News and Blog

GRIPP: Invisible treasures – Groundwater for Africa

This piece is from an original coverage  in April 2017, in German in the magazine Africa Wirtschaft (Africa Economy) 

Reliable access to water is still a problem in Africa. The Groundwater Solutions Initiative for Policy and Practice (GRIPP), a group of 30 international partners, is committed to providing greater security of supply and sustainable management. The focus: groundwater. 

Africa’s economy is growing. Technical developments, a broader middle class and a lively start-up scene are used in the media and in countless panel discussions to document the popular “Africa Rising” narrative. What many people forget, however, are the smallholder farmers who are, in fact, the driving force of the continent. No economic activity in Africa is more important than agriculture and none is so fragile.

The main reason is water – especially when it is missing. Already, 17 countries, many of them in the east and south of the continent, are struggling with drought for the second year in a row, writes the international media organization IRIN. If there is no regular and sufficient rainfall, the farmers can neither feed their cattle nor farm the fields. Harvest failures and famines are often the result. According to IRIN, more than 38 million people are directly affected. “In a drought, all we see is dried-up riverbeds and withered fields everywhere. Often, however, the solution is so close,” says Jeremy Bird, former Director General, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), an international research institution that addresses food security, poverty and the effects of climate change through better water management. One aspect that is becoming more and more important: groundwater.

Lack of Resources to Access Groundwater

More than 30% of the world’s freshwater reserves are stored below the Earth’s surface. The demand for the valuable resource keeps growing continuously. A study by the University College London and the British Geological Survey (BGS) determined that up to 660,000 km³ of groundwater is located under African soil – more than 100 times the renewable surface water resources of the continent. Using this hidden treasure responsibly and sustainably is particularly important for the world’s dry zones. One of the biggest hindrances to raise awareness about the enormous importance of groundwater is that it is invisible. “Rivers or reservoirs are visible when they dry out or become polluted. If the same happens to groundwater, hardly anybody takes notice,” explains Bird.

Dr. Karen Villholth, Principal Researcher, IWMI, says “Water scarcity has to be considered in a relative context in Africa. On the one hand, water resources are lacking in many places, but, often, it is actually the financial resources which are lacking to access existing groundwater resources.” The expert from IWMI, Pretoria, South Africa, attended the 8th Water Research Horizon Conference in Hamburg in mid-September, a conference with leading water scientists from around the world. There, she spoke not only as a groundwater specialist, but also as the international GRIPP Coordinator.

GRIPP, short for Groundwater Solutions Initiative for Policy and Practice, is a consortium of 30 international research institutions, companies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), founded in 2016. It is working across the world to improve groundwater management, particularly in rural and agricultural areas in developing and emerging countries. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, there are plans for the implementation of various research-for-development projects for groundwater-based irrigation systems. The overall investment catalyzed partly through GRIPP is aimed to exceed USD 1 billion until 2030. The goal is to irrigate an additional area of 600,000 hectares. In addition to technical solutions, the focus also lies on issues of ‘good governance’, ensuring long-term water management on a local, national and international level, which is better adapted to the needs of the population.

IWMI is leading GRIPP, with several United Nations organizations and partners from Africa and Germany participating, including the Africa Groundwater Network; the Association of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners (AWDROP), Nigeria; the Center for Advanced Water Research (CAWR) with experts in Dresden and Leipzig, Germany; and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), Germany.

Importance for the Economy

Dr. Ralf Klingbeil, Senior Expert, Department of Groundwater and Soils, BGR, is the contact person for GRIPP. “As a scientific institute, we naturally have very close ties to relevant research organizations and can, in addition to our technical expertise, also provide numerous contacts to institutions, authorities and companies in the partner countries,” explains Klingbeil. In the past, BGR has been active in groundwater projects in Botswana, Cameroon, Namibia and Zambia. Currently, projects are under way in Burundi, the Maghreb countries and also with the river and lake basin organizations of the Niger River and Lake Chad.

Klingbeil emphasizes the great importance of the subject for the private sector. After all, any company that invests in Africa would want to secure basic location factors such as reliable energy and water supplies. “For German companies, there are various opportunities to get involved,” says Klingbeil. Companies could support local multiple use (for agriculture and drinking) water supplies, or contribute to the financing of infrastructure for groundwater monitoring or artificial recharge. If the operations are in the vicinity of their facilities, the companies stand a better chance of being successful.

