Groundwater Risk Management for Growth and Development

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Smith School of Enterprise and the Env

Abstract

Improved understanding of groundwater risks and institutional responses against competing growth and development goals is central to accelerating and sustaining Africa's development. Africa's groundwater systems are a critical but poorly understood socio-ecological system. Explosive urban growth, irrigated agricultural expansion, industrial pollution, untapped mineral wealth, rural neglect and environmental risks often converge to increase the complexity and urgency of governance challenges across Africa's groundwater systems. These Africa-wide opportunities and trade-offs are reflected in Kenya where the government's unifying Vision 2030 aims to double the irrigated agricultural area whilst simultaneously promoting the growth of high-value mineral resources. Institutional capacity to govern interactions between economic activities, water resource demands and poverty outcomes are currently constrained by insufficient knowledge and lack of effective management tools. The overarching project aim is to design, test and transfer a novel, interdisciplinary and replicable Groundwater Risk Management tool to improve governance transformations to balance economic growth, groundwater sustainability and human development trade-offs.

The project will make four major contributions to support interdisciplinary science and governance of managing groundwater risks for growth and development in Africa:
a) An automated, daily monitoring network for shallow groundwater levels - the first system of its kind in the world and replicable at scale.
b) A new Groundwater Risk Management Tool which is transferable and sustainable in Africa.
c) New epidemiological insights into the health impacts of faulty or intermittent water supplies.
d) Improved theory and evidence of groundwater governance and poverty pathways.

Planned Impact

Intended beneficiaries encompass stakeholders from government, enterprise, communities, particularly the poor, women and girls, and the international research and practitioner communities.
a) Kenya
i) Vulnerable rural water users - in the study area there are at least 60,000 rural water users served by the handpump maintenance project (ESRC). The project has three staff including two mechanics who liaise with the communities on a daily and positive basis. Given County Government support at the Ministerial level (Dr Chiguzo) we anticipate and have discussed uptake to all County handpumps (c.600-800) which would at a minimum double the total beneficiaries.

ii) Local water governance - the Water Resources User Association is a key beneficiary institution with linkages to all other WRUAs in Kenya. The project has established working relationships with District Officers (overall, water, health), chiefs, elders, school head teachers, Msambweni hospital and clinics. All are highly supportive of the project including the new County Governor who mentioned the project in his first anniversary address.

iii) Government - the Water Resource Management Authority (WRMA) has indicated the significance, support and scalability of the project in its letter of support. The Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB, responsible for rural and urban water services) works with Oxford/RFL in existing grants and will continue to translate results into national policy. Ministry of Water and Irrigation are also informed of the work. Prof Olago was former President of the Kenyan Geological Society and remains an active member.

iv) Enterprise - Base Titanium Ltd. and KISCOL have indicated their support through data sharing and collaboration. A major project workshop in Nairobi in Year two will convene major enterprises reliant on groundwater from oil and gas, mining and irrigation sectors.

iv) National and International research institutes - led by JKUAT and University of Nairobi the research will benefit the national research community in events and networking through their respective centres, WARREC and ICCA. Further, the team has established and deep relationships with the UN (UNICEF, UNDP), water-focused donors (SIDA, GIZ, DGIS) and the Water and Sanitation Program of the World Bank.

b) International
i) Oxford and UPC will mobilise global science and policy networks through senior staff (Edmunds, Bradley, Hope, Custodio, Carrera). These include IAH, UNESCO-GWADI, UNICEF-WASHnet (global), RWSN, World Bank-WSP, UKGS, etc.

ii) UPGro Knowledge Broker activities, outreach and events will be developed and build on established relationships with RWSN through Hope, which currently includes webinars, D-groups and events linked to his research group.

iii) Enterprise partnerships and collaboration will build on Dr Hope's role in the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. He co-leads the Sharing Resource Prosperity programme with Dr McElroy which has a global extractive industry network, including the International Congress of Mining and Minerals led by Ross Hamilton. This work links to DFID's Africa Extractives Adviser, Grundel Holger, who is aware of the Kwale research following a meeting with Dr Hope in February 2014. More widely, Dr Hope is actively engaged with Diageo, SABMiller and the Coca Cola company, who have major African operations relying on groundwater use.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The project is in its final year (end Jan 2019) with four key findings of particular note:

1. Geophysical analysis of the study area has revealed two palaeochannels with significant groundwater resources. Led by the University of Nairobi, this work has provided important insights to help the local government plan their future water resource strategies. The work has been done in collaboration with the national government's Water Resource Authority and has been received extremely well. Modern and traditional techniques were critical to this discovery.
2. Multi-decadal data analysis of community payments for their handpumps since the 1980s have identified through a series of journal papers new insights on sustainability (Foster and Hope, 2016, 2017; Foster et al., 2018). These include the importance for regular payment for the water from the water quality, distance to the waterpoint, productive uses of the water, such as for livestock, and higher payments in drier months. A major policy challenge from these findings is the paradox of financial sustainability and universal access to the waterpoints. Communities often ensure people pay by limiting access; we found this may lead to poorer people using unimproved sources. However, where pumps are open access they tend to take weeks or months to repair
3. Linked to 2), institutional analysis of how government, markets and communities interact has theoretically and empirically illustrated how a more integrated (pluralist) approach may support more sustainable models in the future (Koehler et al., in press). This is capture in our research influencing the 2016 Water Act's Article 94 (3) which acknowledges for the first time the role of the private sector as a partner in rural water services. Our wider work has incubated a local maintenance service provider, under the FundiFix model, with a legally registered Trust Fund. Investments by mining and agricultural companies are now supporting this company grow and rapidly fix community waterpoints for the 70 communities (>10,000 people) registered. New phases in expanding services to schools and clinics.
4. Aquifer depth monitoring techniques are being advanced as is documented in a recent paper (Colchester et al, 2017). Further work on this exciting but challenging engineering project has been supported separately by UNICEF to predict failure before it happens (condition monitoring). This work is now being considered in Bangladesh and many other countries and partners are watching to see how the Technology Readiness Level advances to hopefully a commercial phase and deployment.
Exploitation Route 1. Aquifer estimation and condition monitoring has created significant interest and could be applied in many other contexts in Africa. The deployment of 500 data loggers to Bangladesh provides an example of this but to move beyond research there needs to be wider investment. We are discussing this with the Government of Bangladesh. 2. The institutional and rural water finance work has evolved well and many other countries are actively interested in how a Trust Fund model linked to a performance-based maintenance service provider could be adapted, e.g. Uganda, Ethiopia, Bangladesh. UNICEF as a partner in this work are exploring these options in Kenya and there has been investment in some modest expansion under a USAID grant on Sustainable WASH Systems to inform future USAID programming.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://www.smithschool.ox.ac.uk/research-programmes/water-programme/
 
