GroFutures: Groundwater Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sussex
Department Name: Sch of Global Studies

Abstract

Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Planned Impact

GroFutures will benefit: (1) poor water users (women and men, rural and urban) in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) through increased knowledge and evidence of sustainable groundwater use to alleviate poverty through improved resource management and enhanced health and livelihoods; (2) water planners and policy makers in SSA through the development of new evidence and methodologies to enable equitable and sustainable management of groundwater resources; and (3) research communities in SSA and beyond through creating improved new tools, methods and datasets for interdisciplinary analysis of groundwater resources and their management, as well as scholarly information exchanges and networking activities that will strengthen a growing Community of Practice involving Anglophone and Francophone scientists.

The primary pathway by which GroFutures will generate impacts for poor people is through the development of new evidence and tools which water managers in the focal countries and across SSA can use to: (1) target groundwater development where it can most effectively reduce poverty; and (2) ensure equitable and sustainable development of groundwater resources.

GroFutures will contribute to unlocking the poverty-reducing potential of groundwater in SSA by:
1) Establishing a unique Network of African Groundwater Observatories (NAGO) that will generate new evidence on groundwater availability and demand, including insights into how these are likely to change over the next two to three decades giving planners at basin, national and regional levels the information they need to plan for an equitable and sustainable allocation of groundwater for multiple users and uses;
2) Identifying locations in which groundwater development (for domestic supply or irrigation) is a technically appropriate and politically feasible strategy to reduce poverty;
3) Identifying locations at risk of future depletion due to likely demand/supply imbalances enabling appropriate management responses to be developed on a preventive rather than curative basis;
4) Providing specific information on variations in groundwater availability and demand which can carry high costs for economies and for the livelihoods of poor people and make planning and management difficult;
5) Strengthening the capacity of water planners, researchers and their institutions through the co-production of knowledge and collaborative, demand-led research and stakeholder engagement;
6) Identifying governance arrangements for pro-poor, sustainable groundwater management, in collaboration with water managers and other key stakeholders; and
7) Disseminating new evidence and knowledge on the positive outcomes of groundwater development for health and livelihoods enabling poverty alleviation.

The GroFutures team will engage staff of national, regional and local water bureaux in Ethiopia, Niger and Tanzania, as well as basin authorities (Great Ruaha, Niger) as project partners from the start in the research planning, data analysis and tool/metric development and piloting. They will also embed new scientific knowledge, models and methods for managing groundwater for poverty alleviation within water ministries to inform decision-making and initiate discussions about equity in groundwater development among relevant stakeholders.

Production and dissemination of high quality, open-source publications - in the form of academic outputs in high impact journals, as well as targeted policy briefs and other bespoke communications materials suited to different audiences - will be a central aim of the project. These will involve all members of the team and will be published in English, as well as French, Amharic, Hausa and Kiswahili, where appropriate. All materials and information will be accessible via a dedicated, bilingual website (grofutures.org) that is linked to institutional websites of the project team (AAU, BGS, IDS-STEPS, IGRAC, IRD, IWMI, SUA, UAM, UCL, UoS) and the UPGro Knowledge Broker.

Publications

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Goldin J (2021) Diamonds on the Soles of Their Feet: Groundwater Monitoring in the Hout Catchment, South Africa in Journal of Education for Sustainable Development

 
Description GroFutures research derived from inter-disciplinary research in three basins in each of Tanzania, Ethiopia and Niger found: (1) substantial increases in urban and irrigated-land areas have occurred at the expense of natural land cover; (2) access to groundwater for productive purposes is associated with improved agricultural production, reduced agricultural risk, and increased household income; and (3) stakeholders expressed a strong preference for small to medium-scale, multi-purpose groundwater development pathways that are managed municipally and a strong aversion to large-scale groundwater development pathways due largely to concerns of environmental impact and equity.