Currently, one of the main problems is the lack of functionality and maintenance of already installed well systems, reports Seifu Kebede, Professor of Earth Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. “In rural areas, on average, not even half of the systems are working properly when they are needed. If you additionally consider the water quality, the quota falls below 30%,” says Kebede. An approach for long-term solutions can only be developed with an interdisciplinary approach with a mix of innovative technological developments, trained specialists, and willingness to cooperate for lasting and long-term commitment at governmental level, as well as a stronger awareness in society. The very same approach that GRIPP pursues. “I’m looking forward to the results of this important initiative,” says Kebede.

Read original Afrika Wirtschaft magazine 4/2017 coverage in German here

  • Seifu Kebede, Professor of Earth Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
  • Jeremy Bird, former Director General, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Sri Lanka
  • Karen Villholth, Principal Researcher, Research Group Leader and international GRIPP Coordinator, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), South Africa
  • Ralf Klingbeil, Senior Expert, Department of Groundwater and Soils, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), Germany

Florian Sturm works as a freelance journalist for JournAfrica! – a multilingual media agency that is committed to a modern African image: journafrica.de

Related links:
gripp.iwmi.org
bgr.bund.de

BRAVE presented at Fifth iLEAPS Science Conference, Oxford, September 11-14

BRAVE was featured in a presentation by Dr Peter Cook at the Fifth Annual iLEAPS (Integrated Land Ecosystem-Atmosphere Processes Study Conference.  iLEAPS is a global research project of Future Earth.  This year’s theme, “Understanding the impact of land-atmosphere exchanges,” organised by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology of the National Environment Research Council.

Dr Cook presented recent findings of the BRAVE project on behalf of contributing scientists, Dr Emiliy Black and Professor Anne Verhoef.  The Presentation, Modelling the changing water balance in West Africa, showcased research investigating future changes to extreme water balances.  This has the potential to impact current and future management of water resources.

See Dr Cook’s presentation slides here.

UPGro at 44th IAH Congress

Once again, UPGro has a strong presence at the annual congress of the International Association of Hydrogeologists, which this year is in Dubrovnik, Croatia. UPGro highlights this year include:

T2.2. THE ROLE OF GROUNDWATER IN REDUCING POVERTY
Conveners: Alan Macdonald (BGS/Hidden Crisis) and Viviana Re

With presentations by:

T2.2.1 Tim Foster: “A Multi-Decadal Financial Assessment of Groundwater Services For Low-Income Households in Rural Kenya” (Gro For Good)

T2.2.4 Fabio Fussi: “Characterization Of Shallow Aquifers In Guinea Bissau To Support The Promotion Of Manual Drilling At Country Level” (Remote Sensing For Manual Drilling Catalyst)

T2.2.5 David Walker: “Comparison Of Multiple Groundwater Recharge Assessment Methods For A Shallow Aquifer: Why Are The Results So Varied?” (AMGRAF Catalyst)

T2.2.6 Adrian Healy: “Exploiting Our Groundwater Resource: Choices And Challenges In Managing The Water Commons”  (Upgro Spin-Off Project)

T2.2.9 Richard Taylor: “Large-Scale Modelling Of Groundwater Resources: Insight from The Comparison Of Models And In-Situ Observations In Sub-Saharan Africa” (GroFutures)

T2.2.11 Jade Ward: “Rapid Screening for Pathogens In Drinking Water: Preliminary Results From A National Scale Survey In Malawi” (Hidden Crisis)

T2.2.13 Alan Macdonald: “Hand Pump Functionality: Are The Rural Poor Getting A Raw Deal ?” (Hidden Crisis)

And in other sessions:

T2.3.3 Núria Ferrer: “How Do New Development Activities Affect Coastal Groundwater Systems In Africa? The Case Of Kwale, Kenya” (Gro for GooD)

T4.4.6 Richard Taylor: “Recent Changes in Terrestrial Water Storage In The Upper Nile Basin: An Evaluation Of Commonly Used Gridded Grace Products” (GroFutures)

T4.4.3 Albert Folch: “Combining Different Techniques To Monitor Seawater Intrusion Integrating Different Observation Scales” (Gro for GooD)

T2.6.1 Johanna Koehler: “A Cultural Theory of Groundwater Risks And Social Responses In Rural Kenya” (Gro for GooD)

Posters:

T2.2.14 Jacob Katuva: “Groundwater and Poverty – Evidence From Kwale, Kenya” (Gro for GooD)

T2.2.15 David Walker: “Investigating the Resilience of Shallow Groundwater Resources in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Case Study from Ethiopia” (AMGRAF Catalyst)

T2.3.14 Moshood N. Tijani: “Hydrogeological and Hydraulic Characterization of Weathered Crystalline Basement Aquifers of Ibarapa Area, Southwestern Nigeria” (GroFutures)

Manage what you measure: Better groundwater monitoring comes to West Africa

re-posted from BRAVE

by David MacDonald, British Geological Survey

A key component of water resource management is the sound scientific understanding of water flows and storage. Where water supplies are sourced through wells and boreholes in the underlying rocks, we need to understand the volumes of water stored there and how natural climate variability and land cover control how these stores are replenished.  For longer term planning purposes, we also need to assess how climate and land use change will impact on the resource.

