Preliminary results from a Water Economy and Livelihoods Survey (WELS) in Nigeria and Mali, sub-Saharan Africa : investigating water security across a rainfall transect

Lapworth, D.J. ORCID:; MacDonald, A.M. ORCID:; Bonsor, H.; Tijani, M.N.; Calow, R.C.. 2011 Preliminary results from a Water Economy and Livelihoods Survey (WELS) in Nigeria and Mali, sub-Saharan Africa : investigating water security across a rainfall transect. British Geological Survey, 65pp. (OR/11/018) (Unpublished)

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A large proportion (47%) of people in sub-Saharan Africa live without access to safe water sources in rural areas (JMP, 2008). The need for sustainable development and management of water resources, particularly groundwater resources, remains a major priority, especially within the context of climate variability, population growth and pressures to increase food production (UN, 2000, Vörösmarty et al., 2000, JMP, 2008, MacDonald and Calow, 2010). In stark contrast to food scarcity, to date little systematic data collection has been done to investigate the role water scarcity has on livelihoods within rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly during droughts or periods of water stress (Calow et al., 2009). A water, livelihoods and economy survey in West Africa was conducted as part of a one year DFID-funded research programme, aimed at improving understanding of the impacts of climate change on groundwater resources and local livelihoods The main purpose of this survey was to investigate the access to and domestic use of a range of water sources (hand pumps, wells, springs, surface water sources and rainwater harvesting) within rural communities across a rainfall transect in sub-Saharan Africa. The seasonal water use and scarcity/stress patterns were investigated for rural communities, located on both sedimentary and basement settings, using community discussions and questionnaires based on a scaled down version of the WELS methodology (Coulter, 2010). Plate 1 shows a WEL survey being carried out in the Minna study area, central Nigeria. The aim of this study is to investigate seasonal access to water supplies, by gathering information on the time taken to collect water, the different sources available at different times of year (wet and dry season) and the geological and hydrogeological conditions at each community. The hypothesis is that having a greater number of groundwater dependent water supplies in a community increases overall security of water access and reduces the time taken to collect water in the dry season. A secondary aim was to test whether a slimmed down WELS methodology based on that described by Coulter and Calow (2011) can be effectively applied to give useful information.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Groundwater Science
Funders/Sponsors: NERC, DFID
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This item has been internally reviewed but not externally peer-reviewed
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, International development, Groundwater resources
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Date made live: 25 Aug 2011 10:56 +0 (UTC)

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