Characterising groundwater resilience to climate change in Africa

MacDonald, Alan ORCID:; Bonsor, Helen; O Dochartaigh, Brighid; Taylor, Richard; Calow, Roger; Maurice, Lou; Lapworth, Dan ORCID: 2012 Characterising groundwater resilience to climate change in Africa. [Lecture] In: 39th IAH Congress, Niagara, Canada, 16-21 Sept 2012. (Unpublished)

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In Africa, groundwater is the major source of drinking water and its use for irrigation is forecast to increase substantially to combat growing food insecurity. Population growth will put additional pressures on the resource making it increasingly important to understand and characterise the resilience of groundwater to climate change. Here we present the results of a major project to characterise and map groundwater resilience in Africa. We offer some definitions of groundwater resilience drawing on the more established use of the term resilience in ecology and substantiated with focussed field studies. Groundwater resilience to long term (decadal) shifts in climate is governed by the available groundwater storage; resilience to shorter term (inter annual) climate shocks is also dominated by storage but is also influenced by the long term average (decadal) recharge to the groundwater system which will help the system recover more quickly. For many people the more pressing issue is the resilience of the water services dependant on groundwater rather than the actual groundwater resource itself. The research highlights the increased sustainability of improved water supplies targeted to the most productive parts of the aquifer. Therefore, for estimating the resilience of water sources to changes in climate, the aquifer permeability should be considered alongside storage and long term recharge.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Lecture)
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Cimate change, Groundwater development
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Date made live: 18 Jun 2013 13:46 +0 (UTC)

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