Connect4 water resilience: connecting water resources, communities, drought and flood hazards, and governance across 4 countries in the Limpopo basin

Lead Research Organisation: University of Aberdeen
Department Name: School of Geosciences

Abstract

The 'CONNECT4 water resilience' project brings together a multidisciplinary team of hydrologists and sociologists from academia, policy and practice in the UK, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to investigate the physical and societal factors affecting vulnerability and resilience to drought and floods in 4 countries of the Limpopo River Basin (LRB). The research will provide a better understanding of the connectivity within and between physical and social aspects of vulnerability to improve societal preparedness and resilience to flood and drought hazards in arid Sub-Saharan regions.

The LRB is an arid, water-stressed basin, yet with high susceptibility to floods. It encompasses a large diversity of physical and socio-economical characteristics spread across four countries (Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique). Floods and droughts have been shown to exacerbate water availability and quality problems and are predicted to increase in frequency and magnitude.

We will focus on the challenges and opportunities during floods following droughts in the LRB, when aquifers and communities are already under stress, and when appropriate flood management could improve short term coping mechanisms and long-term resilience for future dry seasons. We will explore to what extent geographical differences between sub-regions influence how water resources respond to, and how people cope with floods and droughts in order to inform appropriate water management strategies at various scales (local to transnational).

The research will articulate around three integrated workpackages (WP).

WP1 will assess basin-scale hydrological connectivity, i.e. how droughts and floods propagate in space and time under varying physical conditions (hydrometeorology, physiography, geology, groundwater-surface water interactions), with a focus on how the hydrological response of a specific sub-region influences or is influenced by other regions. This will be achieved though implementation of a basin-scale groundwater-surface water modelling approach and based on existing datasets, in part collected by the project team. Outputs will aid to improve transnational flood and drought monitoring networks and update susceptibility mapping.

WP2 will assess the basin-scale social connectivity, i.e. how drought-flood cycles are understood, anticipated and worked with by local communities and how these communities interact with governance institutions. This will be achieved by carrying out interviews with diverse community groups and with key community-government intermediaries such as extension officers and catchment management fora. Outputs will contribute to understanding how drought/flood risk is perceived by communities and to develop better communication.

WP3 will integrate WP1 and WP2 and will work on the connectivity between social and hydrological systems. It will connect our understanding of multiscale hydrological processes underlying alternating droughts and floods with water resource and risk management, and societal preparedness pathways. This aims to co-create management solutions to reduce impacts and increase benefits of drought-flood cycles throughout the LRB. It will use an iterative, co-production process to strengthen crucial bridges between scientists and water management stakeholders on the appropriate scale(s).

Research outputs will impact (1) people in the LRB and arid regions through enhanced awareness and preparedness to flood and droughts, leading to increased resilience; (2) local and regional authorities via improved hydrological monitoring networks and a strengthened connection from local to transnational levels of governance; (3) general public through public engagement activities; (4) international academics via publications and socio-hydrological datasets on public databases, training of African under- and postgraduate students and development of early career researchers.

Planned Impact

This project will have various socio-economic impacts on several groups of beneficiaries:

1-Inhabitants of Southern Africa arid regions: On the short term, local people will enhance their awareness of the issues surrounding water resources and disasters and improve their preparedness to the impacts of floods and droughts. This will be achieved through various interactions with people during the community surveys and the fieldwork activities. On the mid to long-term, wider impact on people from arid regions will be achieved by contributing to increased knowledge of and preparedness to extreme drought/flood events, increased resilience and more sustainable provision of safe water, hence an overall improvement of well-being.

2-Local and regional authorities (governance) in the Limpopo basin: The project will provide capacity building and contribute to improved governance and policy through an evidence-base from both local knowledge and model scenarios. This will inform improved hydrological monitoring networks through the identification of intra-basin areas most vulnerable to floods and droughts, which will contribute to increased preparedness. Impact on the LRB water governance sector will be achieved through their extensive engagement in 1/the local governance interviews (WP2), 2/the community and governance workshops with management scenario simulation (WP3) and 3/the final trans-boundary workshop (WP3).