Description We are now in the final year of the project, and there are some preliminary impacts to report: 1. Multi-decadal and panel data analysis of rural payment behaviours and poverty profiles by the Gro for GooD project is providing evidence to inform new institutional and financial approaches for rural water service models beyond community management alone. Kenya's new Water Act, which came into force in September 2016, specifically recognises novel approaches to rural water provision (Article 94(3)), including private sector models with investment and financial plans for rural water services, marking an important shift from the exclusive emphasis on community management of water supply in Kenya. Gro for GooD researchers have met with Kenyan civil servants, lawyers and policy-makers, sharing research findings over many years to inform Article 94. It is estimated around one million poor rural Kenyans will progressively benefit from uptake of this policy change. 2. A detailed geological model of the study area in Kwale County, Kenya which will be a published output of the Gro for GooD project, has been produced using modern geophysical techniques as well as traditional geological methods and a review of over 60 years of geological literature. One of the most interesting results from this aspect of the research is evidence of two palaeochannels (filled-in and buried river channels) running NW-SE across the field area. The findings, based on geological surveys and Electrical Resistivity Tomography transects carried out by the University of Nairobi with the Kenyan Water Resources Management Authority, constitute a major step forward in understanding the geological controls on groundwater in the study area and strongly suggest that Kwale County has more plentiful groundwater resources than previously thought. The geological studies are now being used as the basis of the regional groundwater flow and transport models under development by the Gro for GooD hydrologists at the Grupo de Hidrología Subterránea at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. These findings have also informed drafting of the Kwale County Water Supply Development Master Plan (see 4.1 below). 3. School Water Clubs have been established at three secondary schools in Kwale County through an outreach programme offered by the Gro for GooD project and local partners including the BASE Titanium mine. Over 100 students have been involved so far (64 girls and 40 boys). Drawing inspiration from local fieldtrips, the students are working on group projects that they will present at an event later this year. Gro for GooD researchers have been supporting the clubs throughout their projects. As the activities and projects continue, a resource package is being developed to capture ideas and learning and the goal is to develop partnerships and networks for wider dissemination of the resource in Kenya. Club members are keen to raise awareness of water issues at school. For example, following their water testing activity, Leila Ismail, the club secretary from Shimba Hills School, reported that the Water Club recommends that the school administration should organise for water to be filtered before use and that the school kitchen should have better hygiene to reduce water contamination. Students in the club at Kingwede Girls School are motivated to bring their knowledge back home - read more about this club at: https://kingwedemaji.wordpress.com/ 4. The Gro for GooD project is establishing itself as an information resource and key partner on water supply issues at the county, national and international level. Items to evidence this include: 4.1 Through a data-sharing agreement with Egis Eau, a French consultancy firm, Gro for GooD has contributed hydrogeological and geophysical data and expertise towards the Kwale County Water Supply Master Plan, part of Kenya Water Security and Climate Resilience Program (Kenyan Government/World Bank). http://projects.worldbank.org/P145559/?lang=en&tab=overview 4.2 Gro for GooD researchers and project staff participated in WWF Water Stakeholder Platform (Nov 2016) which brought together 8 local stakeholder organisations in Kwale County to create common understanding on water management issues in Kwale and the Mkurumudzi River catchment in particular. This led to Gro for GooD researchers being asked to provide training to local WWF staff in livelihoods survey methodology to measure WWF project impacts in Kwale County. 4.3 Kenya's national Water Resource Authority mentions Gro for GooD (UPGro) as one of WRMA's projects in the National Performance Report 5 for FY2015/2016 indicating the significance of this work at the national level. https://www.wra.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/WRMA_Performance_Report_5.pdf 4.4. A data-sharing agreement with the 'Improving Sustainable Groundwater Exploration with Amended Geophysics' (ISGEAG) project (partners: Via Water, Aqua for All, Acacia Water B.V., AMREF Kenya, SamSamWater, KenGen) has been negotiated in order to contribute geophysical data to this project. The ISGEAG project aims to produce better interpreted, consistent and well-founded assessment of geophysical survey results, leading to better drilling results and a more sustainable abstraction of groundwater in Kwale County and elsewhere in Kenya. 4.5 The REACH programme (DFID-funded global research programme improving water security for the poor, also led by Rob Hope) is investigating whether it can take forward the shallow aquifer prediction work being done as part of the Gro for GooD programme in REACH observatories elsewhere in Kenya, and in Ethiopia and Bangladesh. REACH is also adapting the environmental monitoring and socio-economic survey methodology developed by the Gro for GooD project in REACH observatories 4.6 Two private meetings with Eugene Wamalwa, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Water and Irrigation have been held at which PI Dr. Rob Hope briefed the Cabinet Secretary on Gro for GooD research 5. The Environmental Monitoring Network that, it is hoped, will be a legacy of the Gro for GooD project in Kwale County is generating potentially very significant findings relating to the groundwater availability in the project area. Data from the network informs the surface and groundwater modelling that will underpin the Groundwater Risk Management Tool. The Environmental Monitoring Network was set up in consultation and close partnership with a number of local and national stakeholders. Roundtable meetings with the Water Resources Authority (WRA), the Kenyan Meteorological Service, the local Water Resource User Associations, and BASE Titanium Ltd. through 2015 and 2016 provided important inputs to the selection of monitoring sites and decisions about the frequency/methods for data collection. WRA has also played a key role in planning and conducting the geophysical transects with WRA sharing equipment and WRA staff members seconded to the Gro for GooD project to work with the University of Nairobi team. A secondary impact from this is that the joint activity has helped build the relationship between Gro for GooD and WRA and build capacity within WRA that will generate benefit beyond the life of the project.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Article in Sunday Nation (Kenya) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Article in Kenya's Sunday Nation entitled To get clean water for all, draw on the 3 streams of finance, groundwork, climate featuring interview with Johanna Koehler.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description BBC report on Aquifer depth monitoring techniques 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Media coverage: Aquifer depth monitoring techniques as documented in a recent paper (Colchester et al, 2017) have received media coverage on the BBC and have also been picked up by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39077761
 
