Hidden Crisis team reveal themselves in Edinburgh

project-meeting
reposted from: https://upgro-hidden-crisis.org/2016/12/07/2nd-project-workshop-meeting-edinburgh-21-24-nov-2016/

Overview and aims of the workshop

Since our last project workshop, held in Addis Ababa Ethiopia in September 2015, the first main survey phase of the project (to survey the functionality and performance of a sub-sample of water points and committees) has been completed within each of the three countries, alongside a rapid political economy analysis studies for Ethiopia and Malawi (Uganda to happen within the next few months).

The aim of the workshop was to bring the project team together to foster our growing working relationships, and to:

1. Review Survey 1 – key challenges and successes – and to review the initial analysis of the data and plan for more detailed final analysis
2. Planning of Survey 2  – location and site selection criteria, the research approach and aims, methods and logistics
3. Planning of the Longitudinal studies in the 3 countries for both physical and social science surveys
4. Interdisciplinary research – to review and discuss our approaches to interdisciplinary science in the Hidden Crisis project and lessons learned from other UPGro Projects
5. Discuss ongoing stakeholder engagement and a Publication Strategy – for both the country research teams, and for the project as a whole.

joint-picture

Attendees and meeting programme

The workshop was held at the British Geological Survey (BGS) office in Edinburgh, UK, over four days – from 21st to 24th November 2016.  Representatives from all institutions and from each country involved in the research consortium attended the workshop – 23 people in total.

Day 1 was focused to reviewing the work of Survey 1 across the three countries and the initial data analysis; on Day 2 the key logistics and research aims of Survey 2 happening  in 2017 were discussed, as well as the political economy work completed so far; Day 3 explored interdisciplinary research in the project, and the key aims and logistics for the longitudinal studies; and, Day 4, was used to identify and review the key priorities and planning actions for the next few months across the project team for the next main research survey phases. Several short “Ted talks” were also given throughout the week.

Summary of discussions

Presentations were made by Dessie Nedaw (Ethiopia), Michael Owor (Uganda) and Evance Mwathunga (Malawi) of the successes and challenges in completing Survey 1 across the three countries.    The project database and QA process which has been developed to store all the data collected by the project (both physical science and social science) from Survey 1, and subsequent surveys.

classroom

A preliminary analysis of Survey 1 data from Ethiopia was presented by Dessie Nedaw and Seifu Kebebe.  The analysis used the project approach of examining the impact of using different definitions of water point functionality.  These include: working at the time of visit, having an acceptable yield, passing national inorganic chemistry standards, and whether they contained total thermal tolerant coliforms.

malawi

The initial results of the rapid political economy analysis (PEA) work from Malawi and Ethiopia were presented by Naomi Oates and Florence Pichon of ODI, respectively.

There were detailed discipline group discussions and wider project team discussions to identify the main methods, key criteria for site selection and the main challenges and logistics for planning Survey 2.  Discussion was given to logistical and ethical challenges of repair of water points visited, risk of damage of the water points, and management of community expectations and follow-up during the mobilisation phases.  Key timescales for planning were identified by the project team.

planning

A half day of the workshop was focused on a wider project team discussion of our approach to interdisciplinary science – and the key challenges and opportunities of doing this in the next phases of the project.  Kirsty Upton (of the UPGro programme co-ordination group) gave a presentation of an external MSc research paper, which has reviewed the different approaches to interdisciplinary science across the 5 UPGro consortium projects.  Lissie Liddle (PhD student Cambridge University) presented the systems dynamics analysis she will be conducting for the Hidden Crisis project, bringing together physical and social science data, as part of her PhD within a Bayesian network analysis; and, Richard Carter then led a facilitated project discussion on our different perceptions of physical and social science factors to HPB failure.

W. Mike Edmunds Memorial Lecture

Prof Alan MacDonald of the British Geological Survey to deliver the first W. Mike Edmunds Memorial Lecture on the theme of ‘groundwater and climate resilience’

3 November 2016, 5:00pm
Blue Boar Lecture Theatre, Christ Church

In a career spanning almost 50 years, Professor W. Mike Edmunds made an extraordinary
contribution to water science and water resource management globally. Mike led advances in geochemistry – particularly hydrogeochemistry and palaeohydrology – authored over 150 scientific publications and mentored numerous water professionals in the process. In recognition of his outstanding work, Mike received many accolades including the Whittaker Medal (1999), the O.E. Meinzer Award (2009), and the Vernadsky Medal (2010). Mike is remembered not only for his scientific achievements, but for his passion, warmth and generosity of spirit which touched the lives of many. This lecture aims to honour his legacy by promoting good hydrogeological science to the service of society: something Mike was deeply passionate about.