GroFutures also led a pan-African analysis of long-term piezometric records under conditions of varying aridity across 9 countries in tropical Africa that revealed a bias in groundwater replenishment to heavy rainfalls that is most pronounced in drylands and is often predictable, associated with large-scale controls on climate variability such as El Niño. Further the research highlighted the importance of focused recharge pathways in replenishing aquifers in drylands, a process that is not represented in hydrological models estimating recharge and the impacts of climate change on groundwater recharge. Detailed field research in a semi-arid environment, the Makutapora Wellfield supplying Tanzania's capital city, Dodoma, shows that groundwater replenishment is episodic, occurring primarily during heavy rain events associated with El Nino; this replenishment results primarily via leakage from ephemeral stream discharge.

URL: http://www.grofutures.org
Exploitation Route GroFutures research showing access to groundwater for productive purposes is associated with improved agricultural production and increased household income is being taken forward by AMCOW (African Ministerial Council on Water) as well as national governments to promote groundwater use to alleviate poverty and realise UN Sustainable Development Goals. Further, GroFutures research revealing a bias in groundwater replenishment to heavy rainfalls across tropical Africa, expected to increase under global warming, is being taken up through climate change adaptation plans as use of groundwater may prove a logical adaptation to climate change and projected increases in freshwater withdrawals for drinking water and irrigation.
Research under GroFutures at the Makutapora Wellfield supplying Tanzania's capital city, Dodoma, shows that groundwater replenishment is episodic and occurs primarily during heavy rain events associated with El Niño events. Further, field research also shows that it occurs primarily via leakage from ephemeral stream discharge associated with heavy rainfall events. As a consequence of this research, the Government of Tanzania with support from The World Bank has issued a tender for the development plans to explore the feasibility of enhancing wellfield replenishment through Managed Aquifer Recharge in order to improve the capacity and resilience of Dodoma's water supply.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment

URL http://www.grofutures.org
 
Description GroFutures project on groundwater recharge under changing climates has informed sustainable exploitation of groundwater for climate-resilient agriculture and water supply. At the international policy level, the African Ministers Council On Water (AMCOW) established a new pan-Africa groundwater initiative (APAGroP) to guide its 55 member states to develop, manage, and utilize groundwater resources, to assure water, food and energy security in Africa. GroFutures research "contributes centrally to this programme [and] provides the most compelling evidence to date of the resilience of groundwater to climate change in Africa" [Executive Secretary, AMCOW]. le and benchmark" . Research in the GroFutures project on groundwater recharge under changing climates has informed sustainable exploitation of groundwater for climate-resilient agriculture and water supply. At the international policy level, the African Ministers Council On Water (AMCOW) established a new pan-Africa groundwater initiative (APAGroP) to guide its 55 member states to develop, manage, and utilize groundwater resources, to assure water, food and energy security in Africa. GroFutures research "contributes centrally to this programme [and] provides the most compelling evidence to date of the resilience of groundwater to climate change in Africa" [Executive Secretary, AMCOW]. Specifically in Tanzania GroFutures Research at the Makutapora Wellfield supplying Tanzania's capital city, Dodoma, shows that groundwater replenishment is episodic and occurs primarily during heavy rain events associated with El Niño events. Further, field research also shows that it occurs primarily via leakage from ephemeral stream discharge associated with heavy rainfall events. As a consequence of this research, the Government of Tanzania with support from The World Bank has issued a tender for the development plans to explore the feasibility of enhancing wellfield replenishment through Managed Aquifer Recharge in order to improve the capacity and resilience of Dodoma's water supply. GroFutures "informed discussion in the Ministry [of Water] about the future of water supply" [Ministry of Water, Tanzania]. As a result, "the Ministry is evaluating... Managed Aquifer Recharge" for climate-resilient water management, taking advantage of "crucial... heavy rainfall [in] replenishment of groundwater" for which GroFutures provided "the rationale"
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Healthcare,Other
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description CLimate Adaptation and Resilience In Tropical drYlands (CLARITY). CLARE programme
Amount $8,000,000 (CAD)
Organisation International Development Research Centre 
Sector Public
Country Canada
Start 03/2023 
End 10/2026
 
Description Enhancing Sustainable Groundwater Use in Africa - Phase 2
Amount 90,000 kr. (DKK)
Organisation University of Copenhagen 
Sector Academic/University
Country Denmark
Start 03/2022 
End 02/2025
 