3-NGOs and Humanitarian response agencies: The improved understanding of extreme events and their impacts across different, connected physical and social geographical regions will also directly feed into ongoing forecasting and emergency response planning. This will be achieved through collaboration with NGO Dabane and Red Cross.

4-UK and African development and cooperation agencies: Agencies such as the UK Department For International Development DFID/UKAid, the Southern African Development Community SADC and LIMCOM will be impacted by gaining new insights on challenges in flood and drought preparedness and water sustainability in arid vulnerable regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. Impact will be facilitated with the collaboration and research synergies with our partner WRC that has close collaboration with these agencies.

5-Undergraduate and postgraduate students in Botswana and the UK: The research will contribute to directly inspiring and training BSc and MSc students from the African Co-Is. through involvement in field research activities which will benefit their career progression. The student community in the UK and African institutions will also be impacted by integration of the key findings into lectures and dissertation projects.

6-Early career researchers in Southern Africa and the UK: The early career researchers from the project CoI team, through work package coordination, contribution to design and delivery of the research, supervision of MSc and BSc students will develop their leadership skills and portfolio.

7-The general public: We will raise public awareness on how water resources and societal resilience are connected and related to climate variability and extremes, through the project website, regional/local media, non-academic publications and contribution to University public engagement events in Aberdeen.
 
Description BIUST Department of Earth and Environmental Science: Internal Grant for purchase of sediment coring equipment for Connect4WR by Dr F Franchi
Amount $5,000 (USD)
Organisation The Botswana International University of Science & Technology 
Sector Academic/University
Country Botswana
Start 08/2019 
End 08/2019
 
Description IAS Institutional Grant: purchase of coring equipment to Dr. E. Massuanganhe (Eduardo Mondlane University) in collaboration with Dr. F. Franchi (BIUST).
Amount € 10,000 (EUR)
Organisation International Association of Sedimentologists 
Sector Learned Society
Country Belgium
Start 01/2020 
End 01/2020
 
Description PhD scholarship in Hydrogeology Mr Oluwaseun Olabode
Amount £63,666,625 (NGN)
Organisation TETFund 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Nigeria
Start 01/2020 
End 01/2023
 
Title Focus groups schedules standardised for application across the Limpopo River Basin 
Description We developed focus groups schedules unique to the project to enable discussion with different groups of water users (e.g. arable farmers, domestic water users) across the Limpopo basin's four countries to cover topics of historical droughts and floods, and responses to those; water management practices; sources, availability and uptake of forecasting information; and relationships with upstream and downstream communities. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact None yet. 
 
Title multisector multiscale collaborative hydrological modelling approach 
Description Connect4WR is developing a novel multisector and multiscale collaborative water resources modelling approach to co-create management solutions to reduce impacts and increase benefits of drought-flood cycles throughout the LRB. 
Type Of Material Model of mechanisms or symptoms - non-mammalian in vivo 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Development in progress - no impact yet. 
 
Title EIDC open-access dataset on flood sediment records 
Description Data resource title: Sediment records of the 2016-2017 flood from Notwane dam, Upper Limpopo basin, Botswana. NERC Environmental Information Data Centre. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact No known impact yet as dataset was only published on 2019-11-18. 
URL https://catalogue.ceh.ac.uk/documents/022b3fff-55d7-46f5-b11f-2f7366e508b0
 
Title EIDC open-access dataset on water quality 
Description Data resource title: Water resources quality data following extreme rainfall and floods in the Gaborone catchment, Upper Limpopo basin, Botswana. Deposit reference: EIDCHELP-27509. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact No impact yet as dataset will be open-access from EIDC on 1/6/19 following a 3 month embargo. 
URL https://catalogue.ceh.ac.uk/documents/c7793128-1961-45d5-aa18-5f023116784b
 
Title Water and disaster management stakeholder map of the Limpo River basin 
Description A non-exhaustive draft database of key stakeholders for water governance, drought and flood management for Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa has been produced with an summary of specific responsibilities for each. In Botswana, 9 stakeholders have been mapped; 16 in Zimbabwe; 7 in Mozambique; and 10 in South Africa. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact None yet. Work in progress. 
 
