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Please cite page as: Africa Groundwater Atlas. 2021. Groundwater monitoring. British Geological Survey. Accessed [date you accessed the information]. Weblink.
What is groundwater monitoring?
Monitoring the state of groundwater resources is a key part of overall groundwater management. Monitoring data is essential to assess the quantity and quality of groundwater.
Monitoring groundwater quantity usually means regular measurement of groundwater levels (the water table, usually in boreholes). Groundwater levels rise in response to recharge (and therefore in response to rainfall) and fall during dry periods or because of groundwater abstraction. The timing and amount of rise and fall of groundwater levels lets us assess how much groundwater is available in aquifers. Groundwater quantity monitoring can also include measuring and recording groundwater abstraction rates from boreholes and wells, and spring discharge rates.
Monitoring groundwater quality means regular measurement of selected aspects of groundwater quality. This can range from simple (e.g. measuring selected chemical parameters in groundwater in the field using field meters or field test kits) to complex (collecting multiple groundwater samples for laboratory analysis of many different parameters).
Groundwater monitoring can be done by measuring groundwater anywhere it is accessible, but it is usually done - and is most effective - using a dedicated network of monitoring sites - springs, boreholes or wells.
Some resources on groundwater monitoring in Africa
IGRAC Global Groundwater Monitoring Network
The Global Groundwater Monitoring Network (GGMN): a participative, web-based network of networks, set up to improve quality and accessibility of groundwater monitoring data, which is lacking at the regional and global scales. GGMN is a UNESCO programme, implemented by IGRAC and supported by many global and regional partners. The GGMN Portal allows groundwater monitoring data to be viewed in IGRAC's online Global Groundwater Information System (GGIS). A mobile app lets users enter new groundwater monitoring data to the GGMN.
An overview of national groundwater monitoring programmes
Groundwater Monitoring in the SADC Region
Kukuric N & van Vliet MTH. 2020. Improving the Groundwater Monitoring Network in Africa: contribution to an integrated approach for assessing the impact of climate change and socio-economic developments on groundwater resources in Africa.