Groundwater dependence and drought within the southern African development community

Farr, J.L.; Gumiremhete, R.; Davies, J.; Robins, N.S.. 2005 Groundwater dependence and drought within the southern African development community. In: Biennial Groundwater Conference 2005, 7-9 March 2005. 97-105. (Unpublished)

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A groundwater situation analysis of the SADC region has been undertaken as part of the World Bank GEF Programme as a basis for ensuring equitable use of groundwater resources, particularly during periods of drought, both for human needs and for sustaining ecosystems. Much of the groundwater in the region occurs in weathered crystalline rocks suitable for dispersed supply to rural communities, although there are several aquifers capable of sustaining urban demand that contribute to the supply of several major cities and towns. A number of SADC Member States, such as Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, are very dependent on groundwater, whereas the Democratic Republic of Congo is least dependent. Groundwater dependence and groundwater demand, together providing an indication of drought vulnerability, have been assessed from the availability and coverage of groundwater data, but it is very apparent that reliable and comprehensive groundwater data are major deficiencies throughout the SADC region. Few attempts have thus been made to calculate renewable groundwater resource volumes or develop optimum use of groundwater, despite the fact that susceptibility of many Member States to drought requires them to consider mitigation strategies to lessen the hardships imposed largely on their rural population. Such strategy requires long-term intervention and not short-term emergency responses, a process that is directly related to availability of comprehensive groundwater datasets. Considerable effort in groundwater assessment and monitoring and the accumulation, evaluation and dissemination of essential datasets will thus be required to maintain population livelihoods in future years when water supply is projected to be in deficit in over half of the SADC Member States.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Paper)
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Groundwater Management
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Groundwater resources, International development, Groundwater drought
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Date made live: 21 May 2012 13:12 +0 (UTC)

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