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

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

A BRAVE new approach to community climate resilience

re-posted from UPGro BRAVE

The Fifth International Conference on Climate Services (ICCS 5) is the premier global event for Climate Services Partnership in Africa.  This year’s conference will take place in Cape Town, from February 28 until March 2, 2017, and focuses on capacity building and forging connections, with a particular focus on activities and persistent challenges in Africa.
Continue reading A BRAVE new approach to community climate resilience

a BRAVE new world…now online

The UPGro Consortium project, BRAVE has launched a brand new website to show case the fantastic work that the team – led by Reading University, in the UK is doing. BRAVE, or to use its more descriptive-but-not-so-catchy name: “Building understanding of climate variability and environmental change into planning of groundwater supplies from low storage aquifers in Africa” is focusing research on aquifers in Ghana and Burkina Faso.

The big idea behind BRAVE is  that we can build better ways to model and communicate the complex environmental changes in the Sahel region of West Africa and use that to improve the long term planning of groundwater supplies and provide early warnings of groundwater shortages so that the most vulnerable families and communities are more resilient to drought.

The team held their 2017 Annual General Meeting between 24 – 26 January and you can find full details on the new website, so be BRAVE and dive in!

Presentations:

introducing-upgro-brave_2017-brave-agm

understanding-vulnerability_brave-wp1

understanding-policy-context-and-changing-socio-ecological-environment_brave-wp2

improved-understanding-of-groundwater_brave-wp3

improved-strategic-planning-and-adaptive-capacity_brave-wp4

african-groundwater_brave-2017-agm

With no access to piped water, residents of Accra meet their own water needs. Here’s how.

re-blogged from SIWI: http://www.siwi.org/news/siwi-explores-complexities-of-groundwater-governance-in-peri-urban-accra-ghana/

Low accountability and complex governance landscape complicate understanding of reliance on groundwater in peri-urban Accra, Ghana, finds article by SIWI’s Dr. Jenny Grönwall.

Poor urban dwellers tend to be disadvantaged in terms of public service delivery, often relying instead on groundwater through self-supply, but their specific needs and opportunities—and own level of responsibility—are seldom on the agenda. The Greater Accra Region of Ghana and the country as a whole serve to illustrate many interconnected aspects of urbanization, inadequate service provision, peri-urban dwellers’ conditions, private actors’ involvement and user preferences for packaged water.

Based on interviews and a household survey covering 300 respondents, this case study aims to provide insights into the water-related practices and preferences of residents in the peri-urban, largely unplanned township of Dodowa on the Accra Plains in Ghana and to discuss implications of low accountability and a complex governance landscape on the understanding of reliance on groundwater.

Self-sufficient from wells and boreholes until a distribution network expansion, Dodowa residents today take a “combinator approach” to access water from different sources. The findings suggest that piped water supplies just over half the population, while the District Assembly and individuals add ever-more groundwater abstraction points. Sachet water completes the picture of a low-income area that is comparatively well off in terms of water access. However, with parallel bodies tasked with water provisioning and governance, the reliance on wells and boreholes among poor (peri-) urban users has for long been lost in aggregate statistics, making those accountable unresponsive to strategic planning requirements for groundwater as a resource, and to those using it.

Dr. Jenny Grönwall, Programme Manager, SIWI, forms part of the T-GroUP consortium led by UNESCO-IHE and funded by the research programme Unlocking the potential of groundwater for the poor in Sub-Saharan Africa (UPGro). The project focuses on parts of Kampala (Uganda), Arusha (Tanzania), and Accra (Ghana) as examples of growing mixed urban areas in Sub-Saharan Africa, including poor people in slums, who depend on groundwater.

Self-supply and accountability: to govern or not to govern groundwater for the (peri-) urban poor in Accra, Ghana. Available with Open Access from Environmental Earth Sciences, 75(16), 1-10.

My experience of Life in Dodowa and the T-group Project

By: Alimamy Kolipha Kamara from T-group.science

al1

Yes, it was a period of intensive fieldwork which included the daunting task of collecting, transporting, and concentrating huge volumes of groundwater samples, inspecting sanitary facilities, etc., but life in Dodowa and the project house at Salem left a balanced memory between fieldwork and the social interaction that was needed.

Continue reading My experience of Life in Dodowa and the T-group Project

Finalising Obed’s fieldwork in Dodowa

By:  Obed Minkah

Final fieldwork activities in Dodowa included the establishment of monitoring network which consist of 40 wells to monitor groundwater fluctuation and to help us determine the groundwater flow direction. In order to know the groundwater flow direction, the monitoring wells were levelled to each other using a total station. It was daunting task to level wells scattered on about a 13.5kmsq area but the task was done within 3 days with support from my colleagues (Isaac and Eric) from The Hydrological Services Department. The water levels of these wells were also measured weekly to know the groundwater levels change over time and from the monitoring it was observed that water levels in the wells were decreasing gradually over the course of fieldwork.

 

Obed working during the levelling of the monitoring wells
Continue reading Finalising Obed’s fieldwork in Dodowa

Exploring cases of community participation in (ground)water governance in Dodowa

By: Shona Jenkins (from t-group.science)

By the end of February, I will have spent 3 weeks conducting interviews with community members, community leaders and representatives from the local government across 11 communities in Dodowa. Throughout the interview process, I have attempted to better understand the water reality in each community: what sources of water are used and for what purpose(s) and how this impacts their day-to-day lives. As the interviews progress, I have tried to identify pressing problems in each community, which sometimes includes access to water and quality of water, but is not always the most pressing issue identified. As the interviews conclude, I have tried to gain a better understanding of whom community members look to for solutions to pressing community issues and I have tried to identify both formal and informal actors in each community who are critical in undertaking any community improvement project.

Continue reading Exploring cases of community participation in (ground)water governance in Dodowa

BRAVE project holds workshop on groundwater for the poor

Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney) on www.ghana.gov.gh

There is the need to develop resilient agricultural water supplies as an essential first step to ensuring safe and reliable access to water by the rural poor, Ben Ampomah, Executive Secretary of the Water Resources Commission (WRC) of Ghana, has noted.

Mr Ampomah, therefore, identified groundwater has having a major role in meeting demand for increasing population in Africa, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.

Continue reading BRAVE project holds workshop on groundwater for the poor

Research: Is climate change making groundwater supplies in Sub-Saharan Africa less reliable?

source: University of Reading blog

Over 500 million people in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) depend upon groundwater supplies, and this is set to rise dramatically. Safe and reliable access to water for the rural poor is a critical factor when reducing the proportion of people living in extreme poverty. As the majority of poor people in Africa depend upon farming for their livelihoods, developing resilient agricultural water supplies is an essential first step.  Groundwater could provide a solution to this as there is the potential to tap into huge groundwater ‘reservoirs’ under the Sahel to provide water  (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17775211).

Continue reading Research: Is climate change making groundwater supplies in Sub-Saharan Africa less reliable?