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)

New paper helps unravel the mysteries of groundwater recharge in Benin

A new paper entitled: Relationships between rainfall and groundwater recharge in seasonally humid Benin: a comparative analysis of long-term hydrographs in sedimentary and crystalline aquifers has been published by the GroFutures team in collaboration with the GRIBA project (Groundwater Resources In Basement rocks of Africa), Belgian NGO – PROTOS, and Via Water in the Netherlands.

Key Points:

  • Groundwater Recharge – the set of processes that govern how rainwater seeps through soils and rocks to replenish aquifers – is not well understood across much of Africa. It is important to understand because it is central to determine the sustainable use of groundwater resources;
  • The authors analyse three rare sets of long-term (19-25 years) groundwater-level observations from three different, but common, geological settings in Benin;
  • The year-to-year changes in groundwater storage correlate well with rainfall patterns, but there were big differences the relate to the type of geology:
    • In the shallow, sand aquifer as much as 40% of the rainfall becomes groundwater
    • In the deeper sandstone and weathered crystalline rocks, a much lower proportion of rainfall becomes groundwater recharge (13% and 4% respectively)
  • Recharge was found to occur on a seasonal basis; however on a daily basis the groundwater fluctuations are best explained with a threshold of 5-15 mm per day – meaning that only more intense rainfall events lead to recharge.
  • These results are consistent with the growing body of evidence that, in Sub-Saharan Africa, intensification of rainfall associated with climate change may increase groundwater recharge.
  • Because the groundwater recharge is so strongly influenced by geology, it is essential for water resource planning that good geological maps are available and used, and that investment is made into long-term groundwater monitoring of strategic aquifers.

 

GroFutures team bring rain to Niger in the dry season! (maybe…)

re-posted from GroFutures news


Speed Read:

  • Information collected through physical and social science methods was shared and discussed at the GroFutures Annual Workshop in Niger, with partners in and outside the study.
  • Open-source modelling software under FREEWAT platform was successfully piloted for ‘stress testing’ the sustainability of Groundwater Development Pathways accounting for climate and land-use change.
  • New water monitoring has been established to help manage the Iullemmeden Basin, which is shared by Niger and Nigeria

Continue reading GroFutures team bring rain to Niger in the dry season! (maybe…)

Is the Cape Town Time-bomb coming your way? Water Ministries and Operators need to do more to keep the water flowing

by Sean Furey (Skat) & Dr Anne Bousquet (GWOPA/UN-Habitat)

With water shortages in Cape Town, South Africa, hitting headlines worldwide, it was timely that the African Water Association (AfWA) convened their 19th Congress in Bamado, Mali around the theme of “Accelerating access to sanitation and water for all in Africa amidst the challenges of climate change”.

We were extremely fortunate that Dr Anne Bousquet of the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Association (GWOPA) was able to attend and present the UPGro urban groundwater  study led by Prof. Stephen Foster last year. Her presentation was entitled “Groundwater – rational use to enhance urban water security under global change” [download presentation] .

Anne reflects on the presentation and the discussion with participants: Continue reading Is the Cape Town Time-bomb coming your way? Water Ministries and Operators need to do more to keep the water flowing

Call for papers – Special Issue, African Rainfall Variability: Science and Society

Colleagues,

Prof Aondover Tarhule and I will serve as Guest Editors on a special issue of the open access journal Atmosphere (http://www.mdpi.com/journal/atmosphere) on the above timely and exciting topic.

Please find additional information on the call for papers here http://www.mdpi.com/journal/atmosphere/special_issues/precipitation_Africa_Society

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2018

We invite you to consider submitting your current, previously unpublished work to this special edition.

Special Issue Information

The Sahel-Soudano zone that spans North Africa, from Senegal to Ethiopia, has experienced pronounced climatic variability (and conflicts) for millennia. This home to 250 million people—one quarter of Africa’s population—is a fragile transition zone in environmental and human terms. From south-to-north, rainfall decreases from around 30 inches per year on average to essentially nothing. Back-to-back contrasting rain years (deficits in 2011, floods in 2012) left over 18 million people in the West African Sahel threatened by food shortages between 2012 and 2013, highlighting yet again the strong the dependence between livelihoods on rainfall in the region. Ironically (tragically, even), the stakeholders within the Sahel have less access to, and therefore use less, instrumental rainfall information for planning and management than almost anywhere else in the world. Furthermore, short-term weather and seasonal climate forecasting have limited skill for West Africa. Whilst many of the National Hydrological and Meteorological agencies are making impressive efforts to produce tailored climate forecasts for their stakeholders, most appear to be country specific.

