Hand-pumps for deeper groundwater key to climate resilience for rural communities

by Isaiah Esipisu for the PAMACC News Agency

Photo:  A hydrogeologist measuring the water table in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (I. Esipisu)

NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) –  new study has revealed that use of hand-pumped boreholes to access deeper groundwater is the most resilient way of adapting to droughts caused by climate change for rural communities in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa.

This comes amid concerns by scientists that the resource, which is hidden underground, is not well understood on the continent especially in the Sub Saharan Africa region.

According to a new study that compared performances of rural water supply techniques during drought periods in Ethiopia, scientists from the British Geological Survey (BGS) in collaboration with their colleagues from Addis Ababa University found that boreholes accessing deep (30 meters or more) groundwater were resilient to droughts.

The study, which was published in the Nature scientific Journal on March 4, further found that boreholes fitted with hand-pumps, had highest overall functionality during the monitoring period compared to motorised pumps in.

“While motorised boreholes generally also access even deeper groundwater, repairs [in rural settings] are more difficult and may take longer, resulting in lower levels of functionality as compared to hand-pumps,” explained Dr Donald John MacAllister, the lead author and a hydrogeologist from the British Geological Survey.

At the same time, the scientists observed that springs, open sources and protected wells experienced large declines in functionality, undermining, in particular, the water security of many lowland households who rely on these source types.

“By comparison, motorised, and crucially hand-pumped, boreholes which access deeper groundwater performed best during the drought,” said Seifu Kebede, a former Associate Professor of Hydrogeology for Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, and one of the researchers. Prof Kabede has since moved to the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa.

In collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Addis Ababa University and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), experts at the BGS examined the performance of a wide range of water source types, using a unique dataset of more than 5000 individual water points collected by UNICEF in rural Ethiopia during the 2015-16 drought.

In August last year, another study headed by scientists from the University College London (UCL) refuted earlier beliefs that groundwater was susceptible to climate change, and instead confirmed that extreme climate events characterised by floods were extremely significant in recharging groundwater aquifers in drylands across sub-Saharan Africa, making them important for climate change adaptation.

“Our study reveals, for the first time, how climate plays a dominant role in controlling the process by which groundwater is restocked,” said Richard Taylor, a Professor of Hydrogeology at the UCL.

However, experts believe that for African continent to take advantage of the groundwater resources, there is need to invest in research, in order to understand the nature of aquifers underground, how they are recharged, their sizes, their geography, how they behave in different climatic conditions, the quality of water therein, and how they can be protected.

According to Prof Daniel Olago, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Geology, University of Nairobi, in Africa, groundwater in Africa remains a hidden resource that has not been studied exhaustively.
“When people want to access groundwater, they ask experts to go out there and do a hydro-geophysical survey basically to site a borehole without necessarily understanding the characteristics of that particular aquifer,” he said.

African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) estimates the volume of groundwater in Africa to be 0.66 million km3, which is more than 100 times the annual renewable freshwater resources. “But since it is hidden underground, it remains under-valued and underutilised,” said Dr Paul Orengoh, the Director of Programs at the council’s secretariat.

In October last year during a meeting in Nairobi, AMCOW launched an initiative that will help member states understand their groundwater resources, manage it sustainable, and use it for poverty alleviation in their respective countries.

According to Dr Orengoh, the AMCOW Pan-African Groundwater Programme (APAGroP) seeks to improve the policy and practice of groundwater in Africa for better lives and livelihoods in all the 55 member countries.

The BGS has already developed the ‘Africa Groundwater Atlas,’ which is a literature archive that avails all information about groundwater in Africa, published and unpublished (grey) on an online platform.

“Our aim is to provide a systematic summary of groundwater resources for each African country, compiled in collaboration with country hydrogeologists,” said Dr Kirsty Upton, a Hydrologist at the BGS.

So far, millions of households in Africa rely on groundwater for domestic and partly for agriculture production. However, scientists still believe that the resource is largely underutilised.

Studies have indicated that at least 320 million people in Africa lack access to safe water supplies. The problem is further exacerbated by frequent droughts caused by climate change.

“If well understood, groundwater has the potential of bridging the water scarcity gap, thus, reducing poverty on the African continent,” Prof Olago told PAMACC News.

The study in Ethiopia recommends investment in motorised boreholes and most importantly, investment in hand-pumps.