Description Collaboration with University of Insubria (Italy): Characterization of dam sediments records of drought and flood cycles in South Africa 
Organisation University of Insubria
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Field training of MSc student from University of Insubria, Mr. Florian Pasqualotto, to dam sediment coring/sampling.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of field assistance by MSc student from University of Insubria, Mr. Florian Pasqualotto, for dam sediment coring/sampling.
Impact Samples cores and of sediments from two dams in South Africa. Sample analysis in progress.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration with Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium): Integrated groundwater-surface water numerical modelling 
Organisation Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Country Belgium 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Ongoing collaboration with Department of Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium on the coupling of large-scale groundwater models with flood-inundation/return-flow surface water models.
Collaborator Contribution Ongoing collaboration with Department of Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium on the coupling of large-scale groundwater models with flood-inundation/return-flow surface water models.
Impact Research in progress and at early stage - no output yet.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration with the National University of Science and Technology of Zimbabwe: Characterization of dam sediments records of drought and flood cycles in Zimbabwe 
Organisation National University of Science and Technology
Country Zimbabwe 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have established links with NUST as part of Connect4WR project as we were searching for local academic experts in hydrology and water resources to engage in the research. Through their involvement in some of the fieldwork activities (MSc student Mr. Pardington Job Mukombwe) and stakeholder workshops NUST research are gaining training in interdisciplinary research and stakeholder engagement.
Collaborator Contribution NUST partners strongly facilitated fieldwork planning and completion (dam sediment surveys, including assistance from NUST MSc student Mr. Pardington Job Mukombwe) and Zimbabwe stakholder engagement (water governance and communities).
Impact Completion of dam sediment coring and sediment infiltration tests for 2 dams (Zhovhe and Ripple Creek) - data currently being analysed (Feb 2020)
Start Year 2019
 
Description Collaboration with the Southern African Development Community-Groundwater Management Institute - sharing of groundwater data 
Organisation Southern African Development Community
Country Botswana 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution An agreement of data sharing/exchange has been set up between the University of Aberdeen and SADC-GMI in Jan 2020 with respect to access and input groundwater data from/in the SADC-GMI groundwater portal.
Collaborator Contribution An agreement of data sharing/exchange has been set up between the University of Aberdeen and SADC-GMI in Jan 2020 with respect to access and input groundwater data from/in the SADC-GMI groundwater portal.
Impact No outputs yet.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Blog post and Tweet: Collecting sediment cores in the Limpopo by F Franchi 29/7/19 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Tweet of blog post was liked and retweeted by primarily academic researchers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://connect4wr.wordpress.com/2019/07/29/collecting-sediment-cores-in-the-limpopo/
 
Description Blog post and Tweet: Connect4WR Kick-off meeting, Feb 2019, Maputo, Mozambique by JC Comte 7/3/19 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Tweet of blog post was liked and retweeted by primarily academic researchers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://connect4wr.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/kick-off-meeting-2019/
 
Description Blog post and Tweet: Connect4wr researchers are surveying a drought-impacted community in Massingir, Mozambique by L Artur 14/1/20 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Tweet of blog post was liked and retweeted by primarily academic researchers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://connect4wr.wordpress.com/2020/01/14/connect4wr-researchers-are-surveying-a-drought-impacted-...
 
Description Blog post and Tweet: Part 2 the dams of Zimbabwe, by F Franchi 21/11/19 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Tweet of blog post was liked and retweeted by primarily academic researchers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://connect4wr.wordpress.com/2019/11/21/part-2-the-dams-of-zimbabwe/
 
