By Sean Furey, Skat Foundation/RWSN/UPGro
Where does wealth come from? At its most basic, it is the difference between how much you invest in a product or service and how much you get from selling it. If the difference is positive you get wealth, if it is negative then you get trouble.
For a country like Zambia, the biggest source of wealth comes from underground: copper, oil and many other minerals and metals. Every aspect of our lives, from fertilisers, to homes, to solar panels depends on what can be dug from the ground. The scale on which mining and quarrying is done varies from a single person digging a hole, to the world’s largest machines demolishing mountains. Mining is also an economic activity that stretches from the very local to the most globalised trade.
In that context, groundwater can also be seen as a mineral resource on which the wealth of a country depends, so it was great that UPGro and RWSN were invited by the University of Zambia to run a special session on hydrogeology in Africa at the International Conference on Geology, Mining, Mineral and Groundwater Resources of the Sub-Saharan Africa, held in Livingstone, Zambia, in July.
The conference was opened by the President of Zambia, HE Edgar Lungu, who stressed the importance of groundwater and mineral resources to the economy, society and environment of Zambia and Africa more widely.
He was followed by a keynote speech by UPGro Ambassador, Dr Callist Tindimugaya of the Ministry of Water & Environment Uganda who gave the 400+ audience an overview of exciting groundwater initiatives happening across Africa, in particular highlighting UPGro, GRIPP, RWSN’s work on drilling professionalisation,the Africa Groundwater Network and the re-boot of the AMCOW Africa Groundwater Commission which took place the following week in Dar es Salaam.
One of the eye-opening facts that was presented by the government during the event that more than half of electricity generated in Zambia is used by the mining industry and most of that is used for de-watering mines – pumping water out of the ground and dumping it – contaminated – into rivers. Clearly a change in mindset is needed to see groundwater as a source of wealth to be used wisely for the benefit of all, not a problem that sends money pouring down the drain.
photos: Dr Callist Tindimugaya gives a keynote presentation on Groundwater Resources Management in Sub-Saharan Africa: Status, Challenges and Prospects.
UPGro-RWSN Special Session on Hydrogeology in Africa and Drilling Professionalisation
- Urban Groundwater Quality and Quantity in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Case for Lusaka, Zambia,
Dr Daniel CW Nkhuwa – UPGro Catalyst (Mapping Groundwater Town Groundwater Quality)
- Groundwater recharge from Angola to Namibia,
Dr Christoph Lohe
- Continuous monitoring of water quality using an in situ microbial fuel cell, Dr. Sharon Velasquez Orta – UPGro Catalyst (IN-GROUND)
- Water Harvesting from Roads in Ethiopia: Techniques and Approaches,
Dr Kifle Woldearegay – UPGro Catalyst (Roads for Water)
- Africa Groundwater Atlas, Making African groundwater information more visible and accessible,
Dr Kirsty Upton (UPGro Africa GW Atlas)
- Water quality prediction mapping with the Groundwater Assessment Platform (GAP),
Dr Joel Podgorski
- Contributions to the Characterisation of the Vadose Zone for Hydrogeological and Geotechnical Applications,
Dr Matthys Dippenaar
- Introduction and overview: Water Well Drilling Professionalism in Africa,
Dr Callist Tindimugaya
- Professional Water Well Drilling in Africa: Incentives and Support,
Sean Furey (Skat, RWSN, UPGro)
- Registration of groundwater consultants in Uganda: rationale and status,
Dr Callist Tindimugaya
- Presentation on Groundwater regulation development – the Zambian case,
Eng. Levy Museteka
- A Borehole is for Life?
- Groundwater drilling regulations: What will it take to implement them?
Dr Kawawa Banda