UPGro programme 2013 - 2020
An overview of this successful research programme including illuminating videos
Southern Africa, Eastern Africa, Central Africa, Western Africa

Recently, the UPGro programme was closed and that marked the end of seven years of groundwater research, with special focus on Africa. The programme brought together researchers, citizens, governments, the private sector and NGO’s, representing over 50 organisations from Africa and beyond, with the aim to improve the efficient use of great potential Africa’s aquifers have to offer. 

Maria Olivera on her porch in Tooleville, about an hour south-east of Fresno. Photograph: Talia Herman/The Guardian
Years of pumping, drought and a thirsty agriculture industry have taken a heavy toll on the water supply – and new plans are leaving vulnerable residents behind
North America

Source: The Guardian. Written by: Susie Cagle.
When Carolina Garcia’s well began pumping sand and air instead of water in 2016, she didn’t know where to turn. The Garcias had been living in Tombstone Territory, a quiet four-street community in California’s San Joaquin Valley, for 10 years. In the middle of the state’s historic drought, many of the farms surrounding Tombstone Territory had installed new wells and deepened existing ones. Despite being just two miles from the Kings river, Tombstone was drying up.

Charvak Reservoir, Uzbekistan
A case study of the Pretashkent Transboundary Aquifer
Central Asia

Due to climate change and increased human impact, water use and protection have become one of the major regional issues in Central Asia. As availability of surface water is decreasing and becoming erratic, the reliance and pressure on groundwater resources are continuously growing. That is also a case with the Pretashkent Transboundary Aquifer (PTBA), located between the Republic of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Superstition Mountains Recharge Project - photo courtesy of CAP.jpg
Groundwater recharge is the latest wave in water security - though challenges remain.

Actively moving water underground, a practice known as managed aquifer recharge (MAR), is increasingly popular today. There are about 1,200 managed aquifer recharge projects in 62 countries, according to the IGRAC based in Delft, the Netherlands. In addition to helping manage water over- and under-supplies, MAR can be used to restore depleted aquifers, rehabilitate ecosystems and cleanse polluted water. But there are challenges as well.

The benefits and challenges

Although the first solar pumps were introduced already in the late 1970’s, it took about 40 years before they became increasingly popular and used for groundwater pumping. What geared this sudden development and what are the main benefits and challenges of solar pumping? 

The fate of shallow groundwater resources in a fast-growing suburban area
Western Africa

In Ouédo, a fast-growing suburban town in southern Benin, residents are encountering declining shallow groundwater levels and attributing this drawdown to the development of a new wellfield in Ouédo which supplies Cotonou, the largest city and economic capital of Benin.

Interviews with young groundwater professionals from Southern Africa
Southern Africa

In September 2018, the SADC Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI) organised the first annual SADC Groundwater Conference. IGRAC's Researcher Arnaud Sterckx attended the conference and interviewed four young professionals about their background, challenges and ambitions.

A visual tool to raise awareness on the potential of MAR

The potential of regional mapping of suitability to Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) using a standardized index was investigated during a 4-months internship project by Fanny Dupont. Continuing the work of INOWAS (TU Dresden), the potential of the MAR Site Selection Standardization Index (MARSSSI) to map the suitability to spreading methods was investigated with a new case study.

MAR in Arizona
Five actions to increase global acceptance of Managed Aquifer Recharge

Groundwater is an increasingly important resource for human development, including domestic water supply, irrigated agriculture and industry. In addition, groundwater has an important environmental role in sustaining rivers’ baseflow, ecosystems and associated ecosystem services. Groundwater is of strategic importance to achieve global water and food security under a changing climate.