A Transboundary Aquifer (TBA) session was held during the 15th IWRA World Water Congress, which was held from 25 to 29 May 2015 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) in Edinburgh, Scotland. The titel of this session was: 'The (transboundary) Groundwater Resources of Africa - the engine to stimulate human development & environmental sustainability'.
The (transboundary) Groundwater Resources of Africa
Of all the water resources of Africa, groundwater plays a critical role in human development in particular in the rural environment, but also increasingly in the urbanised areas. Locally accessible groundwater resources if developed in a sound manner would make the livelihoods of the rural populations significantly more sustainable and addressing rising quality issues in urban areas would enhance water security and health. However, groundwater remains the invisible and neglected resource in spite of its importance.
The aquifers in Africa range in size and dimensions – in the northern part of the continent there are huge aquifers that receive no contemporary recharge, but contain a very significant quantity of resource. In the sub-Saharan region the aquifers are smaller in dimension, and some of them receive limited annual replenishment. Many socio-economic and capacity issues and constraints affect the long term opportunities, challenges and sustainability.
This session addressed a range of issues, such as:
- Hydrology and hydrogeology: monitoring, modelling and management
- Tools for facilitating the sustainable use of groundwater (e.g., managed aquifer recharge, conjunctive use, land use planning, etc.)
- Water law - issues related to groundwater resources, at local to international level
- River basin organisations and groundwater governance
- Transboundary river basins and shared aquifers – where is the common ground