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

PhD Course, Niches in Transition Arenas: Critical Perspectives

from T-Group.science

By Dr. Maryam Nastar

In August 29th – 31st, 2016, LUCSUS (Lund University Center for Sustainability Studies) hosted a 3-ECTS PhD course “Niches in Transition Arenas: Critical Perspectives” as a part of capacity building initiatives by the transition management working group of the T-GroUp project, in Lund, Sweden.

Continue reading PhD Course, Niches in Transition Arenas: Critical Perspectives

With no access to piped water, residents of Accra meet their own water needs. Here’s how.

re-blogged from SIWI: http://www.siwi.org/news/siwi-explores-complexities-of-groundwater-governance-in-peri-urban-accra-ghana/

Low accountability and complex governance landscape complicate understanding of reliance on groundwater in peri-urban Accra, Ghana, finds article by SIWI’s Dr. Jenny Grönwall.

Poor urban dwellers tend to be disadvantaged in terms of public service delivery, often relying instead on groundwater through self-supply, but their specific needs and opportunities—and own level of responsibility—are seldom on the agenda. The Greater Accra Region of Ghana and the country as a whole serve to illustrate many interconnected aspects of urbanization, inadequate service provision, peri-urban dwellers’ conditions, private actors’ involvement and user preferences for packaged water.

Based on interviews and a household survey covering 300 respondents, this case study aims to provide insights into the water-related practices and preferences of residents in the peri-urban, largely unplanned township of Dodowa on the Accra Plains in Ghana and to discuss implications of low accountability and a complex governance landscape on the understanding of reliance on groundwater.

Self-sufficient from wells and boreholes until a distribution network expansion, Dodowa residents today take a “combinator approach” to access water from different sources. The findings suggest that piped water supplies just over half the population, while the District Assembly and individuals add ever-more groundwater abstraction points. Sachet water completes the picture of a low-income area that is comparatively well off in terms of water access. However, with parallel bodies tasked with water provisioning and governance, the reliance on wells and boreholes among poor (peri-) urban users has for long been lost in aggregate statistics, making those accountable unresponsive to strategic planning requirements for groundwater as a resource, and to those using it.

Dr. Jenny Grönwall, Programme Manager, SIWI, forms part of the T-GroUP consortium led by UNESCO-IHE and funded by the research programme Unlocking the potential of groundwater for the poor in Sub-Saharan Africa (UPGro). The project focuses on parts of Kampala (Uganda), Arusha (Tanzania), and Accra (Ghana) as examples of growing mixed urban areas in Sub-Saharan Africa, including poor people in slums, who depend on groundwater.

Self-supply and accountability: to govern or not to govern groundwater for the (peri-) urban poor in Accra, Ghana. Available with Open Access from Environmental Earth Sciences, 75(16), 1-10.

The Dutch Research Institute for Transitions joins T-GroUP

from: t-group.science

Recently, the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT) from the Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, joined T-GroUP. DRIFT focuses on studying Sustainability Transitions and is the internationally leading institute in Transition Management (TM). The DRIFT team is a transdisciplinary and international group of researchers and advisors. DRIFT combines research on social innovation, sustainability transitions, policy, governance and innovation, with consultancy and training programs for governmental institutions, businesses and intermediary organisations. DRIFT is involved in local, national and international projects concerned with health, youth, urban planning, energy, water, food and various other sectors.

Within T-GroUP, DRIFT will support local transition teams to adapt and apply TM as a transdisciplinary and participatory approach in the three case studies in order to find innovative and sustainable solutions and new collaborations among the multiple local stakeholders to use and manage (ground)water. DRIFT will work closely together with the already involved institutes and especially those working on governance (action) research. The researchers from DRIFT that contribute to T-GroUP are dr.  Roel van Raak, specialized in transition policy, dr. Julia Wittmayer, specialized in action research and urban transitions, and Giorgia Silvestri, specializing in participatory methods and sustainability transitions in a developing context.

DRIFT welcomes the T-GroUP invitation to join the group. The objectives and activities of T-GroUP fit very well with the DRIFT research agenda and more generally with the interests of the transition studies research community to learn more about applying TM in a non-western context. Furthermore, DRIFT is looking forward to collaborate with all T-GroUP partners in their ambitions to introduce this governance and participatory approach in the context of sub-Saharan urban (ground)water management and thus increasing the societal relevance of their research and education.

roel

Dr. Roel van Raak of DRIFT explaining TM in a nutshell in front of an audience of T-GroUP members

Drilling in Kampala started

 re-posted from:t-group.science

There are three urban areas in which T-GroUP is active and, while most of the drilling activities in Dodowa and Arusha have been completed, in Kampala it took some time to get permissions. At first, the Ministry of Water and Environment had to formally approve the project drilling activities, which they did. Then, the Kampala Capital City Authority required more information about the project before giving their formal go-ahead. Thirdly, the Local Councils had to be convinced of the usefulness of the work, and, finally, land owners and tenants had to approve of the installation of piezometers on their land for monitoring purposes. It took Dr. Robinah Kulabako and Dr. Philip Nyenje a good deal of energy to take all hurdles. But they finally succeeded! The process also served as a good and thorough entrance of the project into the local communities. On Wednesday April 6, PAT Drill Uganda started drilling the first hole near Makerere University towards the top of Makerere hill. While drilling, the team was visited by David MacDonald and Dan Lapworth of BGS, who were in Kampala in the framework of the HyCRISTAL project within the NERC/DFID funded Future Climate for Africa Programme.