Recognizing these constraints, this Special Issue presents the latest understanding of African rainfall variability and on-going efforts to translate this into useable information through knowledge co-production and dissemination, to assure content relevance and accuracy for intended purposes. Stakeholders must establish practical innovations to anticipate impending crises and work collaboratively across the region to share information and strengthen supporting infrastructure. Within this framework, timely access to user-relevant climate information, access to relevant and reliable forecasts, and the ability of stakeholders to act on that information through effective strategic partnerships will prove the difference between coping proactively with emerging climate challenges and perpetuating the cycle of climate triggers and crisis.

Prof. Rosalind Cornforth

Prof. Aondover Tarhule

Guest Editors

New UPGro paper calls for city planners and utilities in Africa to diversify water supply solutions

A UPGro paper has been published by Dr Jenny Grönwall (SIWI) and Dr Sampson Oduro-Kwarteng (KNUST) of the T-GroUP project, entitled “Groundwater as a strategic resource for improved resilience: a case study from peri-urban Accra”

Water insecurity is a growing concern globally, especially for developing countries, where a range of factors including urbanization are putting pressure on water provisioning systems.

The role of groundwater and aquifers in buffering the effects of climate variability is increasingly acknowledged, but it can only be fully realized with a more robust understanding of groundwater as a resource, and how use of it and dependency on it differ.

Accra, in Ghana, and its hinterland is a good example of an African city with chronic water shortages, where groundwater resources offer opportunities to improve resilience against recurring droughts and general water insecurity.

Based on a mixed-methods study of a peri-urban township, it was found that for end users, particularly poor urban households, resilience is an every-day matter of ensuring access from different sources, for different purposes, while attention to drinking water safety is falling behind.

Planners and decision makers should take their cue from how households have developed coping mechanisms by diversifying, and move away from the focus on large infrastructure and centralized water supply solutions.

Conjunctive use, managed aquifer recharge, and suitable treatment measures are vital to make groundwater a strategic resource on the urban agenda.

Download and read the open paper here

photo: Dr Grönwall

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.

Professor Yahaya Nazoumou: Groundwater central to Niger’s climate change resilience

re-posted from GroFutures

[INTERVIEWER] Dr. Mohammad Shamsudduha or “Shams”, GroFutures Project Manager: thank you Professor Nazoumou for taking the time to discuss your involvement in GroFutures and how your work in the Iullemmeden Basin is making an impact on the government policies and practices of the water resources development and management in Niger.

[INTERVIEWEE] Professor Nazoumou or “Yahaya”:  I am a Professor of Hydrogeology at the Université Abdou Moumouni de Niamey. I coordinate the IB team with IRD (France) and colleagues from Nigeria to achieve the project goals. I am also an advisor on climate change at the Ministry of Planning and Local Development and currently advise the Government of Niger on matters related to climate change so that development plans and activities can improve the resilience of communities to the impacts of climate change in Niger, in rural areas in particular.

Shams: can you please expand on your role and activities of the department?

Yahaya: Under the Climate Investment Fund, the Niger Government in coordination with the African Development Bank, the World Bank and key Nigerien stakeholders, has initiated a Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) called the Strategic Program for Climate Resilience. Niger will receive some US$110 million in grants and concessional loans from PPCR to strengthen capacity in the sectors of agriculture and livestock in Niger. These efforts also include activities strengthening the development of science informing strategies that improve resilience. These activities are aligned to GroFutures vision of establishing a Network of African Groundwater Observatories that includes the Iullemmeden Basin of Niger. Improving our understanding of climate change impacts on water resources is also a priority of the group. To make accessible global climate projections data from large global-scale climate models and to develop regional scale models will facilitate the development of climate–resilient, land and water management programmes.

Shams: I am aware that you represented the Government of Niger at meetings of the IPCC (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) in Paris (2015) and Marrakech (2016). Can you share your experiences at these high-profile meetings?

