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)
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
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:
- Tuesday (2A) The Fundifix rural water service delivery model, in Kenya (Gro for GooD)
- Tuesday (3E) Properties of shallow thin regolith aquifers in sub-Saharan Africa: a case study from northwest Ethiopia  David Walker (AMGRAF – catalyst)
- Wednesday (5A) Mapping of suitable zones for manual drilling. An overview of the method and the application as decision tools  Fabio Fussi (Remote Sensing for Manual Drilling – catalyst)
- Friday Sponsored Seminar: Tips for Groundwater Success – including the Africa Groundwater Atlas
- UPGro exhibition booth
- UPGro researchers and Ambassadors will be attending and available to answer questions throughout the event and at the Rock Café on Wednesday afternoon.
- BGR-Africa Groundwater Network training on groundwater on the Monday before the Forum
We look forward to seeing you there!
After making a big splash last year, the UPGro presence at SIWI World Water Week 2016 has been relatively low key. However, Dr Rob Hope (Oxford) presented the exciting work from the UPGro/REACH research they is being done in Kenya.Download the presentation:
Also presenting during the week was Dr Callist Tindimugaya, from the Ministry of Water & Environment Uganda, who who recently accepted the invitation to become an UPGro Ambassador. Dr Tindimugaya is one of the foremost groundwater specialists in Africa and is not only the Commissioner for Water Resources Regulation in Uganda, but also vice-President of the International Assocation of Hydrogeologists (IAH) for Sub-Saharan Africa, a key figure in the Africa Groundwater Network.
…and Roadsforwater.org was mentioned as a successful and replicable example of rainwater harvesting for groundwater recharge as well as for green water capturing at the Malin Falkenmark Symposia (thanks to Jenny Grönwall of SIWI/T-GroUP who was a panelist in that session)
re-posted from: http://allafrica.com/stories/201607200647.html
By Callist Tindimugaya
Callist Tindimugaya argues that the water beneath Africans’ feet could transform the continent’s agricultural production, but only if it is managed wisely