“In the face of climate change, the resilience of rural water supplies in East Africa is best achieved by prioritising access to groundwater via multiple improved sources and a portfolio of technologies, supported by on-going monitoring and responsive and proactive operation and maintenance,” said Dr MacAllister.

“What remains a major concern is lack of access to appropriate skills and expertise, spare parts and, for motorised systems the fuel, that is required to keep rural water supplies functioning, factors that are particularly challenging to ensure when demand on water sources increases during drought.”

 

Africa Groundwater Atlas for Nigeria wins prestigious national award

The Nigerian Mining & Geosciences Society (NMGS) and Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) have awarded Prof. Moshood Tijani, Dr Kirsty Upton, Brighid O‘Dochartaigh and Imogen Bellwood-Howard their 2020 Okezie Prize for ‘Africa Groundwater Atlas: Hydrogeology of Nigeria’. .

The NMGS/NGSA/OKEZIE PRIZE, endowed by the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), is in honour of the first Nigerian Director of the NGSA. The Prize instituted for a published or unpublished original work in the Earth Sciences, which is adjudged to be a landmark contribution to the development of the profession of mining and geosciences in Nigeria. The Prize is open to all Geoscientists/Mining Engineers.

The prize is worth N100,000.00 (£200) and a plaque, and will be given at the 56th Annual International Conference of NMGS in Ibadan, Nigeria from 22nd to 27th March, 2020.

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon helps spread groundwater knowledge

(photo: Brighid O’Dochartaigh, BGS @beodoch)

Yesterday, delegates at the IAH 2019 Congress, in Malaga, took part in an official Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, led by BGS. This is an event where people get together to edit Wikipedia – often focused on a specific topic. It is an opportunity for people with similar interests to get together to improve the content of Wikipedia, while learning how to edit the online encyclopaedia.

Why an edit-a-thon for the Africa Groundwater Atlas?

There was very limited content in Wikipedia related to groundwater or hydrogeology in Africa, The aim of this edit-a-thon is to create new “Groundwater in…” pages for every country in Africa, based on the content of the Africa Groundwater Atlas, but summarised and edited for a more general audience.

Through this, we hope to make groundwater information more accessible to a wider audience and increase the awareness of groundwater issues in Africa.

Want to get involved, but not in Malaga? Worry not:

Create your own Wikipedia account

You’ll need a Wikipedia account in order to start editing. You can create your account before the edit-a-thon to speed things up – Create a Wikipedia Account.

You’ll set up a Username that will be visible to everyone viewing any pages that you edit. You don’t have to use your real name if you don’t want to – but you can if you want. Note that accounts (and usernames) are for individuals and not organisations.

Getting started with Wikipedia editing

In the edit-a-thon we’ll lead you through everything you need to know about editing Wikipedia pages! But if you want to get started learning how in advance, try the Wikipedia Adventure, where you can learn to edit Wikpedia in about an hour.

Want to know more or need help?

Drop us an email at AfricaGWAtlas@bgs.ac.uk with the info above and we can tell you more about helping remotely!

After the event we will upload all the resources you need to get involved and create new Wikipedia pages on groundwater in Africa in your own time to a Google Drive Africa Groundwater Atlas resource folder.

Pages created and edited yesterday:

New drafts that you can help with:

 

An Analysis of Hand Pump Boreholes Functionality in Malawi

by  Prof T. Mkandawire, E. Mwathunga, A.M. MacDonald, H.C. Bonsor, S. Banda, P.,Mleta, S. Jumbo, J. Ward, D. Lapworth, L. Whaley, R.M. Lark

Abstract

A survey on functionality of boreholes equipped with hand pumps was undertaken in five districts in Malawi in 2016. The survey aimed at developing a robust evidence base and understanding of the complex and multifaceted causes of high failure rates of groundwater supplies in Africa in the wake of climate change. This would guide sustainable future investments in water and sanitation projects.A stratified two-stage sampling strategy was adopted.

The results from the survey indicate that 74% of hand pump boreholes (HPBs) are functional at any one point; 66% of HPBs passed the design yield of 10 liters per minute; 55% passed the design yield and also experienced less than one month downtime within a year; and 43% of HPBs which passed the design yield and reliability, also passed the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards of water quality.

The survey also assessed the village level Water Management Arrangements at
each water point. Results indicate that the majority of the Water Management Arrangements (86%) are functional or highly functional.