Picture1
Monitoring groundwater levels at the Sanon catchment, Burkina Faso

The BRAVE project aims to provide tools to support water resource management in Ghana and Burkina Faso.  This is expected to improve our understanding of the water flows and storage through the instrumentation of a series of small catchments to monitor all aspects of the water balance.  The strategy for the BRAVE project was to build on existing monitored catchments, recognizing the cost of monitoring equipment; the time and effort required to build relationships with local communities in the catchments being monitored; and the value of existing contextual and longer-term data sets.

In Burkina Faso, one of the detailed monitoring catchment which BRAVE is working in is around the village of Sanon, 40 km to the north of the capital city, Ouagadougou. Sanon represents much of semi-arid West Africa as the land cover has been significantly changed through farming. The site was first established by BRGM, the French Geological Survey, but has been built up in recent years by the Institut International d’Ingénierie de l’Eau et de l’Environnement (2iE), with input from the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). Prior to BRAVE’s involvement, there was a network of monitoring boreholes and a weather station in place, and geophysical surveys had been undertaken to characterise the hydrogeological setting. This, with the time series data collected, had allowed a conceptual model of groundwater flows and storage to be developed. Crucially, 2iE has developed a good relationship with the local community and involved members of the community in this monitoring.

Through the BRAVE project, the further development of the monitoring network at Sanon has been a collaborative activity involving 2iE, the University of Ouagadougou (UO1), IRC Burkina Faso and the British Geological Survey. This has included the drilling and testing of additional boreholes, enhancement of the weather station, installation of a series of transects of access tubes to measure soil moisture and the setting up of a river flow measurement site. It has also involved the construction of three plots (4 x 20 m) containing land use representative of the catchment within which runoff, soil moisture, groundwater level, soil infiltration, soil evaporation and plant growth and transpiration are directly measured. The monitoring is undertaken by members of the local community and by students from 2iE and UO1, as well as by BRAVE project staff.

The other two existing catchments where the BRAVE project has enhanced monitoring, are part of the network of research catchments run by the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), a large-scale programme for strengthening research infrastructure and capacity involving ten West African countries and funded by the German government. One of these catchments, Aniabisi, is in Northern Ghana in an area similar to Sanon, where the landscape has been substantially changed through farming; the other, Nazinga, is just across the border in southern Burkina Faso in a nature reserve where the natural land cover is still intact. The infrastructure already in place in these WASCAL catchments has been built upon through collaboration by WASCAL, the Ghanaian Water Research Institute and BGS. Aniabisi now has infrastructure and monitoring equipment similar to that in Sanon, including the three land use plots; Nazinga is a scaled down version of this. As with Sanon, the local relationships with communities has been important in the installation of new infrastructure and local residents are also undertaking some of the monitoring work. Crucial impacts have been the support of WASCAL technical staff in the development and subsequent running of the sites.

The collaboration between BRAVE and West African organisations has been a great success that has seen the value added to established sites. The embedding of BRAVE research will greatly improve the chances that the monitoring sites developed through UPGro will be sustained beyond the period of the Programme. The importance of the resulting datasets cannot be underestimated, as we strive to understand the impacts of environmental change on the water resources that underpin future adaptation and resource management.

 

Top Photo: Sorghum cropping is a land use type that is included in monitoring plots at both Sanon and Aniabisi

Uncovering how groundwater is used, in Tanzania

re-posted from: Grofutures.org

The GroFutures team in Tanzania has just completed the data collection component of the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) exercise in the Great Ruaha Basin of Tanzania. The team comprised Andrew Tarimo, Devotha Mosha Kilave, Gebregziabher Gebrehaweria and Imogen Bellwood-Howard. Following initial training at Sokoine University of Agriculture, the team moved to the study site in Mbarali District and worked in three villages (Matebete, Ubaruku and Nyeregete) between 23rd August and 2nd September 2017. During the PRA exercise the team carried out a range of activities including seasonal calendars development, long-term trend analyses, wealth indexes, technology rankings and a well inventory (see photos below).