John Okwi (left, with hat), the owner of PAT-DRILL Uganda, is supervising his team of drillers using a PAT-301 to drill through the weathered basement near the top of Makerere hill
John Okwi (left, with hat), the owner of PAT-DRILL Uganda, is supervising his team of drillers using a PAT-301 to drill through the weathered basement near the top of Makerere hill
A selfi at one of the drilling locations with David MacDonald, Jan Willem Foppen, Dan Lapworth and Philip Nyenje (from left to right).
A selfi at one of the drilling locations with David MacDonald, Jan Willem Foppen, Dan Lapworth and Philip Nyenje (from left to right).

How to get permission to drill in Kampala?

from t-group.science

Meanwhile in Kampala, Dr. Philip Nyenje and Dr. Robinah Kulabako had gone to request permission to drill at the Church premises on Makerere Hill going down to Bwaise slum. Permission was required in order to be able to install a transect of piezometers between Makerere Hill, the perceived groundwater recharge area, and Bwaise slum, the groundwater discharge area. After introducing T-GroUP, they had good discussions with the Vicar of the church regarding the project, community mobilisation and other ideas in the field of water supply. Then, the Vicar requested Philip and Robinah to formalise their request in writing and deliver to him the letter. Additionally, he also requested Robinah to be a Guest Speaker during Mary’s day at his church. Robinah was happy to take up this challenge, as she regarded it not only to be an opportunity to strengthen and augment collaboration within the project and between the project and the community, but giving a sermon would also contribute to shaping Robinah spiritually.

The sermon was on “Living Wisely” based on Ephesians 5:15-17. Robinah really enjoyed it and she was happy to do the needful, combine religion with science, and get permission to drill.

My experience of Life in Dodowa and the T-group Project

By: Alimamy Kolipha Kamara from T-group.science

al1

Yes, it was a period of intensive fieldwork which included the daunting task of collecting, transporting, and concentrating huge volumes of groundwater samples, inspecting sanitary facilities, etc., but life in Dodowa and the project house at Salem left a balanced memory between fieldwork and the social interaction that was needed.

Continue reading My experience of Life in Dodowa and the T-group Project

Finalising Obed’s fieldwork in Dodowa

By:  Obed Minkah

Final fieldwork activities in Dodowa included the establishment of monitoring network which consist of 40 wells to monitor groundwater fluctuation and to help us determine the groundwater flow direction. In order to know the groundwater flow direction, the monitoring wells were levelled to each other using a total station. It was daunting task to level wells scattered on about a 13.5kmsq area but the task was done within 3 days with support from my colleagues (Isaac and Eric) from The Hydrological Services Department. The water levels of these wells were also measured weekly to know the groundwater levels change over time and from the monitoring it was observed that water levels in the wells were decreasing gradually over the course of fieldwork.

 

Obed working during the levelling of the monitoring wells
Continue reading Finalising Obed’s fieldwork in Dodowa

Water quality is interesting!

By: Carlos Enrique Aponte Rivero on T-group.science

Yes! It is very interesting for these kids, obviously amazed by the strange equipment put into the water. As soon as I started to set up the probes and to do the water quality measurements, I was suddenly surrounded by children, getting closer and closer trying to find out what is this about. It was in Osunyai Street, where I took a sample from a borehole close to Sombetini Primary School. The children are students of this school and they were just walking around when I arrived to continue with my data collection. The T-GroUP Project gave me the opportunity to mix my technical background in chemistry and water quality with social science, an exciting challenge with an interesting experience working in the field.

c1

Continue reading Water quality is interesting!

Exploring cases of community participation in (ground)water governance in Dodowa

By: Shona Jenkins (from t-group.science)

By the end of February, I will have spent 3 weeks conducting interviews with community members, community leaders and representatives from the local government across 11 communities in Dodowa. Throughout the interview process, I have attempted to better understand the water reality in each community: what sources of water are used and for what purpose(s) and how this impacts their day-to-day lives. As the interviews progress, I have tried to identify pressing problems in each community, which sometimes includes access to water and quality of water, but is not always the most pressing issue identified. As the interviews conclude, I have tried to gain a better understanding of whom community members look to for solutions to pressing community issues and I have tried to identify both formal and informal actors in each community who are critical in undertaking any community improvement project.

Continue reading Exploring cases of community participation in (ground)water governance in Dodowa