The initial exploration of the data shows no simple relationship between the physical functionality and Water Management Arrangements.

Source: Conference Abstract

Photo: SADC-GMI (via Twitter)

Resilience of Rural Groundwater Supplies to Climate Change

Key Note Presentation by Prof. Alan MacDonald @ 1st SADC Groundwater Conference
Keywords: (Drought, Climate, Change, Infrastructure, Groundwater Resources, Resilience).

Alan

“Recent droughts have highlighted the need to understand and forecast the resilience of water supplies to climate variability. Resilience of groundwater supplies is determined by several factors: groundwater storage; long term recharge; permeability; and the infrastructure put in place to abstract groundwater.

“Drawing on recent research from across Africa, mainly funded through the UPGro programme, this talk examines the relative importance of each of these factors for rural drinking water supplies, and attempts to distinguish between the behaviour of the groundwater resource and the water infrastructure.

“A variety of data are presented and evaluated: detailed groundwater level monitoring of springs, wells and boreholes; national survey data of borehole functionality; groundwater residence time indicators; and also information from GRACE and global Land Surface Model.”

Source: Conference Abstract

Photo: SADC-GMI (via Twitter)

Safe water in towns and peri-urban areas: challenges of self-supply and water quality monitoring

Millions of people in towns and cities across Sub-Saharan Africa depend on groundwater day-to-day – but is it safe to drink? How can we measure the safety quickly, cheaply and accurately?  In this RWSN-UPGro webinar, Dr Jenny Grönwall (SIWI/T-GroUP) and Dr Dan Lapworth (BGS) present the latest updates on their research into urban groundwater monitoring and use, and how it can be improved.

UPGro webinar today: Safe #water in towns and peri-urban areas: challenges of #self-supply and water quality monitoring

A quick reminder that today’s RWSN webinars feature presentations from UPGro research:

“Safe water in towns and peri-urban areas – challenges of self-supply and water quality monitoring”

 Tuesday, 24th April 2.30 pm CEST (Paris)/ 1.30 pm BST (UK)/ 8.30 am EDT (Washington DC)

Webinar in English: https://meetings.webex.com/collabs/#/meetings/detail?uuid=MEC5JM6L2PG15ELV2E4KRNLG40-BUDR

La salubrité de l’eau dans les villes et zones péri-urbaines: les défis liés à l’auto-approvisionnement et le suivi de la qualité de l’eau

 Tuesday, 24th April 11h00 CEST (Paris)/ 9h00 GMT (Dakar)

Webinaire en français: https://meetings.webex.com/collabs/#/meetings/detail?uuid=MDZ2FEQ4F99KOZKTSAGKS9IQFC-BUDR

Speakers:

  • Dr Jenny Grönwall (SIWI/UPGro T_GroUP)
  • Dr Dan Lapworth (British Geological Survey/UPGro catalyst/Hidden Crisis/GroFutures)

Chair:

  • Dr Anne Bousquet (UN-Habitat/GWOPA)

For more details on the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) 2018 Early webinar series visit the RWSN website.

Call for standard approach to assessing water supply functionality

New UPGro paper “The need for a standard approach to assessing the functionality of rural community water supplies”

by  Helen Bonsor,  Alan MacDonald, Vincent Casey, Richard Carter and Paul Wilson. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10040-017-1711-0

The Sustainable Development Goals have set an agenda for transformational change in water access, aiming for secure household connections globally. Despite this goal, communal groundwater supplies are likely to remain the main source of improved water supplies for many rural areas in Africa and South Asia for decades to come.

Understanding the poor functionality of existing communal supplies remains, therefore, a priority. A critical first step is to establish a sector-wide definition of borehole supply functionality and a standard method of its assessment.

Key points

  • Groundwater plays a central role in Increasing safe water access – particularly in Africa and Asia, but has there are long-running challenges in keeping such supplies working.
  • “Functionality” is term often used as a measurable indicator of whether a water point is working or not.
  • The most common definition of “functionality” is a binary “is it working at time of inspection? Yes/No” However, this is just one of six approaches to defining water point functionality.
  • A tiered assessment is recommended based on flow quantity, quality and downtime period(s) over the previous year
  • Having a standardised approach to assessing functionality is important to allow data from different locations and different times to be compared so that the deeper, systematic complexities and failures can be better understood and addressed.

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