The team documented a range of groundwater and other water use strategies involving dug wells, shallow and deep groundwater wells alongside surface water and natural springs. With the well inventory, the team was able to locate geographically groundwater sources within the study areas. The PRA exercises allowed the team to make qualitative characterisation of different water sources. Preliminary data include the observation that wealthier people were often beginning to invest in more expensive, private infrastructure. Quality was a concern as much as quantity, which was highly relevant in the light of recent health scares. A detailed analysis of the entire survey dataset is curently being carried out by the team.

UPGro research on cover of Ambio

5GroFutures water scarcity article featured on journal cover

A critical review of water scarcity metrics written by UCL PhD student, Simon Damkjaer, and GroFutures PI, Richard Taylor, is featured on the cover of this month’s issue of Ambio. The article argues that current metrics including those used to track progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goal 6.4, substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity by 2030, are inadequate as they misrepresent freshwater resources and demand, particularly in low-income countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. The authors highlight the critical role played by groundwater storage in addressing seasonal or perennial water shortages that is entirely disregarded by current metrics.

The cover photo, taken by UPGro Catalyst PI. Willy Burgess (UCL Earth Sciences), shows the role of groundwater in sustaining dry-season irrigation of boro rice in the Barind area of Bangladesh.

Agenda for Change: UPGro influencing systems thinking on WASH services

Agenda for Change is  a collaboration of organisations who recognise we can achieve more by working together.

Launched in May 2015 by Aguaconsult, IRC, WaterAid, Water For People and Osprey Foundation, Agenda For Change sets out what we think we need to do and how we need to act so that everyone, everywhere has water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services that last forever.

Agenda For Change:

  • stems from Everyone Forever from Water For People, the Service Delivery Approach of IRC, the WaterAid District-wide Approach and the aid effectiveness agenda of the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership.
  • is about making a fundamental change in the way we work. To deliver positive change towards water, sanitation and hygiene service delivery, we need a systems-wide approach that tackles policy, financing and institutions – key building blocks of the water, sanitation and hygiene sector.
  • promotes harmonized district level work to ensure everyone in the districts has adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services. Agenda For Change ensures that national level systems are in place to enable all districts in the countries to reach everyone and that systems are in place forever.

Among the many influences on this important initiative we are delighted that a recent paper Elisabeth Liddle and Richard Fenner from the UPGro Hidden Crisis team has been highlighted on the short-list of best current thinking.

To find out more and to get involved, visit the Agenda for Change website.

New UPGro paper: Better map-making for manual drilling in West Africa

In a new open paper in the Hydrogeological Journal, Dr Fabio Fussi and his UPGro Catalyst team present work done in Senegal that looks at how improving hydrogeological data, maps and understanding can improve the success of manually drilled boreholes.

In a region where access to safe, affordable water is limited, manual drilling provides a cost-effective way of tapping groundwater resources. However, aquifers are complex and striking fresh water is not guaranteed.

20140625_170547
Manual drilling in Lagos, Nigeria (photo: Dotun Adekile, 2014)

Fussi and his team propose a model that uses analysis of borehole logs for the to characterise shallow aquifers  so that areas suitable for manual drilling can be found. The model is based on available borehole-log parameters: depth to hard rock, depth to water, thickness of laterite (a iron-rich rock type common in the tropics) and hydraulic properties of the shallow aquifer. The model was applied to a study area in northwestern Senegal.

The hydraulic conductivity values – how easily water flows through rock –  were estimated from geological data and  partially validated by comparing them with measured values from a series of pumping tests carried out in large-diameter wells.

The results show that this method is able to produce a reliable interpretation of the shallow hydrogeological context using information generally available in the region.

The research contributes to improving the identification of areas where conditions are suitable for manual drilling, and has the potential to be used throughout Africa, and beyond, using data available in most African countries.

Ultimately, this work will support proposed international programs aimed at promoting low-cost water supply in Africa and enhancing access to safe drinking water for the population.

BRAVE update 3 (Jul/Aug)

BRAVE Newsletter

Don’t forget to check out the BRAVE Website for additional blog posts, research information and supporting documentation.
~Happy reading!

N’oubliez pas de consulter le site Web de BRAVE pour obtenir des publications supplémentaires, des informations de recherche et des documents à l’appui.
~ Bonne lecture!

