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BRAVE: building understanding of climate variability into planning of groundwater supplies from low storage aquifers in Africa

Plumpton, H. and Cornforth, R. (2020) BRAVE: building understanding of climate variability into planning of groundwater supplies from low storage aquifers in Africa. In: Supporting the COP26 priorities through research on international development & climate change UK-funded research project showcase. UK Collaborative on Development Research, pp. 12-13.

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The BRAVE project aims to reduce risk and improve water security resilience of rural communities in the Sahel region of Africa by combining better understanding and planning of groundwater supplies with practical communication and knowledge exchange at all levels, from individual smallholder farmers to national government and regional bodies. The BRAVE project takes an interdisciplinary approach to integrate information on livelihoods and vulnerability with physical modelling of land surface and groundwater. Our improved understanding of how water moves through catchments in the Sahel and the resilience of supplies to climate variability and change, combined with information on vulnerability of different groups in the community, has enabled the project to create contextually applicable planning and monitoring tools. These tools support sustainable investment in groundwater and unlock the potential of this valuable water source. The BRAVE project is part of the UPGro consortium who produced a film communicating the consortium’s findings: film-unlocking-af ricas-groundwater-potential/ How the project is supporting the COP26 priorities In the Sahel region, rainfall is projected to become increasingly erratic with climate change. Alternative, more reliable water sources are required to support poverty reduction and rural development. The region contains large volumes of water underground, in groundwater aquifers, which may be enhanced by more intense rainfall events. The BRAVE project aims to develop tools to support evidence-based, sustainable and contextually relevant management of this groundwater resource, and communicate these with stakeholders at all levels, from small holder farming communities, to district planning officers and national policy makers. This will be vital for supporting adaptation and resilience to climate impacts in the region. This is directly relevant to the first COP26 priority stated by Alok Sharma MP in his speech to UN member states on 8 March 2020: “First, adaptation and resilience. Helping people, economies and the environment adapt and prepare for the impacts of climate change.” Impact The BRAVE project has supported increased evidence-based decision making on groundwater resource use and planning at multiple levels. Strong relationships with stakeholders in national government and the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) has been critical to these impacts. At the transboundary level, BRAVE findings on groundwater, poverty and water resource access were used to inform the White Volta Basin Authority’s Integrated Water Resource Management plans. At the national level, engagement with CONIWAS in Ghana resulted in a request from parliamentarians to establish an intersectoral committee on groundwater. In Ghana and Burkina Faso, national policy makers attended scenario planning workshops on climate change and groundwater. In Burkina Faso, these scenarios will inform the development of the National Adaptation Plan for the Water Sector. At the community level, farmer-led radio programmes have provided accessible, relevant information to farmers, supporting ground-level changes that improve their climate resilience.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Walker Institute
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:93938
Publisher:UK Collaborative on Development Research


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