Description Communities focus group discussion in Botswana (1 communities) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Five focus group discussions have been carried out in 2019 one communities of the Botswana part of the Limpopo river basin: 5 focus groups in the Maunatlala area, reaching around 30 people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Communities focus group discussion in Mozambique (2 communities) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Seven focus group discussions have been carried out in 2019 accross two communities of the Mozambique part of the Limpopo river basin: 3 in Bingo area (30 people altogether) and 4 in Mukatine area (37 people).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Communities focus group discussion in Zimbabwe (2 communities) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Eight focus group discussions have been carried out in 2019 accross two communities of the Zimbabwe part of the Limpopo river basin: 3 focus groups in Mazunga area (27 people) and 5 focus groups in Ndambe area (50 people).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Communities focus group discussions in South Africa (3 communities) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Twelve focus group discussions have been carried out in 2019 accross thee communities of the South African part of the Limpopo river basin: Tshipise (4 groups), Mukovhawabale Tshipise (4 groups), and Gumbu Tshipise (4 groups).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Inivted seminar at Arizona State University, 6 Nov 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr A Van Loon gave an invited seminar and discussion at the Department of Environmental Engineering at Arizona State University, USA on 6 Nov 2019 where she presented her research on droughts including the Connect4WR project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Invited seminar at Leicester University, 30 Jan 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr A Van Loon gave an invited seminar and discussion at the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment at Leicester University on 30 Jan 2019 where she presented her research on droughts including the then starting Connect4WR project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Invited seminar at Reading University, 4 Dec 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr A Van Loon gave an invited seminar and discussion at the School of Geography & Environmental Sciences at Reading University on 4 Dec 2018 where she presented her research on droughts including the then just starting Connect4WR project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Participation to joint stakeholder workshop of Tuli-Karoo project "Conjunctive Surface-Groundwater Management of SADC's Shared Waters: Generating Principles through Fit-for-Purpose Practice (Tuli Karoo Project)" (2-4 October 2019, Francistown, Botswana) promoted by SADC-GMI in collaboration with LIMCOM. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation of the Connect4WR project and discussion of furture collaboration and synergy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://conjunctivecooperation.iwmi.org/events/joint-stakeholder-workshop-tuli-karoo-system-transboun...
 
Description Project researcher and stakeholder kick-off meeting, Eduardo Modlane University, Maputo, 19-20 Feb 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The researcher & stakeholder meeting as part of the project kick-off meeting involved a range of academic and non academic stakeholders. The involvement in particular of water resources officers from the Botswana Department of Water Affairs and the Mozambique Directorate of Water Resources Management and Water Supply and Sanitation along with NGOs OXFAM Mozambique, the Mozambique and German Red Cross, and the (Zimbabwe) Water Resource Commission fostered very useful discussions on how to fine tune the implementation of research activities and the production of research outputs in order to be easily integrated by them for policy making in relation to management of water resources and flood & droughts related issues in the Limpopo river basin. The meeting also strengthened the collaboration with the stakeholders.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://connect4wr.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/kick-off-meeting-2019/
 
Description Red Cross 510 Discussion, 18 Feb 2020, The Netherlands 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Dr A Van Loon took part to a meeting with Red Cross 510 where she presented ongoing Connect4WR project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description SHEAR Catalyst Grants Kick-Off Meeting, London, 13 Nov 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The event brought together all SHEAR Catalyst PIs to officially lauch the project and establish possible collaboration/synergies between project. The kick-off also involved representative of the funding bodies (NERC, DFID), SHEAR knowledge brokers and SHEAR large consorttium projects. Dr JC Comte (and other catalyst project PIs) made a presentation of Connect4WR project, team, methods, planning and expected outcomes. The event resulted in collaboration with other project such as Fathum (who took part to the subsequent Connect4WR kick off meeting in Maputo and HyFlood who collaborated in a top-up funding application for Intergration & Engagement activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description SHEAR annual meeting, Kings College London, Sep 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact CoI Z Bharucha participated to discussion at the SHEAR annual meeting. The meeting was held at King's College London on the 10th and 11th September 2019. A total of 55 delegates from the four main research consortia, the catalyst grants, integration and innovation projects, and the SHEAR studentship cohort (SSC) participated in a range of presentations, panel discussions, posters and breakout sessions to share their learning and identify opportunities for collaboration. The meeting focussed on the theme of progress towards forecasting of natural hazards in Asia and Africa.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019