Country profiles

Compiled and edited by Heather Plumpton, The Walker Institute, Reading University, UK, and Sean Furey, Skat Foundation, Switzerland


Few direct studies have been done on groundwater recharge in Ghana: those that have been done are largely for areas in the northern half of the country.

Available data from past studies indicate that groundwater abstracted from boreholes in Ghana is generally of good chemical and microbiological quality and thus suitable for domestic (including drinking), agricultural and industrial uses. However, there are particular problems with the quality of groundwater in certain places.

Over 95% of groundwater use in Ghana is for domestic water supply, mostly in rural areas and small towns.


Some aquifers are identified as being over-abstracted with associated problems of water level decline and sometimes water quality deterioration, in particular the Nairobi volcanic aquifer.

Many parts of Kenya rely on groundwater, either directly from privately owned or communal boreholes, or via piped supplies from groundwater wellfields. Groundwater from communal boreholes or hand-dug wells supplies most of the rural population.

Kenya shares several transboundary aquifers with neighbouring countries


Annual renewable groundwater resources are estimated at around 36,000 million cubic metres (36 billion cubic metres), with estimates of total groundwater storage varying from 1,000 to 10,000 billion m³.

An estimated 30% of groundwater storage is not available for direct use because of high salinity and/or high fluoride, which have health risks.

Groundwater provides more than 90% of the water used for domestic and industrial supply in Ethiopia, but a very small proportion of water used for irrigation, which mostly comes from surface water.

Burkina Faso

Estimates indicate that over the whole country, groundwater abstraction (pumping) is only a small proportion of recharge – less than 1% in the Volta basin, and more than 5% in the far north.

Generally, groundwater in Burkina Faso is of suitable quality for drinking water supplies, although there are local problems.

Groundwater in Burkina Faso is primarily accessed by unprotected dug wells and used mainly for drinking water supply, particularly for small supplies in rural areas and smaller towns.