Pan-Africa: groundwater atlas and literature archive

A new online resource that provides an introduction to the groundwater resources of 51 African countries

The successful and sustainable development of groundwater resources in East Africa is critical to the future delivery of safe water supplies, economic growth, reliable energy and food security in the region. Demand for groundwater is likely to be exacerbated by climate change impacts on rainfall patterns and population growth, industrialisation, and socio-economic development.

The Southern African Development Community identified in their 2016 regional strategic action plan a regional desire for enhanced training and capacity building in groundwater management and water governance. Effective groundwater management requires a good understanding of hydrogeology, including access to high quality data.

A BGS team, in partnership with hydrogeologists from across Africa, have developed an online Africa Groundwater Atlas and Africa groundwater literature archive. These aim to improve access to information on the geology and hydrogeology of 51 African countries (including Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe).

The groundwater atlas provides an introduction to national groundwater resources for the 51 countries, and is a gateway to further information, while the groundwater literature archive allows users to search for country- or theme-specific groundwater literature. Together these platforms publicise expert knowledge of African groundwater and allow development professionals, scientists and governments to access this knowledge.

Hydrogeology of Ethiopia pages

This work was jointly funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), NERC and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), supported by the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH). It is part of the Unlocking the Potential for Groundwater for the Poor (UPGro) research programme.

The Africa Groundwater Atlas was formally launched in 2016 at the Seventh Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) Forum in Abidjan, Côte D'Ivoire.

Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs)

This project helps to directly address SDG-6 (clean water and sanitation). Through the wider development impact it will also help to address many other SDGs, for example:

  • SDG-1 (no poverty)
  • SDG-2 (zero hunger)
  • SDG-3 (good health and wellbeing)
  • SDG-5 (gender equality)
  • SDG-11 (sustainable cities and communities)

The approach used is coherent with the aims of SDG-17 to enhance north–south, south–south and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation (target 17.6).


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