What happens when the borehole runs dry?

Even with a well maintained pump and a good borehole or well, things can still go wrong.  Understanding how groundwater behaves and how the quality and quantity of water in well can be affected by natural and human activities is essential. But how can it be done cost-effectively? RWSN is on the look out for good stories of how groundwater is monitored and managed well - by individuals, communities, service providers and governments.

Some example of locally-focused groundwater projection and management include:

  • Water Safety Planning (WSP) - by the World Health Organisation (WHO)
  • Water Source Protection Planning  - by the Government of Uganda
  • Water Use Master Plans (WUMP) - by Helvetas Nepal
  • Community Integrated Water Resource Management (cIWRM) - by WaterAid
  • Sanitary Surveys

The UPGro programme is doing interdisciplinary groundwater science on how groundwater in sub-Saharan African can be managed better for the benefit of the poor. From this work, by many of the world's leading hydrogeologists, we expect solid evidence and effective tools for cost-effective management.

Related Resources

Proceedings of the 7th RWSN Forum

29 Nov - 2 Dec 2016, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

The 2016 Rural Water Supply Network Forum in Abidjan was the first global gathering to consider the practical challenge of how everyone worldwide can get access to safe, affordable water by 2030. It was also the first RWSN Forum to take place in a francophone country, in the 25 years since the creation of the network.
The Forum gathered 467 rural water sector practitioners from over 300 organisations from 64 countries in Africa, Asia, Americas, and Europe, in a bilingual (English/French) four day event. It was opened by the Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, Mr Daniel Kaplan Duncan. We were joined by HE State Minster James Dengchol Tot, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity of Ethiopia, as well as a delegation from AMCOW.

This Forum proceedings compiles all peer-reviewed materials. Separate downloads and links to the films can be found at: https://rwsn7.net/content/ | more information »

SDC Guideline for sustainable groundwater resource management

Swiss Humanitarian Aid Reports and Papers (SHARP Series: GW/2016/1)

The main objective of the present guideline is to ensure the protection of groundwater intended for human consumption. Consequently, it is mainly focused on the protection of groundwater sources (e.g. pumping well, tapped springs). However, although the protection of sensitive areas for drinking water supply must be given high priority, good practices have to be implemented at a larger scale too, in order to sustain the resources as well as the aquatic ecosystems: awareness must be built in order to avoid any contamination of the water cycle (quality aspect) and to preserve water resources (quantity aspect), in particular within the aquifer areas | more information »

Assessing the Risk to Groundwater from On-Site Sanitation

Guidelines for

There has been encouraging progress with access to safe drinking water and sanitation in both rural and urban areas since the United Nations Water Decade of the 1980s. However, more than 1 billion people around the world still lack access to safe water supplies and more than 2.4 billion are without adequate sanitation. A substantial majority of these people live in Asia where the lack of sanitation provision is particularly acute. In Africa, over one third of the population still remains without access to safe water and sanitation, and many of these can only be served by groundwater. The need for renewed efforts to improve the situation is recognised in DFID's recently published water strategy paper - ''Addressing the Water Crisis - Healthier and More Productive Lives for Poor People''.

These guidelines are an important contribution to risk assessment and the avoidance of the contamination of groundwater supplies from on-site sanitation. They have been development as part of a project funded by DFID through the water component of the Infrastructure and Urban Development Division's Knowledge and Research Programme. | more information »

Water Source Protection

Exploring ways to incentivise citizens and organisations to manage shared water resources in a fair, equitable way.

What is a Water Source Protection Plan?
A Water Source Protection Plan can be an extension of Water Safety Planning. The plan is an agreed statement between stakeholders that establishes objectives, actions, responsibilities and funding. However, it should go beyond the needs of the water infrastructure and actively look for win-win opportunities:

Key Messages
Important to sensitise land and water users in catchments to the impacts of their actions on others; aligning their self-interests with the wider collective interest is vital for avoiding conflict and protecting the rights of poorest, and the quality of the natural environment.

Bottom-up planning is essential where conventional permitting, monitoring and enforcement is ineffective or under-resourced.

More evidence is needed to show how effective locally-focused water source protection and resource management are when scaled up beyond resource-intensive pilot projects. | more information »

Framework for Water Source Protection

Ministry of Water & Environment, Uganda

These guidelines were developed as part of the wider operationalisation of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM). The basis of the guidelines is developing a 'Water Source Protection Plan', which bridges the gap between Water Safety Planning, payment for watershed services and IWRM. The planning process encourages the owners/operators of water infrastructure (pumping stations, dams, valley tanks, boreholes) to identify the people in the catchment area for their water source whose activities may be impacting the quantity, quality or reliability of their water supply, and then to agree a mutually beneficial plan of action.

Of the five volumes, three are currently available from MWE from their website (or below) | more information »

How to Make Water Wise Roads

This note may serve as guideline on how to combine roads and water harvesting. The investment in roads in almost any country far exceeds that in local water management or watershed protection. Hence roads offer one of the largest opportunities to secure local water supplies, if done wisely and in an integrated way. This document describes both the governance and proceses to combine road development with water management as well as how recharge, retention and reuse (3R) of water can be enhanced through improved designs.

DISCLAIMER: This is a non-RWSN publication and endorsement by RWSN or any of its member organisations should not be inferred. | more information »

Water safety plan

A field guide to improving drinking-water safety in small communities

The WHO Guidelines for drinking-water quality recommend the water safety plan (WSP) approach as
the most effective way of ensuring continuous provision of safe drinking-water. The challenges related
to drinking-water supply in rural areas and small towns are of notable concern across the entire WHO
European Region, but the WSP approach has been proven to work effectively in small-scale water supplies.
This field guide aims to support WSP implementation in small communities by providing brief explanations
of the WSP process and practical templates for field use. | more information »

Local Council Water Security Training Course

The course provide appreciation and knowledge of water resources management, a better understanding of risks to water resources, introduces techniques for monitoring water resources and enable a better understanding of the factors that need to be considered when planning WRM activities. | more information »

Experiences and Ideas from RWSN’s Sustainable Groundwater Community 2013

What are we talking about?

The RWSN’s Sustainable Groundwater Development community (http://next.dgroups.org/rwsn/groundwater) comprises over 500 members from 69 countries. There has been vibrant exchange and debates on topics such as national groundwater policies, gravel packing, drilling technologies, the life of a handpump and many more. This synthesis pulls together the many ideas, opinions, experiences and suggestions from the online community and makes recommendations for a collaborative way forward. | more information »