On 2-4 February 2016, the first training workshop within the RAMOTSWA project was held at the Protea Hotel in Mahikeng, South Africa. This workshop was organised by the leading partner IWMI in collaboration with project donor USAID/RESILIM, project partners IGRAC, XRI, national governments of Botswana and South Africa as well as four universities from Botswana and South Africa.
The objective of the training workshop was to increase the capacity of the RAMOTSWA project team and stakeholders in interdisciplinary baseline assessment of transboundary aquifers, with a particular focus on the Ramotswa transboundary aquifer. In total, 41 people attended this first training workshop.
On day 1 presentations were given by representatives of the different partner organisations providing overviews of the project objectives, transboundary aquifers and their management, current knowledge of dolomite/karstic aquifers, lessons learned from the GGRETA Strampriet Transboundary Aquifer Project, the airborne geophysical survey to be carried out, etc.
IGRAC staff member Geert-Jan Nijsten described the process 'From Data to Knowledge to Governance' and presented the Ramotswa Information Management System (RIMS) which has recently been set-up to share project results (maps, data and documents) between stakeholders. The day was concluded with a visit to the Mahikeng wellfield which is crucial in the water supply of Mahikeng. The second day of the workshop was dedicated to group work on different themes:
- Hydrogeology and water resources, covering practical exercises for the estimation of groundwater storage;
- Socioeconomics and institutions, to identify physical, livelihood, environmental and institutional aspects of aquifer area; and
- Wastewater reuse and managed aquifer recharge to estimate water losses and wastewater production, and explore possibilities of managed aquifer recharge in RTA.
The 3rd day started with an early session organised by IGRAC especially for representatives of the departments of Water Affairs (Botswana) and Water and Sanitation (South Africa) who will be responsible for the management of the Ramotswa Information System, to discuss their role in the management of the system. This session was followed by group work to discuss data needs and data sources. Facilitators from each group provided feedback during the last session of the workshop. The workshop was concluded with discussions on the way forward.
One of the follow up activities of IGRAC was to conduct remote training sessions in data management of the Ramotswa Information Management System (RIMS). The training was provided to the RIMS coordinators from the Botswana Department of Water Affairs and South Africa Department of Water and Sanitation.
About RAMOTSWA Project
The project ‘Potential Role of the Transboundary Ramotswa Aquifer’ (RAMOTSWA project) focusses on one of the most important shared aquifers in the Limpopo Basin: The Ramotswa Aquifer which is shared between Botswana and South Africa. The project aims to develop a scientifically informed, integrated and participatory strategy to support equitable access to water and balancing urban and rural needs with ecosystem requirements under increased pressures on the already limited water resources: Increase in population and development, pollution of groundwater and a changing climate. In addition, the project aims to reduce climate vulnerability by promoting adaptation strategies for integrated, transboundary water resource management. See project website (hosted by IWMI) for more information: www.ramotswa.iwmi.org.