Groundwater and climate resilience

The first Mike Edmunds Memorial Lecture will address ‘groundwater and climate resilience’. As the world’s largest store of usable freshwater, groundwater is central to how humans are responding to the challenges posed by climate change. Currently, groundwater abstraction comprises more than 35% of global water use and this is forecast to increase as people seek to mitigate the effects of climate extremes on food and water security. However, this raises the question of how resilient groundwater is to change. In rural Africa, most households depend on groundwater to meet basic water needs, with few affordable alternatives particularly during the dry season. In Asia, groundwater underpins agricultural productivity, again with few realistic alternatives if groundwater resources were to prove unreliable.

In this talk, Prof Alan MacDonald will explore the resilience of groundwater to change and the challenges posed by climate change and increasing abstraction. Drawing on recent and ongoing research projects in Africa and South Asia, he will show how, with an understanding of hydrogeology, it is possible to plan for the future.

About the speaker

Prof Alan MacDonald is a Principal Hydrogeologist at the British Geological Survey and Honorary Professor of Groundwater at the University of Dundee. His work focuses on applied groundwater science, particularly in Africa and South Asia in the context of environmental change, water security and poverty reduction. Alan has 25 years research experience and has published 70 peer-reviewed papers, two groundwater books and more than 100 BGS Technical reports. He also collaborated with Mike on a number of publications. Alan leads international groundwater research at BGS and manages a small team of groundwater scientists and several PhD students based in Edinburgh.

For further information and online registration click here.

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

The classic – Developing Groundwater – now available online – free of charge

The classic book and practical manual Developing Groundwater: A guide for rural water supply by Alan MacDonald, Jeff Davies, Roger Calow and John Chilton is now available online from the Practical Action website for free download.

 Published in 2005 it provides a user-friendly guide to the topic of groundwater development, bringing together the wide range of techniques required to develop groundwater for community water supplies. It provides information on effective techniques for siting wells and boreholes, assessing the sustainability of sources, constructing and testing the yield of boreholes and wells, and monitoring groundwater quality. The authors set the technical aspects of rural water supply firmly in their socio-economic context, so that readers can take proper account of community concerns as well as purely engineering questions. Packed with helpful illustrations this book is indispensable for all rural water supply project staff in developing countries.

Please let others know about it!

The British Geological Survey, UNICEF, WaterAid and Skat joined hands with Practical Action to get publication this into the public domain.

Happy reading – it is a good one.

 

Here is the link in full: http://www.developmentbookshelf.com/doi/book/10.3362/9781780441290

New El Niño research grant awarded to UPGro investigators

A research team, led by Prof. Alan MacDonald of BGS, has been awarded research funding by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) for a study entitled “Monitoring the impact of the 2015/16 El Nino on rural water insecurity in Ethiopia: learning lessons for climate resilience

El Niño is a prolonged warming of sea surface temperatures in the central and east-central Pacific that occurs irregularly at 3-6 year intervals. El Niño weakens the trade winds and alters the monsoon pattern which affects global weather patterns and typically results in drought conditions in Southern Africa and Southeast Asia and enhanced rainfall in Eastern Africa and South America.

Continue reading New El Niño research grant awarded to UPGro investigators

Africa Groundwater Atlas: An introduction to the groundwater resources of 51 African countries

AGA_Overview

The new online Africa Groundwater Atlas is an introduction to the groundwater resources of 51 African countries, and a gateway to further information.

The British Geological Survey has developed the Africa Groundwater Atlas in partnership with the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) Burdon Groundwater Network for Developing Countries, and with more than 50 collaborating groundwater experts across Africa.

Continue reading Africa Groundwater Atlas: An introduction to the groundwater resources of 51 African countries

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

 

The magic and mystery of groundwater data

To be effective, drinking water programmes relying on groundwater need good quality and well managed groundwater data. Unfortunately this is an overlooked, “techy domain”. The presentations and discussants on this webinar explain the typical problems of groundwater data collection, management and use. They draw on first hand examples of: groundwater data use in Uganda and the United Kingdom; groundwater databases in 15 African countries (Benin, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Zambia) and work on transboundary aquifers in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana) followed by of the current realities in Mozambique. There is need for training, quality assurance of data, and for groundwater data collection to become part of drilling contract management.
Presentations and reflections from Lawrence Brown from Hafren Water (UK), Helen Bonsor of the British Geological Survey – BGS (UK), Fabio Fussi of the University of Milano Bicocca, Italy and Andreas Antoniou of the International Groundwater Centre – IGRAC (the Netherlands). Reflections from Brighid O Dochartaigh, British Geological Survey – BGS (UK) and Samo Chirindja Farisse – Eduardo Mondlane University (Mozambique).

