Episode 184: Water is Life – the GWB Ghana Water Project

Dr. Elikplim Abla Dzikunoo and Abdul Rashid Seidu discuss their Geoscientists without Borders project, “Provision of potable water to communities in northeastern Ghana.”

This GWB project will directly help the inhabitants of two communities (Zagsliari and Salinwia) located within the Nasia river basin in the West Mamprusi district – Northeastern region of Ghana. In Zagsliari, men, women, and children will all benefit from potable water. Children will especially benefit as the current water supplies in the community expose them to diseases like cholera and dysentery. In Salinwia, families will profit greatly from the provision of boreholes, enabling them to engage in year-round irrigation farming to improve their economic fortunes and sustenance for themselves and their livestock.

This project was done by using Electrical Resistivity Tomography techniques to define and interpret geo-electric sections and models to show the subsurface lithology distribution and provide scientific data that will inform groundwater management policy decision-making and improve access to potable water resources by the communities of the study area. To build on the knowledge of the area’s geology and offer a better understanding of the underlying complexities, lithologic logging was done during drilling, followed by geophysical logging after drilling, which offers improved resolutions of the subsurface geologic complexities.

In this conversation with host Andrew Geary, Elikplim and Rashid explain why groundwater is of growing importance in the “food basket of Ghana” as rainwater gets more difficult to predict. Elikplim highlights the value of combining community knowledge with scientifically-tested methods to be successful. Rashid explores why groundwater has been an overlooked resource in Ghana. And they both discuss the importance of respecting the culture where scientific work occurs.

While the audio quality at times is not ideal, please give this episode a listen from beginning to end if you can. This is a powerful story on the power of geophysics, how to gain support from local communities, and the difference science can make in people’s lives.

Seismic Soundoff · 184: Water is Life – GWB Ghana Water Project

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Dr. Elikplim Abla Dzikunoo is a geologist specializing in the applications of near-surface and borehole geophysics for use in hydrogeological studies and the interpretation of airborne data for structural and lithologic delineations. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Earth Science, University of Ghana, teaching geophysics and GIS/RS-related courses.

Geology was not her dream career, but having stumbled upon it in university, she fell in love with its practicality. Elikplim has been fortunate to receive funding, first from the Department of Earth Science, University of Ghana, as part of a capacity-building project to pursue an MPhil in Structural Geology, where her research included applications of geophysics. After her MPhil, she again received funding for her Ph.D. research from DANIDA to work on developing a 3D Geological model of the Nasia basin, northeastern Ghana using multiple geophysical datasets. This formed part of a broader project to develop sustainable groundwater resources for the area. She has authored three papers and a few conference abstracts as an early career researcher. She also reviews manuscripts for peer-review journals.

Abdul Rashid Seidu is a final-year geophysics student at the University of Ghana. Being a young, aspiring geophysicist, he had the privilege of participating in many geophysical programs that have sharpened and expanded his knowledge of geophysics, particularly exploratory geophysics. A good example is the SEG-GWB hydrogeophysics program, which aims to describe and develop groundwater resources for Northeast Ghana’s people utilizing various geophysical technologies. The learning and discovery he made while conducting this research project motivated him to use it as the foundation for his senior thesis. He’s highly interested in applying geophysics to address problems in the real world. He’s also seeking the chance to work with experts in this area.

About Geoscientists without Borders

Geoscientists without Borders catalyze bringing capable scientists together with communities to solve their problems. The program provides funding for these projects and assists geoscientists and their teams to collaborate with multidisciplinary and community-based partners. Data is collected, processed, and interpreted to provide resources that result in a sustainable humanitarian benefit to the community.

Geoscientists have the tools to effect positive change in communities coping with environmental hardships and natural hazards. For example, many places facing severe water shortages, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other hazards have benefited from the humanitarian efforts of geoscientists who have offered their specialized knowledge and technical skills to those in need.


SEG produces Seismic Soundoff to benefit its members and the scientific community and to inform the public about the value of geophysics. Please leave a 5-star rating on Apple Podcasts and Spotify to show your support for the show. It takes less than five seconds to leave a 5-star rating and is the number one action you can take to show appreciation for this free resource. And follow the podcast on the app to be notified when each new episode is released. 

Original music created by Zach Bridges. Andrew Geary hosted, edited, and produced this episode at 51 features, LLC. Thank you to the SEG podcast team: Jennifer Cobb, Kathy Gamble, and Ally McGinnis.

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