Partner Updates

British Geological Survey

  • Students from 2iE and the University of Ouagadougou (UO1) are now in place at the Sanon site to monitor aspects of the water balance during the wet season.
  • The Sanon weather station was upgraded to include a more accurate rainfall gauge.
  • The MOU between 2iE, UO, and BGS relating to the longer term operation of monitoring infrastructure and equipment at Sanon has been finalised and is currently being signed by the parties.
  • Monitoring of the water balance at the Aniabisi and Nazinga sites continues during the current wet season. Additional equipment has been purchased to help this, including a new motor bike for the use of WASCAL staff in Bolgatanga. The WASCAL Eddy Correlation system in the Vea Catchment has been successfully relocated after security concerns.

University of Reading

  • UoR Representatives visited BRAVE Partners in Burkina Faso, July 17 – 21, holding a series of meetings with Reseau Marp, Christian Aid, Burkina Meteo, and IRC.
  • Led Data Collection Training Workshop with BRACED, supported by IRC, July 20.

Water Research Institute

  • Two additional boreholes at Nazinga in Burkina are now completed. Step pumping tests have been carried out on all the pumps.
  • High capacity submersible pumps are now being purchased for long term pumping (long term discharge) tests to be carried out.
  • A surface pump is now being purchased to drain water from the run-off tanks.
  • Data downloading is also ongoing on all installations.

British Geological Survey

  • Les étudiants du 2iE et de l’Université de Ouagadougou (UO1) sont maintenant en place sur le site de Sanon pour surveiller les aspects du bilan hydrique pendant la saison des pluies.
  • La station météorologique de Sanon a été améliorée pour inclure une jauge de précipitations plus précise.
  • Le protocole d’entente entre 2iE, UO1 et BGS relatif à l’exploitation à plus long terme de l’infrastructure et de l’équipement de surveillance à Sanon a été finalisé et est actuellement signé par les parties.
  • La surveillance du bilan hydrique sur les sites d’Aniabisi et de Nazinga se poursuit pendant la saison humide actuelle. Des équipements supplémentaires ont été achetés pour l’aider, y compris une nouvelle moto pour l’utilisation du personnel de WASCAL à Bolgatanga. Le système WASCAL Eddy Correlation dans le cap de Vea a été réinstallé avec succès après des problèmes de sécurité.

University of Reading

  • Les représentants de UoR ont visité les partenaires de BRAVE au Burkina Faso, du 17 au 21 Juillet, organisant une série de rencontres avec Reseau Marp, Christian Aid, le Burkina Meteo et l’IRC.
  • Atelier de formation à la collecte de données de Led avec BRACED, soutenu par IRC, le 20 Juillet.​

Water Research Institute

  • Deux forages supplémentaires à Nazinga au Burkina sont maintenant terminés. Des essais de pompage ont été effectués sur toutes les pompes.
  • Des pompes submersibles de grande capacité sont en cours d’achat pour les tests de pompage à long terme (décharge à long terme) à effectuer.
  • Une pompe de surface est maintenant achetée pour évacuer l’eau des réservoirs d’écoulement.
  • Le téléchargement des données est également en cours sur toutes les installations.

BRAVE Resources

Upcoming Conferences Mole XXVIII Conference
October 2 – 6, 2017
Accra, Ghana  Venue: Accra International Conference Centre

Theme:
Ghana’s Lower Middle Income Status: Implications for Improved WASH Services Delivery – Role of Government and Private Sector

Subthemes:
1) Alternative Financing Mechanisms, 2) Policy and Advocacy, 3) Responding to Equity and Vulnerability, 4) Institutional Reforms, 5) Opportunities for Private Sector Participation

Mole Conference is one of the biggest Multi-Stakeholder annual platforms in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector in Ghana. The Platform, named after the venue of the maiden edition, Mole in the Northern Region of Ghana, is organised by the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) and brings together sector practitioners from NGOs, Government, Private Operators, Networks, CBOs, CSOs, etc. to dialogue, learn and share knowledge/ information on specific themes that affect the sector.
More Information

For registration contact: CONIWAS Secretariat
coniwas@yahoo.com; attah_arhin@wvi.org;  +233 302 250816, 0244989085, 0244713332

Recent BRAVE Presentations
Dr Narcisse Gahi presented BRAVE at the Learning Group of Burkina Faso for Water Resources, August 4
Presentation
Learning Group Brochure
Agenda

Conférences à Venir
Mole XXVIII Conference

Du 2 au 6 Octobre 2017
Accra, Ghana Lieu: Centre international de conférences d’Accra

