Field sites

The research will be conducted in Ethiopia, Ghana, and South Africa. Field-based investigations will be conducted at two sites each in Ethiopia and Ghana, complemented by a broader study in a more developed site in South Africa. First phase fieldwork has been concentrated in Ethiopia.

In Ethiopia, two study sites have been selected in Amhara region. Work at the pilot study site in Dangila woreda (south of Lake Tana within area 2 in the map below) where community monitoring currently in progress is supporting development of a resource management tool. Further work at this site will evaluate the application of the tool over subsequent years, and for implementation of new technological interventions. A second site has been identified in the East of the region which will allow testing and evaluation of the approaches in a similar context, but where community capacity is less developed than at Dangila. Both sites have similar underlying basaltic geology, but the second has relatively shallow soils and limited alluvial material so is representative of places with lower resource potential. Both sites have been selected by government as priority areas for agricultural development, but current use of groundwater is limited to household domestic supply. For further information see note on study site in Ethiopia.

In Ghana the focus will be in Upper East region where the extent of poverty is greatest, some previous groundwater resource assessments have recently been made and farmers are known to be sensitive to groundwater level decline. Baseline assessment of shallow groundwater irrigation (SGI) in the region including stakeholder consultations, under the first phase, suggests Kasena-Nankani East and Garu Tampane Districts to be important areas to focus research. The former has experienced massive SGI expansion in the last 2 decades. The latter has minimal experience of SGI but has good groundwater potential (high availability and accessibility). Both districts are underlained by Birimian rocks and the main aquifer is the regolith aquifer in weathered zone of granitoids. For further information see note on study site in Ghana.

Research in South Africa will take a somewhat different direction with a focus on governance and inclusivity in managing the resource. It is now 15 years since the post-apartheid settlement led to the radical new water law. While the new water framework adopts a human rights approach, questions remain on the realisation of equitable access to groundwater. AMGRAF research will focus on the Letaba catchment in Limpopo Province. For further information see note on study site in South Africa.