Program News–New water project in Nigeria

Toward the end of 2021, the GWB Committee selected four new projects for funding. One of the selected projects is located in Nigeria.

Awka Capital Territory (Nigeria) — Public water resources management infrastructures in Awka Capital Territory are almost nonexistent and where they exist cannot meet the needs of the growing population. This has led the inhabitant to rely mainly on rainwater harvesting (during the wet season) and groundwater exploitation through boreholes and shallow wells to meet their water needs including water for drinking.

Rainwaters are harvested mainly from rooftops and stored in containers of various sizes and construction for domestic use. Most of the few boreholes constructed by private, government, and community stakeholders have failed due to poor well development resulting from inadequate scientific data needed for proper well position location, planning and development, in a region characterized by complex and varied geology/hydrogeology.

Prolific aquifers are very difficult to locate as most of the rock types are essentially aquiclude especially in the areas underlain by the Imo Formation. The high borehole failure rate suggests that the borehole may have been developed in perched aquifers, which does not sustain continued production. Most of the shallow (hand dug) wells dry up during the dry season (November to March), worsening water supply challenges.

At the peak of water supply shortage (especially during the dry season), water in tanks and drums are transported from the city centers several kilometers away and sold to locals and this has significantly added to the drain on the meager financial resources of these locals who are mainly local small-scale farmers and petty traders, hence further negatively impact their standard of living, health, and socio-economic wellbeing. The womenfolk and children are worse-off for this as they are directly involved in sourcing and fetching water usually from long distances (figure 2), thereby trading-off useful man-hours that would have been applied to other profitable socio-economic activities. This aggravates issues around gender inequality.

Poor water (geochemical) quality is also a major challenge to access to potable water by the inhabitants, and this has been aggravated by poor waste disposal management without regard to local geology. These water quality concerns are more pronounced in the cases of shallow wells which are characterized by open diameters of about one meter and hence susceptible to pollution from direct contact from dead/falling leaves, animals and insects.

The goal of this research project is to improve access to potable water supply for the benefit and socio-economic wellbeing of the inhabitants by providing scientific data and recommendations on the sustainable exploration, exploitation, development, and management of groundwater resources in the area. Objectives of the research project include: (1) Establish the presence, spatial distribution and depth to-, thickness of aquiferous units. (2) Determine, characterize and estimate aquifer hydraulic properties and evaluate aquifer vulnerability using geological and geophysical field data. (3) Evaluate and determine the implication(s) of aquifer vulnerability on groundwater quality, and its effects on the socio-economic well-being of the inhabitants. (4) Produce aquifer depth, properties, thickness, distribution, and vulnerability maps for sustainable water resources management. (5) Train and transfer knowledge and skills in sustainable groundwater resources management to participating students and local authorities/stakeholders in the groundwater and environmental sectors.

Visit GWB’s website for this project’s progress updates.

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