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Supporting groundwater management in Southern Africa

Supporting groundwater management in Southern Africa

Field work as part of 1st training for young professionals

In recent years IGRAC has been very active in Southern Africa. After contributing to the assessment of the Stampriet Transboundary Aquifer System and bringing the SADC Hydrogeological Map back on-line, IGRAC is currently engaged in 2 regional projects, SADC-GWdataCoM and RAMOTSWA, both supporting sustainable management of groundwater resources in SADC and IGRAC co-organised the 1st SADC Groundwater Conference. 

SADC-GWdataCoM

IGRAC is leading the project Capacity Building on Groundwater Data Collection and Management for SADC Member States (SADC-GWdataCoM), financed by the Southern African Development Community Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI) and executed together with the Institute of Groundwater Studies (IGS) from the University of the Free State, in South Africa. 

An Inventory of the current state of groundwater data collection and data management in SADC was made through a literature review and interviews in 12 countries, with nearly 150 professionals engaged in groundwater management. The inventory resulted in a gap analyses and recommendations to address the gaps in groundwater data collection and management. It also formed the basis for the capacity building component.

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Young professionals of an assignment
Young professionals of an assignment

In total, 26 young professionals from Member States were provided an opportunity to take part in the capacity building component of the project. Under the supervision of the IGRAC/IGS team, the young professionals worked on two assignments contributing to the project. They also took part in 2 training courses / workshops. The courses and assignments contributed to developing their skills and to sensitize them on many aspects of groundwater data collection and data management. It also allowed them to build up their own international network of young groundwater professionals.

Currently IGRAC and IGS are developing a Framework for groundwater data collection and management in SADC, which will be a document to assist and guide the Member States to improve groundwater data collection and management at national, transboundary and regional levels.

1st SADC Groundwater Conference

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Group photo during 1st SADC Groundwater Conference
Group photo during 1st SADC Groundwater Conference

In September, the 1st annual SADC Groundwater Conference was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The theme of the conference, organised by the SADC Groundwater Management Institute, was: 'Adapting to climate change in the SADC region through water security - A focus on groundwater'. IGRAC was involved as co-organising partner, gave several presentations, facilitated panel discussions and hosted a contest for most promising young groundwater professional. 

RAMOTSWA

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September workshop in Pretoria
September workshop in Pretoria

The RAMOTSWA project aims at a joint and integrated management of groundwater resources in the Ramotswa transboundary aquifer area, shared by Botswana and South Africa. The project started in 2015 and is now in its 2nd phase. It is financed by USAID and led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

IGRAC is involved several activities, the main one being the coordination of the exchange of information between the countries via the Ramotswa Information Management System (RIMS). In September, IGRAC organised an additional course in Pretoria, South Africa, to train the country representatives on QGIS, a free and open-source GIS software program, and the RIMS.