Groundwater supply and demand from southern Africa's crystalline basement aquifer: evidence from Malawi

Robins, Nick; Davies, Jeffrey; Farr, John. 2013 Groundwater supply and demand from southern Africa's crystalline basement aquifer: evidence from Malawi. Hydrogeology Journal, 21 (4). 905-917.

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Failure of borehole sources in weathered and fractured crystalline basement aquifers in Malawi in southern Africa has been linked with poor borehole design, mechanical failure and badly sited boreholes. However, recent work in Malawi indicates that demand may now exceed long-term resource potential in some places and that this is also a cause of water point failure. An 11-year climate cycle (including a wet and dry period) necessitates overdraft from groundwater storage during the dry-cycle years before episodic rainfall events in the wetter part of the cycle again recharge the aquifers. Data, particularly groundwater hydrograph data, are sparse, but sufficient to evaluate the long-term renewable groundwater potential for both fractured and weathered basementaquifer types in each of the 15 management areas in Malawi. The groundwater potential or long-term renewable resource (recharge) is given by the sum of Darcian throughflow and dry-season depletion of storage. Estimated rural demand exceeds the renewable resource in the fractured-rock aquifer in two management units and in the weathered-rock aquifer in two other units. Although there is inherent uncertainty in the water-balance estimates, the likelihood that rural demand is exceeding longterm average recharge in some areas is cause for concern.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 14312174
Additional Keywords: Malawi, Crystalline rocks, Groundwater development, Groundwater recharge, Over-abstraction, GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, International development
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Related URLs:
Date made live: 07 Jun 2013 12:27 +0 (UTC)

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