Continental-scale mapping of groundwater yield from basement aquifers in Africa

Macdonald, David. 2023 Continental-scale mapping of groundwater yield from basement aquifers in Africa. [Lecture] In: The 50th Congress of the International Association of Hydrogeologists, Cape Town, South Africa, 17-22 Sep 2023. (Unpublished)

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Crystalline basement underlies much of Africa, and the groundwater within the shallow, weathered layer provides reliable drinking water for many people. This resource is key in adapting to changing climate, particularly in providing reliable water for drinking and small-scale irrigation. However, this requires higher yields from boreholes than currently abstract-ed. Renewed research is required to investigate sustainable yields from this type of aquifer and how it varies spatially. Recent work on crystalline basement rocks in Africa has shown that there are a number of important geological and geomorphological controls on shallow aquifer parameters; variability of geological properties and the impact of the landscape his-tory is likely to have a strong control. Typically, the basement has experienced high metamorphic grades, which reduces intergranular porosity. Consequently, the aquifer relies on the presence of fault/ fracture zones; and the regolith’s depth and nature, which can have significantly higher porosity and permeability than the underlying bedrock. The interaction and variability of these key factors and climatic and land-use variables are likely to impact shallow aquifer productivity strongly. Here, we report on an ongoing study by UK and African scientists to understand how to represent the variability of geological, regolith and landscape factors across African crystalline basements. In tandem, a data-driven modelling approach is being used to examine these controls’ influence on groundwater yields. Continental-scale mapping of basement groundwater yield is planned, supporting those planning further aquifer development, including the growing use of solar-powered pumps

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Lecture)
Additional Keywords: IGRD, GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater
Date made live: 14 Dec 2023 10:46 +0 (UTC)

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