Description Gro for GooD Newsletter March 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Gro for GooD newsletter in English and Swahili shared with participants at stakeholder workshop and during liaison with community members on fieldwork and associated activities by local partner organisations. The purpose of the newsletter is to explain the scope and purpose of the project including research activities and local partnerships to the general public and to stakeholder organisations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Gro for GooD Stakeholder Workshop March 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact On 3rd March 2017, the Gro for GooD project held a stakeholder workshop in Ukunda, Kwale County at which local organisations were provided with an update on the monitoring and modelling that will underpin the Groundwater Risk Management Tool, and how the research can contribute to county-wide planning for improved water supplies. Discussions focused on the role that local organisations could play in communicating outputs from the GWRM Tool to local communities and actions that might result from having enhanced information on risks to groundwater.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Participation in Kenya Water Week - 21-25th November 2016 
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 The inaugural Kenya Water Week was held 21-25th November 2016 in Nairobi under the theme 'From Aid to Trade: Enhancing Business Partnerships and Innovation for Sustainable Water and Sanitation provision in Africa' in which various water resource and water supply issues were explored by more than 500 international and local water sector actors from the public, private and civil society. Gro for GooD researchers Prof. Bancy Mati, Prof. John Gathenya and Mike Thomas actively engaged in the event by being presenters in various sessions including Tomorrow's Partnerships in Water Resources Management, Opportunities for Business Partnerships in Irrigation, Water Storage and Land Reclamation and Innovative and Climate Smart Irrigation, Water Storage and Land Reclamation technologies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.kenyawaterweek.org/2016-kenya-water-week-programme/
 
Description Smart handpumps - Austrian Broadcasting Corporation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact German language article on Austrian Broadcasting Corporation website
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://science.orf.at/stories/2830711/
 
Description TV interview with Patrick Thomson on ITV News 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Item on Working towards preventing famine in the future - featuring Gro for GooD researcher Patrick Thomson talking about aquifer monitoring using handpump networks.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/update/2017-03-16/working-towards-preventing-famine-in-the-future/
 
Description Talk to the Rotary Club of Diani 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Supporters
Results and Impact 20 members of the Rotary Club of Diani (businesspeople in Kwale County) were presented with findings relating to the importance of groundwater in mitigating the impacts of drought and with evidence for the need for a management plan for new water infrastructure efficacy. The talk was given on request by the club which is seeking advice about a borehole it is planning to drill for a local primary school.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description WWF Water Stakeholders Platform - 14th & 15th Nov, 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Gro for GooD project participated in WWF Water Stakeholders Platform - 14th & 15th Nov, 2016, which brought together 8 local stakeholder organisations. The goal of participating in this workshop run by WWF was to help create common understanding on water management issues in Kwale in general and Mukurumudzi river catchment in particular
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Why is there a handpump in the carpark? Seminar at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A seminar was held at the University of Oxford's School of Geography and the Environment on October 17th 2016 to reveal the purpose behind a handpump which has been installed in the carpark. The 'Smart Handpump' is part of a bold research initiative that connects novel technology, computational informatics, institutional design, sustainable finance and policy reform, to improve poor people's access to safe, reliable water. The event attracted representatives from governmental and third sector organisations and has increased awareness of a new and transferable model to achieve reliable water services in rural Africa.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.water.ox.ac.uk/why-theres-a-handpump-in-an-oxford-car-park/