Special focus on groundwater in Western Africa

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In 2020, IGRAC was also active in Western Africa. IGRAC has been involved in the groundwater for refugees project in Burkina Faso, has joined a regional working group to develop transboundary cooperation in the Senegal-Mauritanian Aquifer Basin, and has led the production of a map of groundwater challenges in fast growing cities as part of the WHYMAP programme.

Groundwater for refugees

Groundwater is often the main available source of water to supply refugee camps and other humanitarian activities. Since January 2020, IGRAC, UNHCR and the University of Neuchâtel have intensified cooperation, resulting in the groundwater for refugees project that is focusing on a pilot area in North Burkina Faso close to the border with Mali. In addition to a remote-sensing based hydro-geomorphological analysis, various proxy parameters were tested for their possible role in assessment of groundwater potential at the local scale.  

Senegal-Mauritania Aquifer Basin (SMAB)

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Senegal river and the city of Saint Louis, Senegal. by: Robnaw

In June 2020, IGRAC joined a regional working group aiming at developing transboundary cooperation on groundwater resources in the Senegalo-Mauritanian Aquifer Basin (SMAB). The regional working group is made up by representatives of the 4 riparian states (Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal) and the two River Basin Organizations (OMVG and OMVS). It is supported by UNECE and the Geneva Water Hub. During the summer, IGRAC contributed to several assessment reports, including an assessment of groundwater management capacities in the countries and an assessment of available groundwater data.  Two meetings were organized in October 2020 and November, where the countries and the RBOs could agree on the objectives of transboundary cooperation and the activities to reach these objectives.

WHYMAP

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WHYMAP

As part of the WHYMAP programme, regional hydrogeological maps are being produced in support of regional groundwater policy and management in Western Africa. IGRAC is leading the production of a map capturing the challenges related to groundwater supply and protection in fast-growing cities.  Data have been collected during an extensive literature review and consultations with national experts from the region. This map advocates for groundwater management solutions. The map will be finalized in the first quarter of 2021.