There is the need to develop resilient agricultural water supplies as an essential first step to ensuring safe and reliable access to water by the rural poor, Ben Ampomah, Executive Secretary of the Water Resources Commission (WRC)of Ghana, has noted.
Mr Ampomah, therefore, identified groundwater has having a major role in meeting demand for increasing population in Africa, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.
He was speaking at a Stakeholder Consultation on Ensuring Safe and Reliable Groundwater Supplies for Rural Communities in Accra, last week.
The workshop, organized by BRAVE (Building Understanding of Climate Vulnerability into the Planning of Groundwater Supplies from Low Storage Aquifers) was part of efforts to ensuring sustainable groundwater supplies in sub-Saharan Africa.
The workshop aimed to initiate and expand communication between the BRAVE team and the relevant stakeholders in West Africa; identify key water resource/climate sensitive decisions for West Africa, and who will make the decisions; and identify water demand, water availability and water/land use, which will have significant implications for future water resource management and establish best routes for communication between researchers and decision makers.
Welcoming participants to the workshop, Prof. Ros Conforth, Director, Walker Institute, University of Reading, United Kingdom, urged to all stakeholders to consider the establishment of groundwater demand for the vulnerable areas in the project area, assessing the impact of climate variability on the groundwater supplies and understand the future trends in rainfall and impact on water supply.
Most poor people-- more than 500 million people in sub-Saharan Africa-- depend on farming and groundwater supplies for their livelihoods.
Groundwater supplies are considered to be more resilient to variations in rainwater levels, compared to surface water and may, therefore, provide an important water resource to help adapt to changing climate and land use.
However, evidence increasingly suggests that combined climatic and hydrogeological factors (extended periods of low rainfall in areas) in sub-Saharan Africa, where the types of underlying rocks store relatively small amounts of water, may result in inadequate supply of groundwater.
The BRAVE Project is, therefore, being implemented with the aim of building better ways to model and communicate complex environmental changes and to use that to improve long-term planning of groundwater supplies, and to provide early warning systems of groundwater shortages so that the most vulnerable communities are more resilient to drought
BRAVE is part of the UPGro (Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor) Programme which is being funded by the British Department for International Development (DfID), National Environmental Research Council (NERC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
In Ghana, in-country partners of the BRAVE Project include the WRC, National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), and University for Development Studies (UDS), Global Water Partnership (GWP) and the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research -Water Resources Institute (CSIR-WRI).
The others are the Ghana Meteorological Agency (MGA), Institute of Environment and Sanitation Studies (IESS), CARE Ghana and IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre-Ghana.
It is expected that being implemented in the context of integrated governance structures, long-term exploitation of groundwater resources will reduce the vulnerability of poor people (targeting women and children) in the VRB despite climate variability and environmental and socio-economic change.
Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)