@engineer4change : Charitable Foundations Have a Unique Opportunity to Change the WASH Sector

In a recent Engineering for Change (E4C) article, “Charitable Foundations Have a Unique Opportunity to Change the WASH Sector”, UPGro Hidden Crisis research was cited  in making the case for stronger efforts by charities and funders to focus on the sustainability of what they fund:

The Unlocking the Potential for Groundwater for the Poor (UPGro) research project piloted a methodology in Uganda to uncover the causes of water point failure. The pilot study report found that “there is limited data or analysis on why sources are non‐functional and therefore little opportunity to learn from past mistakes” (Bonsor 2015).

The Hidden Crisis consortium project is currently addressing these knowledge gaps in its work in Ethiopia, Malawi and Uganda.

E4C, based in the USA, is a global knowledge & media hub for tech & global development that connects and informs  more than 1,000,000+ #tech4dev practitioners worldwide.

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.

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

On the road to resilience in Ethiopia

by Barry Hague, NERC (re-blogged from NERC Planet Earth)

It’s time to rethink roads. In the vital fields of flood prevention and water supply, they offer incredible potential to enhance and enrich the lives of some of the world’s poorest people. Dr Frank van Steenbergen of the Roads for Water consortium is helping to drive this remarkable revolution.

Continue reading On the road to resilience in Ethiopia

Africa Groundwater Atlas: “X” marks the spot, but where’s the map? #60IAH2016

Drilling for water is a fraught business in Africa – like being a pirate without a treasure map. In many areas, the rock is old – some of the oldest on our planet. This cracked, shattered stone that is blasted by desert heat or soaked in tropical rains with often only a thin covering of rust-stained soil, can hold substantial amounts of water, but a driller needs to know where to look and the skill to develop a water source that will last. A metre or two can make the difference between a dry hole and a well that could supply a village or a farm for a lifetime.

Continue reading Africa Groundwater Atlas: “X” marks the spot, but where’s the map? #60IAH2016

New UPGro YouTube Channel!

You can now find a wealth of interviews, presentations, field vlogs and more at the UPGro YouTube Channel.  Highlights include:

  • Interviews with key African groundwater researchers: listen to their perspective and experiences
  • Presentations from the Catalyst projects, originally given as RWSN-UPGro webinars, they are now edited for easier viewing and for use in teaching and training.
  • Interviews and presentations from numerous events where UPGro researchers have been presenting their work and the issues around groundwater in Africa.

Grofutures launches in Tanzania

 

Under the heading “Using groundwater to reduce poverty” the GroFutures Team in Tanzania led by Japhet Kashaigili, Andrew Tarimo and Devotha Mosha hosted the GroFutures Inception Workshop in Iringa on March 31st 2016.  It was opened by the District Commissioner for Iringa, Hon. Richard Kasesela, and was attended by national, basin-level and local stakeholders (listed below) who discussed current groundwater use and management in the Great Ruaha Sub-Catchment of the Rufiji Basin and as well as both proposed and potential groundwater development pathways that might best reduce poverty.  The event was featured on national television news in Tanzania (see clip here) and leading newspapers.

Groundwater Inception Workshop in Tanzania (31st March 2016):

GroFutures Great Ruaha Inception Workshop featured on national television news (in Swahili)

The evening before the workshop, participants played The Groundwater Game in order to better familiarise with the kinds of groundwater development and management decisions that may be expected to arise as a result of groundwater use for poverty alleviation and improved food security.  Following the workshop, the GroFutures Team conducted a short field visit in the Great Ruaha Sub-Catchment to engage directly with local-level stakeholders and develop plans to establish the human and physical environments that will comprise the Great Ruaha Basin Groundwater Observatory.  The GroFutures Team also took time to visit the Site Observatory at the Makutapora Basin which was currently under rare, flood conditions associated with the 2015-16 El Niño Event.

GRB-inception-workshop-photos
GroFutures team participated at various activities in the Inception Workshop in Iringa, Tanzania (GroFutures)

How do you solve a problem like a broken water pump?

World Water Day 2016 article on The Guardian by Katherine Purvis, 22/03/2016

Long considered a symbol of development aid, up to 40% of handpumps in sub-Saharan Africa are broken at any one time. Technology is offering smart solutions.

Over the past few decades, the humble handpump has become the go-to option for rural water supply in developing countries. They’re used to extract groundwater which is mostly clean, easy and cheap to access, and available year-round. Handpumps are usually a better option than open wells – which are highly vulnerable to contamination – and piped schemes or motorised pumps, which require the skills, finances, and management that’s often lacking in remote, rural areas.

Read more on the Guardian website

 

Commentary on UN Sustainable Development Goals

On September 25, 2015, the global development agenda for the next 15 years was set at the United Nations General Assembly following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). GroFutures Team members Simon Damkjaer and Richard Taylor comment on the limitations of current metrics used to assess progress toward SDG 6.4 – “to… substantially reducing the number of people living under conditions of water scarcity“. Read their commentary here: the Circle of Blue.

UPGro win at Stockholm World Water Week

Patrick Thomson, from the Oxford-led UPGro project “Gro For Good”, has won the prize for the best poster at World Water Week 2015 for the work that he and colleagues at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Oxford have been doing on shallow groundwater monitoring using Smart Handpumps in Kenya. This work will continue under the UPGro Consortium phase.

A briefing note based on the information presented in the poster can be downloaded:

Patrick Thompson and his prize winning poster (photo: Katrina Charles)
Patrick Thompson and his prize winning poster (photo: Katrina Charles)