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Pour être efficients, les programmes d’approvisionnement en eau potable ayant recours aux eaux souterraines ont besoin de données sur les eaux souterraines de bonne qualité et bien gérées. Malheureusement il s’agit d’un domaine jugé trop technique et souvent négligé. Lors de ce webinar les présentateurs et commentateurs mettent en exergue les problèmes typiques concernant la collecte, la gestion et l’utilisation des données sur les eaux souterraines. Ils se basent sur des exemples personnels : utilisation des données des eaux souterraines en Ouganda et au Royaume Uni ; bases de données sur l’eau souterraine dans 15 pays africains (Bénin, Burundi, République Centrafricaine, Tchad, Guinée, Côte d’Ivoire, Libéria, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritanie, Niger, Sénégal, Sierra Leone, Togo et Zambie). Il y a des besoins en formation, en assurance qualité des données et en ce qui concerne la collecte des données sur les eaux souterraines la nécessité de devenir partie du contrat de forage.
Présentations et réflexions de Lawrence Brown de “Hafren Water” (UK), Helen Bonsor du “British Geological Survey” – BGS (UK), Fabio Fussi de l’Université de Milano Bicocca, Italie et Andreas Antoniou du Centre International sur les Eaux Souterraines – IGRAC (Pays-Bas). Commentaires de Brighid O Dochartaigh, “British Geological Survey” – BGS (UK).

Research follow-up: assessing groundwater beneath Africa

Re-blogged from environmental research web, 6 October 2015

Alan MacDonald and colleagues published their map of African groundwater resources in Environmental Research Letters three years ago; since then there’s been much progress, including the commencement of the UPGro (Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor) programme

Continue reading Research follow-up: assessing groundwater beneath Africa

Threats to groundwater supplies from contamination in Sierra Leone, with special reference to Ebola care facilities

A well close to the community care facility at Kumala Primary School, Sierra Leone. Used with permission from Enam Hoque (Oxfam).

Although not an UPGro study, this is a relevant new paper by Lapworth, D.J.; Carter, R .C.; Pedley, S.; MacDonald, A.M.. 2015 Threats to groundwater supplies from contamination in Sierra Leone, with special reference to Ebola care facilities. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 87pp. (OR/15/009)

Abstract:

The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa in 2014 is the worst single outbreak recorded, and has resulted in more fatalities than all previous outbreaks combined. This outbreak has resulted in a large humanitarian effort to build new health care facilities, with associated water supplies. Although Ebola is not a water-borne disease, care facilities for Ebola patients may become sources of outbreaks of other, water-borne, diseases spread through shallow groundwater from hazard sources such as open defecation, latrines, waste dumps and burial sites to water supplies. The focus of this rapid desk study is to assess from existing literature the evidence for sub-surface transport of pathogens in the context of the hydrogeological and socio-economic environment of Sierra Leone. In particular, the outputs are to advise on the robustness of the evidence for an effective single minimum distance for lateral spacing between hazard sources and water supply, and provide recommendations for protecting water supplies for care facilities as well as other private and public water supplies in this region.

Preliminary conclusions were:

  • Considering the climate (heavy intense rainfall for 8 months), the hydrogeological conditions (prevalent shallow and rapidly fluctuating water tables, permeable tropical soils), the pervasive and widespread sources of hazards (very low improved sanitation coverage), and the widespread use of highly vulnerable water points there is little evidence that simply using an arbitrary lateral spacing between hazard sources and water point of 30 – 50 m would provide effective protection for groundwater points. An alternative framework that considers vertical as well as lateral separation and the integrity of the construction and casing of the deeper water points is recommended to protect water supplies from contamination by pathogens.
  • The shallow aquifer, accessed by wells and springs, must be treated as highly vulnerable to pollution, both from diffuse sources and from localised sources. Diffuse pollution of groundwater from surface-deposited wastes including human excreta is likely to be at least as important as pollution from pit latrines and other point sources, given the low sanitation coverage in Sierra Leone.
  • Even though conditions are not optimal for pathogen survival (e.g. temperatures of >25° C), given the very highly permeable shallow tropical soil zone, and the high potential surface and subsurface loading of pathogens, it is likely that shallow water sources are at risk from pathogen pollution, particularly during periods of intense rainfall and high water table conditions.
  • Extending improved sanitation must be a high priority, in conjunction with improved vertical separation between hazard sources and water points, in order to reduce environmental contamination and provide a basis for improved public health.
  • We recommend that risk assessments of water points are undertaken for health care facilities as soon as possible including: detailed sanitary inspections of water points within the 30 – 50 m radius suggested by the Ministry of Water Resource; assessments of the construction and integrity of the water points; a wider survey of contaminant load and rapid surface / sub surface transit routes within a wider 200 m radius of water points.
  • Analysis of key water quality parameters and monitoring of water levels should be undertaken at each water point in parallel with the risk assessments. The translation of policy on water, sanitation and hygiene into implementation needs complementary research to understand key hydrogeological processes as well as barriers and failings of current practice for reducing contamination in water points. A baseline assessment of water quality status and sanitary risks for e.g. wells vs boreholes, improved vs unimproved sources in Sierra Leone is needed. Understanding the role of the tropical soil zone in the rapid migration of pollutants in the shallow subsurface, i.e. tracing rapid pathways, and quantifying residence times of shallow and deep groundwater systems are key knowledge gaps.

Photo: A well close to the community care facility at Kumala Primary School, Sierra Leone. Used with permission for the report from Enam Hoque (Oxfam).