpoint management, water payments, water resources management as well as governance issues. In addition to the face-to-face interviews Gro-for-GooD has successfully piloted a mobile-based socio-economic survey instrument that can be used for rapid updating of the social component of the Groundwater Risk Management Tool.

Where are the poor? Welfare change 2014-2015

Kwale County Government is responding to the need to improve the lives of 7 out of 10 Kwale County residents who live below the poverty line of USD1.25 a day. To achieve this, the County needs to know who the poor are, where they are and the likely impacts of different poverty interventions. In an effort to answer some of these questions, data from the three household surveys were used to evaluate and map welfare between 2014 and 2015.

Households experiencing declining welfare in this period were observed to be in regions largely influenced by the tourism (Ukunda/Diani) and fishing (coastal strip) industries. However, some pockets within the coastal strip (Kinondo and Vingujini) were observed to have a positive change in welfare. Households that experienced a large positive change in welfare were observed to be around Lukore, Shimba hills, Mivumoni, Mbegani, Majimboni, Mangawani, Mzizima, Kinondo and Mwaluvanga, among others. The majority of households in Lunga Lunga experienced a decline in welfare.

A message from WRMA: our support for the Gro for GooD project

The Water Resource Management Authority (WRMA) is a State Corporation under the Ministry of Water and Irrigation. WRMA was established in the year 2003 pursuant to the enactment of Water Act number eight of 2002. WRMA is the lead agency in the regulation and management of water resources nationally.

One of WRMA’s core functions is to ensure that there is fair, transparent and participatory allocation and apportionment of water resources to all users, so that everyone who needs water can access it now and for generations to come. Communities are directly affected by the state of water resources. Livelihoods depend not only on water availability but also on the quality of available water, which may be affected by organic pollution from sewage, animal and human waste as well as inorganic pollution from transport, agriculture or industry. The quality of groundwater resources may also be affected by seawater intrusion.

Kwale’s groundwater resources have attracted several major abstractors in recent years. Recognising the importance of balancing competing demands for domestic, agricultural and industrial uses of groundwater, the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) has been collaborating closely with the Gro for GooD project since its inception. We have been involved directly in a number of activities, including provision of the ABEM SAS1000 Terrameter and participation in the geophysical survey and installation of water level recorders and other monitoring equipment. Data generated from these activities will provide critical inputs to the hydrogeological flow model for Kwale County that is under development by the project and will form the basis of the Groundwater Risk Management Tool. The tool, once developed, will prove most useful in decision-making by WRMA as we allocate the groundwater resources in Kwale County. WRMA is ISO 9001: 2008 Certified.

blog5

WRMA staff Susan Mwangi and David Shokut undertake borehole monitoring at Tiwi BH 6

 

Improved data for better decisions to benefit all

Gro for GooD project has designed and installed an environmental monitoring network to complement existing data gathering by Base Titanium, KMD, WRMA and KISCOL. The environmental monitoring network collects data on the surface and groundwater quantity and quality, handpump abstraction and climate monitoring. There are 21 manual rain gauges, 4 Automatic Weather Stations, 3 automatic in-stream water level monitors (data loggers) and 5 groundwater level loggers. This network builds on the existing network of over 70 monitoring sites operated by Base Titanium Ltd., over 30 monitoring sites operated by KISCOL, and over 10 sites operated by KMD. Additional flow measurements using Current-Velocity Meter has also been undertaken by the project. The WRMA has been responsible for installation and operation of all the main river gauging stations on Ramisi and Mukurumudzi rivers and has been actively collecting data generated by different stakeholders. A message from the WRMA can be found on the facing page.

blog3

Flow Measurement on Ramisi River at Eshu Bridge during short rains in November 2016 using Current Velocity Meter

blog4

Gilbert of TAHMO undertaking regular maintenance of the AWS at Kidongo Gate in Shimba Hills

 

 

Rain – Kwale’s key resource

Everyone knows rainfall varies from season to season and year to year. Improved understanding of changes in rainfall patterns will help us evaluate the availability of water in rivers and dams, and calculate the amount of water entering into groundwater reserves (aquifers). The project has been working with local partners to combine multiple sources of historical and existing data records to give us more confidence in our understanding of rainfall patterns and variation in Kwale County. We are grateful for the generous support of the Kwale Agricultural Station and the Kenya Meteorological Department for sharing daily rainfall data from recent decades. Preliminary analysis of this data suggests that:

  • Annual rainfall has varied between 500 and 1700 mm with a mean annual average of 977 mm
  • On average there are 60 days of rain per year – though there have been years with few as 35 days of rain and as many as 100 days
  • From 1970 to now, we see no pattern of increase or decrease in annual rainfall or number of rainy days per year

Further analysis is being conducted on other stations.

blog1

Drought data: Actual and average monthly rainfall at Shimba Hills (1-Jan-16 to 31-Jan-17)

 blog2Long term rainfall data from the KMD rain gauge at Kwale Agricultural Station

Base Titanium’s environmental network records show that rainfall at Shimba Hills Centre was significantly below average in 2016. The long term mean annual rainfall at this site is 1,380mm; 2016 rainfall at this gauge was 739mm, which is 54% of the mean. 2016 was the second driest calendar year on record, the driest year being 1974 (with 693mm, 50% of the long term mean).

A message from Lead Investigator: Professor John Gathenya, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology

Droughts often lead to enormous pressure on the finite groundwater resources, both from domestic and commercial users. As we all know, Kenya is currently experiencing a major drought which has put millions of people and livestock at risk, with 1.3 million people in need of food aid in northern coastal regions. The impacts of the drought have also been felt here in Kwale, where water sources have dried up in Lungalunga and Kinango causing 200,000 people to suffer famine. The large economic investments like mining and agriculture have felt the impact through the diminishing surface water resource and groundwater table. The most vulnerable include poorer populations, schools and health centres. Working together with all stakeholders, the Gro for GooD project is advancing the development of a groundwater risk management tool that will help address such risks to groundwater security and livelihoods. The groundwater risk tool will help decision-makers to improve groundwater governance, balancing economic growth and groundwater sustainability for domestic and commercial users in pursuit of the wider goal of poverty reduction.

We would like to thank the local communities of Kwale County, Water Resource User Associations (WRUA), Kwale County Government, Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA), Base Titanium Ltd., Kwale International Sugar Company Ltd. (KISCOL), the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD), Rural Focus Ltd. (RFL), the University of Oxford, the Grupo de Hidrología Subterránea of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), the University of Nairobi (UoN), the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for their continued support towards the development of the groundwater risk management tool.

 

The Economist: An innovative cure for broken water pumps in Africa

An article published yesterday in The Economist has highlighted the role of innovative use of technology to unlock the potential of rural water service delivery in Africa. They report on the work being done by the Gro for GooD team, led by Oxford University, that is showing that by reducing pump downtime from an average of 27 days to less than 3, people’s willingness to pay for the water service increases five fold.

If you would like to know more about the innovative ‘Smart Handpump’, featured in a BBC article this week, and Fundifix enterprise, then you can find links to papers, presentations and films on the Gro for GooD page.

Piecing together Africa’s groundwater history

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.

Continue reading Piecing together Africa’s groundwater history

BBC: ‘Good vibration’ hand pumps boost Africa’s water security

Published: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39077761

The simple up-and-down motion of hand pumps could help scientists secure a key water source for 200 million people in Africa.

Growing demand for groundwater is putting pressure on the resource while researchers struggle to accurately estimate the future supply.

But a team from Oxford University says that low-cost mobile sensors attached to pumps could solve the problem.

Their study shows that pump vibrations record the true depth of well water.

Continue reading BBC: ‘Good vibration’ hand pumps boost Africa’s water security

How far has devolution come in Kenya?

There is more to UPGro than rocks… for groundwater to benefit the poor, African governments need evolve and improve. Johanna Koehler, a doctoral researcher at Oxford University (Gro for GooD), reports on her experiences last year with Kenya at The Third Annual Devolution Conference,  Meru, Kenya, April 2016

statement-at-devcon
Johanna Koehler giving a statement (Photo: Oxford)

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. A brief I wrote on water policy choices of Kenya’s 47 county governments sparked interest among national and county governments and led to an invitation to share key findings at the conference to an audience of over 6,000 people.

Continue reading How far has devolution come in Kenya?