Description UN SDGs: Pathways to Achievement scheme, 2021-22 - Advancing and sustaining progress towards UN SDGs in African drylands - crossing disciplinary and international boundaries
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 556298 
Organisation University College London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2022 
End 07/2022
 
Description Water stressed cities: individual choice, access to water and pathways to resilience in sub-Saharan Africa 
Organisation Cardiff University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration between Professor Japhet Kashaigili (GroFutures co-PI @ Sokoine University of Agriculture) and Dr. Adrian Healey at Cardiff for a project titled: Water stressed cities: individual choice, access to water and pathways to resilience in sub-Saharan Africa funded by UKRI (2021-2023).
Collaborator Contribution Collaboration between Professor Japhet Kashaigili (GroFutures co-PI @ Sokoine University of Agriculture) and Dr. Adrian Healey at Cardiff for a project titled: Water stressed cities: individual choice, access to water and pathways to resilience in sub-Saharan Africa funded by UKRI (2021-2023).
Impact Multi-disciplinary collaboration (hydrogeology and behavioural science) between Professor Japhet Kashaigili (GroFutures co-PI @ Sokoine University of Agriculture) and Dr. Adrian Healey at Cardiff for a project titled: Water stressed cities: individual choice, access to water and pathways to resilience in sub-Saharan Africa funded by UKRI (2021-2023).
Start Year 2020
 
Description African Ministerial Council on Water - Africa Water and Sanitation Week 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact GroFutures led and presented in three conference sessions at the AMCOW Africa Water and Sanitation Week 2021

Under what conditions are groundwater resources resilient to climate change? (PI Taylor)
• Groundwater replenishment from flood discharges in central Tanzania: sustaining Dodoma's water supply (co-PI Kashaigili)
• Sustaining groundwater withdrawals in SE Niger from episodic flows of the transboundary River Goulbi de Maradi (co-PI Nazoumou)
• Groundwater recharge from heavy rainfall in the southwestern Lake Chad Basin: evidence from isotopic observations (co-I Goni)
Putting Groundwater on the pan-African Agenda for Resilience and Sustainable Socioeconomic Transformation (co-PIs Villholth, MacDonald)
Managed Aquifer Recharge and its role in climate change resilience in Africa (co-PI Villholth)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://amcow-online.org/events/join-amcow-at-the-world-water-week-2021
 
Description ISARM (International Shared Aquifer Resources Management) 2nd Conference - UNESCO-IHP (France) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact At the ISARM 2nd Conference, presentations were given by GroFutures Research Assistant Boukari (Niger): "Transboundary groundwater recharge in a dryland environment: evidence from the River Goulbi de Maradi Basin in Niger and Nigeria" (Boukari) and GroFutures Research Assistant Rabilou (Niger): "Groundwater discharge to the River Niger from a large paleochannel estimated from surface geophysics in the Iullemmeden Basin of Niger and Nigeria" as well as GroFutures co-PI Villholth: "Transboundary Aquifer Governance in the Context of Transfrontier Conservation Areas - An opportunity for synergy in the Southern African Development Community"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.isarm2021.org/
 
Description Nigerian Association of Hydrogeologists Annual Meeting 2021 - Katsina, Nigeria 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentations delivered by GroFutures Research Assistant Rabilou (Niger): "Groundwater discharge to the Niger River from a large Quaternary valley estimated from subsurface geophysics in the Iullemmeden Basin" and GroFutures Research Assistant Boukari (Niger): "Groundwater/Surface water relationship in the transboundary basin Goulbi de Maradi: evidence from well hydrographs, and MRS and TDEM Soundings"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://nah-nigeria.org/#/event-details/NAH-32nd-Annual-Conference-2021
 
Description Tanzania 2nd SUA (Sokoine University of Agriculture) Scientific Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation by PI Taylor delivered to policymakers and practitioners: Focused groundwater recharge to the Makutapora Wellfield of central semi-arid Tanzania: empirical evidence to inform Managed Aquifer Recharge
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.sua.ac.tz/events/2nd-sua-scientific-conference-25th-26th-may-2021