New study to examine the potential of groundwater to expand irrigation and increase access to safe water in Tanzania
Groundwater beneath the land surface of Tanzania has the potential to provide year-round sources of freshwater to irrigate crops when rains fail and to supply safe drinking water at low cost. There remain, however, key questions regarding the development of this vital resource including how much groundwater can be used sustainably, what groundwater development pathways will best reduce poverty, and how use of groundwater will affect other water sources such as rivers, wetlands and lakes.
To answer these questions, scientists at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), together with the Ministry of Water and an international team of experts are embarking on a 4-year study of groundwater in Tanzania. The team which is led by Professor Japhet Kashaigili from the Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation at SUA (Morogoro) and Professor Richard Taylor of University College London (UCL) in the UK, will focus their research in the Great Ruaha River Sub-Catchment of the Rufiji Basin and the Makutapora Wellfield supplying Dodoma. Researchers at SUA will also work with experts from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, UK and International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC) in The Netherlands.
A workshop to kick off this study will be held on March 31st 2016 in Iringa and involve local key stakeholders including governamental water agencies. IGRAC will apply the "Serious Game on Groundwater Management” with the participants of the workshop on the welcome-session on March 30th. During this groundwater game session, the project team aims to obtain more information on the use of groundwater in the region and to share knowledge and bring awareness about the use of the groundwater resources. After the workshop, a 2-day field visit will follow.
This groundwater research in Tanzania is part of a multi-country study, Groundwater Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa (GroFutures), which involves comparative studies in Ethiopia, Niger and Nigeria, and is funded by the UK government under its UPGro (Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor) programme.