Yahaya: Yes, I am member of a Niger Government’s team on climate change. I first represented the Government of Niger in 2014 at the Lima Climate Change Conference (COP20), and then attended the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21) and Marrakech (COP22). My role in these high-profile meetings was to demonstrate how Niger seeks to achieve resilience to climate change and implement adaptation plans, and how the government programmes are trying to reach its goals in reducing climate change impacts. In 2016, as the President of the Scientific Committee, I organised a meeting in Marrakech as a side event to the Climate Change Conference to showcase Niger government’s programmes and activities in terms of climate adaptation and resilience in rural areas. In that event, the President of Niger as well as key stakeholders including international donor agencies such as World Bank and African Development Bank were present. Time for that side event was limited to an hour but within that short period key participants including myself discussed Niger Government’s experiences in the adaptation strategies for climate change. It was a good opportunity for me to mention GroFutures and how groundwater-fed irrigation can be developed in Niger where surface water is limited and highlight the greater resilience of groundwater resources to climate change.

Shams: Have there been any follow-up activities since the meeting in Marrakech?

Yahaya: Following the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech (COP22), the President of Niger asked the Ministry of Environment to develop a proposal for the Green Climate Fund. Subsequently, the World Bank has asked the Niger Government to develop a much bigger proposal integrating development, research and policy. So currently, I am working with the ministry to develop the proposal and I am taking the opportunity to link this to GroFutures.

BRAVE: New climate change forecasts for West Africa

via BRAVE Represented at the 4th PRESASS Regional Climate Outlook Forum in Accra, Ghana, May 15-19 — BRAVE

BRAVE team members Professor Ros Cornforth, Professor Aondover Tarhule, Dr Galine Yanon and Aaron Aduna attended the PRESASS Forum organised by Agrhymet Regional Centre of Niamey, the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD) and the Ghana Meteorological and Hydrological Agency.  PRESASS is a Regional Climate Outlook Forum for the Sudano-Sahelian Africa region (known by its French acronym, PRESASS: PRÉvisions climatiques Saisonnières en Afrique Soudano-Sahélienne). The PRESASS Forum provides regional, seasonal expectations for the rainy season in West Africa: May to November.

Regional Climate Outlook Forums produce consensus-based, user-relevant climate outlook products in real time in order to reduce climate-related risks and support sustainable development for the coming season in sectors of critical socioeconomic significance for the region in question.  PRESASS covers 17 countries in West and Central Africa[1] and includes collaboration with hydro-meteorological experts as well as representative from the disaster risk reduction community and Humanitarian agencies.  For more information on regional climate outlook forums click here. Continue reading BRAVE: New climate change forecasts for West Africa

BRAVE presentation at the 9th Internationale Conference on Climate Change Impacts & Adaptation

re-blogged from BRAVE

Dr Galine Yanon presented a paper at the 9th Internationale Conference on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation: communicating and collaborating for resilient solutions to climate change, at the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK April 21-22, 2017.  The conference had more than 70 participants from 26 countries.

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Dr Yanon presented the paper, Local governance of groundwater for Agriculture Livelihoods: Managing Climate change Impacts in West Africa. This paper explores how local capacity and user perceptions of vulnerability to water insecurity in the Sahel are shaped.  Research findings are supporting the BRAVE project and its partner communities in future groundwater planning for agriculture and livelihood resilience to climate change impacts.

This conference was a real opportunity to share the BRAVE project approach, methodology, and particularly the work that has been done in project communities in Ghana and Burkina Faso.  Research findings are from the scoping stage of the project.  Data collection was done in collaboration with the NGOs Partners, CARE Internationale, Ghana, Tamale office, Christian Aid Sahel in Burkina Faso, and Reseau Marp in Burkina Faso.  See Conference Presentation here.

Dr Yanon also recently participated at the International Scientific Conference on Climate Risk Management in Nairobi, April 5-9, 2017.  The conference was organized by the Kenya Red Cross in collaboration with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), with participants from government, civil society, research academia, the private sector,  and NGOs.

The message heard in this pre-scoping meeting was very clear: IPCC wants to move from a 1.0 to a 2.0 version, as this message is more relevant to, applicable to, and representative of people’s lives. This will require new voices and stakeholders to play a fundamental role in the AR6 cycle and beyond. The conclusion and recommendation of this meeting will be presented at the IPCC assessment meeting in Addis Ababa in May 2017.

Furthermore, the conference also allowed Dr Yanon to present the BRAVE project and its interdisciplinary approach as well as the Rainwatch Alliance.