Thème:
Le statut du revenu moyen inférieur du Ghana: implications pour la prestation améliorée des services WASH – Rôle du gouvernement et du secteur privé
Sous thèmes:
1) Mécanismes de financement alternatifs, 2) Politique et plaidoyer, 3) Réponse à l’équité et à la vulnérabilité, 4) Réformes institutionnelles, 5) Possibilités de participation du secteur privé

La conférence Mole est l’une des plus importantes plates-formes annuelles multipartites dans le secteur de l’eau, de l’assainissement et de l’hygiène (WASH) au Ghana. La Plate-forme, nommée d’après la première édition, Mole dans la Région Nord du Ghana, est organisée par la Coalition des ONG en eau et assainissement (CONIWAS) et regroupe des professionnels du secteur des ONG, du gouvernement, des opérateurs privés, des réseaux, des OBC , Les OSC, etc. pour dialoguer, apprendre et partager des connaissances / informations sur des thèmes spécifiques qui affectent le secteur.
Plus d’information
Pour le contact d’inscription: Secrétariat du CONIWAS
coniwas@yahoo.com; attah_arhin@wvi.org;  +233 302250816; 0244989085; 0244713332

Présentations BRAVE Récentes

Dr Narcisse Gahi a présenté BRAVE au Groupe d’apprentissage du Burkina Faso pour les ressources en eau, le 4 Août
Présentation
Brochure du groupe d’apprentissage
Ordre du jour​

Voir la chronologie de l’activité BRAVE pour une liste exhaustive des actions et recherches actuelles et prévues.

BRAVE – BRACED Training Workshop

– Dr Galiné YanonA training workshop (July 20) was held by Dr Galiné Yanon and Dr Narcisse Gahi of BRAVE with members of the BRACED project to train members of the Evangelical Churches Development Office (ODE) on data collection techniques and to share BRAVE’s approached to groundwater research and resource management.  The objective of the training was to prepare the BRACED-ODE Team for the upcoming collection of ground data on water resources, particularly groundwater in two communities: Souri and La-Toden.

Ongoing fieldwork will assess the vulnerability of households in the targeted BRACED communities regarding water insecurity for agriculture. Following this training, ongoing work will focus on the role groundwater accessibility plays in agricultural development, poverty reduction, and food security.  This work intends to:

  • Reveal locally perceived livelihood vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change and variability, and interactions with exacerbating socioeconomic factors, with a particular focus on risks to water for agriculture;
  • Establish local priorities and existing livelihood coping strategies of rural households to manage water for agriculture;
  • Identify perceived effectiveness of groundwater supply and use in the communities, particularly for agricultural irrigation.
  • Examine the existing governance arrangements for groundwater distribution and access.

This upcoming fieldwork will be conducted by the BRACED team through their local partner, ODE

Un atelier de formation (20 juillet) a été organisé par le Dr Galiné Yanon et le Dr Narcisse Gahi de BRAVE avec des membres du projet BRACED pour former les membres du Bureau de développement des églises évangéliques (ODE) sur les techniques de collecte de données et pour partager les approches de BRAVE la gestion des ressources. L’objectif de la formation était de préparer l’équipe BRECED-ODE pour la collecte prochaine de données sur le sol sur les ressources en eau, en particulier les eaux souterraines dans deux communautés: Souri et La-Toden.

Le travail sur le terrain évaluera la vulnérabilité des ménages dans les communautés BRACED ciblées en ce qui concerne l’insécurité de l’eau pour l’agriculture. À la suite de cette formation, les travaux en cours porteront sur le rôle que joue l’accessibilité des eaux souterraines dans le développement agricole, la réduction de la pauvreté et la sécurité alimentaire. Ce travail vise à:

  • Révéler les vulnérabilités de moyens de subsistance perçus localement aux impacts du changement et de la variabilité du climat et des interactions avec des facteurs socio-économiques exacerbants, en mettant l’accent sur les risques pour l’eau pour l’agriculture;
  • Établir les priorités locales et les stratégies actuelles d’adaptation des moyens de subsistance des ménages ruraux pour gérer l’eau pour l’agriculture;
  • Identifier l’efficacité perçue de l’approvisionnement et de l’utilisation des eaux souterraines dans les communautés, en particulier pour l’irrigation agricole.
  • Examiner les mécanismes de gouvernance existants pour la distribution et l’accès des eaux souterraines.

Ce travail de terrain à venir sera effectué par l’équipe BRACED à travers leur partenaire local, ODE

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: