24-11-2014
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Network On Urban Groundwater Vulnerability In Africa
Implementation:
UNESCO/IHP - Division of International Hydrological Programme under the leadership of UNEP Division of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA).
Project contributors:
External Funds (UN Dev. Acc. Funds)
DEWA Contribution
UNESCO/IHP Contribution
Institutional Framework - All the technical and organizational matters concerning the implementation of the project will be under the responsibility of UNESCO in close consultation with UNEP. UNEP will, in addition to mobilizing funds for the project, undertake joint programming in preparation for activities, providing technical support to the organizatrion of the meetings, clearance for participants at the meetings, and review draft reports. UNEP's Division of Early Warning and Assessment, in close cooperation with UNESCO/IHP, will be responsible for activities.
Follow-up - UNEP and UNESCO, in cooperation with other partners (ECA,UNCHS/Habitat) will promote the use and the application of the outputs/findings generating from this project.
Project Summary:
The project on urban pollution of surficial and groundwater aquifers in Africa is a joint activity developed in collaboration between UNEP-DEWA, as the lead agency of the project and UNESCO-IHP, as partner for the implementation of the project. Furthermore, the project was realized, in collaboration with UNCHS/Habitat (UNCHS/Habitat is actually implementing a project on Water for African cities which includes six African cities) and ECA who have been involved as regional and political partners. The project was developed in response to the recommendations of the UNESCO/IHP regional workshop on mapping groundwater vulnerability held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 6-8 October 1998. The specific objectives of the project contribute to:
  • Setting up the background activities to be undertaken on urban pollution and developed as a technical framework to the embryonic network on urban groundwater vulnerability in Africa;
  • Developing methodologies for optimal monitoring of the contamination of surficial and groundwater aquifers in African urban areas;
  • Policy options for better safeguarding surficial and groundwater aquifers in African urban areas, including pollution and health problems mitigation;
  • Establishment of an early warning network for possible water supply contamination;
  • Hydrageological modeling of groundwater vulnerability in African urban areas; and
  • Capacity building development.
The project proposal supports the UNEP freshwater assessment activities in order to provide training and relevant information as well as suitable data for arid and semi-arid countries in an area of crucial importance in terms of freshwater resources management.
PROJECT OUTPUTS AND ACTIVITIES
OVERALL OUTPUTS
a) A technical report on regional groundwater quality as a tool for the optimal management of groundwater resources.
b) Reports on long-term trends in urban groundwater quality in West Africa and relate observed trends to human activities.
c) Reports on regional urban variations in groundwater quality in West Africa to be used as a basis for studying natural processes and as a reference point for the study of large scale and long-term anthropogenic impacts.
d) Technical reports on urban groundwater quality in selected West African countries with particular emphasis on drinking water on other non-potable uses.
SPECIFIC OUTPUTS
a) A set of country vulnerability maps and descriptive texts showing the nature and extent of pollution.
b) Standardized methodological guidelines for optimal monitoring of wells to serve as early warning and trend detection system for water supply contamination in seven West African countries.
c) A report on the status of urban groundwater pollution in seven (7) West African countries.
d) Regional training of technical staff on estimation of groundwater recharge and on the use of available softwares on groundwater flow and pollutant transport to be conducted.
e) A network established to monitor urban groundwater pollution in West Africa.
f) An internet based information system/database on urban groundwater quality in West Africa and a network provided to country task forces.
g) Identification of country taskforces including all the relevant experts in order to undertake the various tasks on surficial and groundwater vulnerability.
h) A Technical Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding signed among participating countries.
ASSESSMENT OF GROUNDWATER VULNERABILITY
a) Country taskforces will be established and a regional meeting will be organized in Niamey, Niger, in order to launch field studies in the selected West African countries: Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Guinea.
b) A memorandum of Understanding among participating countries will be formulated.
c) A rigorous selection of the survey areas will be undertaken.
d) Software, aerial photographs, topographical maps, computers and chemical products will be purchased for an effective assessment of groundwater vulnerability.
e) The compilation of data for the assessment of the major threats of surficial will be focused on:
  • Hydrogeological data
  • Hydrochemical data
  • Isotope data
Data on type and location of potential contamination sources.
Remote sensing data including black and white and colour aerial photographs.
Climatology data including long precipitation records, temperature, humidity, evaporation.
Hydrological data: River level and discharges (it is a requirement to use all relevant available information provided by governmental agencies, universities, research institutes and existing projects such as GEMS/Water project).
f) The regional network will be connected through internet in order to ensure, during and after the project, information and data exchange at the national and regional levels.
IDENTIFICATION OF HOT SPOTS AND MAJOR THREATS ON SURFICIAL AND GROUNDWATER AQUIFERS IN AFRICAN URBAN AREAS
a) Establish a monitoring system in each country as well as a regional database.
b) Compilation of data on physical and chemical properties of surficial and groundwater aquifers (chemical and isotope analysis of water samples from boreholes, rivers, reservoirs and lakes).
c) Compilation of data on changes in water quality and contaminants (physical and chemical characteristics, their concentration, persistence, mobility, dispersivity and cation exchange capacity).
d) Field surveys: gauging and testing operations; water sampling and analysis; monitoring of wells and boreholes.
e) Design and draw maps using aerial photographs and remote sensing surveys; identification of hot spots and major threats (scanning and digitization of cartographic maps; drawing vulnerability maps using existing softwares or Geographical Information System - GIS).
POLICY OPTIONS FOR BETTER SAFEGUARDING SURFICIAL AND GROUNDWATER AQUIFERS IN URBAN AREAS
a)Identification of critical areas which may have groundwater pollution problems.
b) Identification of human impacts in densely populated areas in order to minimize existing or potential surficial or groundwater contamination at the source.
ESTABLISHMENT OF AN EARLY WARNING NETWORK FOR POSSIBLE WATER SUPPLY CONTAMINATION
a) Organization of national seminars on education and information for planners, decision makers concerning surficial and groundwater protection and contamination.
b) Organization of national seminars on public awareness about environmental protection and groundwater protection in particular.
c) Establishment of a network of trained groundwater experts in participating institutions.
HYDROGEOLOGICAL MODELLING ON GROUNDWATER VULNERABILITY IN AFRICAN URBAN AREAS (PLANNED FOR A LATER STAGE)
a) Testing and adaptation of existing hydrogeological models.
b) Training of technical selected in the seven (7) participating countries for the use of suitable models.
d) Printing of the final vulnerability maps, drafting and printing of the final version of the project report.
PROJECT CONTRIBUTION TO OVERALL SUB-PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATION

NEEDS AND EXPECTED RESULTS
The project will contribute to the implementation of UNEP's Programme: Environmental Assessment and Reporting, and in particular its component relating to Freshwater Assessment Activities. It will also contribute to the UNESCO's International Hydrological Programe (IHP-V) Project: "Monitoring Strategies for Detecting Groundwater Quality Problems" that aims at developing methodologies for optimal monitoring of wells to serve as an early warning and trend detection system for potential contamination of vulnerable water supplies.
The proposal is within the scope of priorities of the United Nations medium term plan (1998-2001), under programme 14 (Economic and Social Development in Africa) and wider programme II (Human Settlements). It will offer a low-cost solution to developing countries in networking of expertise as well as strengthening their capacity in relation to the adverse effects of urban pollution on drinking groundwater supply in Africa.
OVERALL NEEDS
The sustainable development and use of groundwater resources must take place within the broader context of integrated water resources management. Therefore, there is an urgent need to protect both groundwater quality and quantity and to take into account the interconnection of groundwater and surface water systems. A coordinated effort is needed to define cost effective management alternatives, new technology and education programme in the area of protecting groundwater quality. The top priority in all African countries is to set-up appropriate monitoring strategies in order to define the background situation of groundwater pollution and future trends.

SPECIFIC NEEDS
There is specific need to:
  • Assess groundwater vulnerability
  • Identify hot spots and major threats on surficial and groundwater aquifers in African urban areas.
  • Establish an early warning network for possible water supply contamination.
  • Initiate a groundwater protection programme in Africa with efforts focussed on the protection of existing public water supplies.
  • Provide African institutions with the necessary powers and resources for the creation, coordination and implementation of a holistic groundwater strategy and policy.
RESULTS
A variety of approaches to groundwater protection will be developed, ranging from the enactment of protective legislation at the national level to the protection of public supply wells at the grassroots level.
The main expected results are:
  • Technical Cooperation among countries in the area which will lead to the establishment of regional network to monitor urban groundwater pollution in West Africa.
  • Policy options for better safeguarding surficial and groundwater aquifers in African urban areas, including pollution and health problems mitigation.
  • Identification and the clean-up of sources of pollution within groundwater protection areas or wellhead protection areas.
  • Reduced problems of haphazard, uncontrolled development of land and of undesirable activities which have an impact on groundwater quality.
  • Improved understanding of the processes of the inter-relationship between surface water and groundwater especially the interaction of physical, chemical and biological processes in the unsaturated zone as controlling agents in the fate of groundwater contaminants.
  • Knowledge of chemical and physical properties of surface and groundwater is also important.
  • Enhanced public involvement and development of attitudes which will contribute to the reduction of the adverse effects of human activities in the urban areas.

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