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Simple methods for assessing groundwater resources in low permeability areas of Africa

By A.M. MacDonald, J. Davies and B.É. Ó Dochartaigh


In many areas throughout Africa, a staggering proportion of\ud wells and boreholes fail. Failure can occur for a number of\ud reasons – inadequate maintenance and community\ud involvement, poor engineering or a lack of water. Often it\ud can be difficult to work out the exact reason after the event.\ud \ud However, in many geological environments the impacts of\ud poorly sited and designed boreholes and wells are a major\ud concern to funding agencies, implementing institutions and\ud local communities. In such areas, good supplies of\ud groundwater cannot be found everywhere, and boreholes\ud and wells must be sited and designed carefully to make use\ud of the available groundwater. To appropriately site and\ud design water sources, the groundwater resources of an area\ud need first to be investigated to understand how water occurs\ud in the ground.\ud \ud In this manual we present some techniques that allow a\ud quick assessment of groundwater resources without\ud requiring much expertise or expense. Some of the\ud techniques are old and established while others are new.\ud However, all techniques have been tested by BGS (and\ud others) in assessing groundwater resources in Africa. This\ud manual does not claim to be a detailed textbook for\ud hydrogeologists – there are enough already (see reading list\ud at the end of the chapter). Rather it is meant as a practicalaid for those involved in the practice of rural water supply, particularly in Africa. Little training or equipment is required for the tests and they can all be carried out in a short space of time.\ud \ud The manual is divided into six sections. The first gives\ud an overview of the groundwater resources of sub-Saharan\ud Africa (SSA) and discusses the scope and detail of\ud investigations required in different geological\ud environments. The remaining chapters describe simple\ud techniques for assessing groundwater resources, from basic\ud reconnaissance to assessing the yield of a borehole. In the\ud appendix are summary sheets of the most common\ud techniques which can be photocopied and used in the field

Topics: Earth Sciences, Hydrology
Publisher: British Geological Survey
Year: 2001
OAI identifier:

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