IAEA Launches Second Project on Sustainable Groundwater Management in the Sahel Region

Reliable access to clean water for drinking, agriculture and sanitation is one of the biggest challenges facing the 135 million people who live in Africa’s Sahel region.
Fortunately, this vast area—covering 5 million square kilometres from western Africa to central and northern Africa—is also home to rich bodies of water underground.
Through a technical cooperation (TC) regional project carried out from 2012 to 2017, the IAEA provided equipment and trained local scientists from 13 Member States—Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo—to help manage these joint water resources in support of sustainable socioeconomic development.
Water resource management capacities in the region have been enhanced, and an active and engaged network of local counterparts is now in place.
Building on the scientific evidence acquired during this earlier TC regional project[1], as well as complementary data from current and previous IAEA and development partner activities in the region, the IAEA and these same Member States recently launched a new TC regional project[2] to address remaining capacity and information gaps through additional and improved data collection and interpretation, and training.
Experts presented the IAEA’s Water Availability Enhancement (IWAVE) methodology and approach, working with counterparts implementing this framework to agree on roles, responsibilities, and mechanisms for coordination and communication.
The meeting also covered case studies and identified a series of IAEA activities, from supporting post-graduate technical education to equipping national laboratories, that will help participating countries achieve self-reliance in analytical work.
[1] RAF7011 ‘Integrated and Sustainable Management of Shared Aquifer Systems and Basins of the Sahel Region’.
Australia provided in-kind contributions.
[2] RAF7019 ‘Adding the Groundwater Dimension to the Understanding and Management of Shared Water Resources in the Sahel Region’

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