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.
“Groundwater is increasingly important for Kwale’s growth and development. It is a widely available water resource of high quality and low cost. Rural communities know this well and have relied on groundwater for generations managing the resource sustainably. With increasing variability in rainfall which supplies small and large dams, groundwater provides an important alternative for new water demands from irrigated agriculture, mining or tourism.
“The Gro for GooD project – Groundwater Risk Management for Growth and Development – competed in an international research competition and was ranked in first place for the innovative and inclusive nature of the project. Working with the University of Nairobi, JKUAT and Rural Focus Ltd. in Kenya and the Polytechnic University of Barcelona in Spain (UPC), the team boasts some of Kenya’s and the world’s best scientists working on groundwater systems from hydrological, geophysical, geochemical, social and economic disciplines.
“After the Governor of Kwale County graciously opened the project in 2015 we are now delighted to share the first of regular quarterly newsletters providing updates to the people of Kwale on the progress of the project. This includes a new project office in Bomani with local staff working with all our partners. We hope you find this newsletter relevant and interesting and look forward to your feedback.”
– Dr Rob Hope
Photo: Research Team collects samples from a borehole during the first groundwater sampling campaign in Sep – Oct 2015
Patrick Thomson, from the Oxford-led UPGro project “Gro For Good”, has won the prize for the best poster at World Water Week 2015 for the work that he and colleagues at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Oxford have been doing on shallow groundwater monitoring using Smart Handpumps in Kenya. This work will continue under the UPGro Consortium phase.
A briefing note based on the information presented in the poster can be downloaded: