Hydrogeology of Equatorial Guinea
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Equatorial Guinea comprises a mainland territory and five islands lying across the equator in the Gulf of Guinea. Parts of the present-day country were under first Portuguese and then Spanish colonial rule from the 15th century; Britain also occupied parts of the territory. During the colonial era, Spanish settlers established cocoa plantations, worked by waves of migrants from West Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. Equatorial Guinea gained independence as a republic in 1968, and is the only Spanish speaking country in Africa. A one-party state in the 1970s, the country saw a coup in 1979, since when there has been a nominal multiparty democracy with continuing periodic unrest, including attempted coups.
Before independence, the economy relied heavily on exports of cocoa, coffee and timber. Since the discovery of large oil reserves in 1996, Equatorial Guinea has become one of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil producers, which has boosted revenues and given the country the highest gross national income per capita in sub-Saharan Africa. Timber and fishing are also important contributors to GDP. Most of the population is employed in subsistence agriculture. Commercial agriculture, dominated by cocoa and coffee plantations inherited from Spanish farm owners who left in the 1970s, has declined in recent years in response to global price drops and a lack of investment. Widespread claims of corruption linked to oil revenue, and a poor human rights record, mean Equatorial Guinea receives little foreign assistance. Thus, despite oil revenues, there is widespread poverty and, despite improvements since 1979, very poor infrastructural and service provision for the majority of the population.
Equatorial Guinea, with a tropical climate and abundant rainfall throughout the year, has extensive perennial surface water resources. However, a lack of infrastructure means that protected water supplies are not well developed, particularly in rural areas.
Dr Kirsty Upton and Brighid Ó Dochartaigh, British Geological Survey, UK
Dr Imogen Bellwood-Howard, Institute of Development Studies, UK
Please cite this page as: Upton & Ó Dochartaigh, 2018.
Bibliographic reference: Upton K, Ó Dochartaigh BÉ and Bellwood-Howard, I. 2018. Africa Groundwater Atlas: Hydrogeology of Equatorial Guinea. British Geological Survey. Accessed [date you accessed the information]. http://earthwise.bgs.ac.uk/index.php/Hydrogeology_of_Equatorial_Guinea
Terms and conditions
Equatorial Guinea consists of two parts, an island and a mainland region. The island region consists of the islands of Bioko in the Gulf of Guinea, and Annobón, a small volcanic island south of the equator. The capital Malabo is on Bioko Island. The mainland region is Río Muni, where Bata, the largest city, and Oyala, the country's planned future capital, are located. Rio Muni also includes several small offshore islands, such as Corisco, Elobey Grande, and Elobey Chico.
|Border countries||The mainland region is bordered by Cameroon and Gabon|
|Total surface area*||28,050 km2 ( 2,805,000 ha)|
|Total population (2015)*||845,100|
|Rural population (2015)*||526,000 (62%)|
|Urban population (2015)*||319,100 (38%)|
|UN Human Development Index (HDI) [highest = 1] (2014)*||0.5866|
* Source: FAO Aquastat
More information on average rainfall and temperature for each of the climate zones in Equatorial Guinea can be seen at the Equatorial Guinea climate page.
These maps and graphs were developed from the CRU TS 3.21 dataset produced by the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK. For more information see the climate resource page.
|Rural population with access to safe drinking water (%)||31.5|
|Urban population with access to safe drinking water (%)||72.5|
|Population affected by water related disease||No data||No data||No data||No data|
|Total internal renewable water resources (cubic metres/inhabitant/year)||30,766|
|Total exploitable water resources (Million cubic metres/year)||No data||No data||No data||No data|
|Freshwater withdrawal as % of total renewable water resources||0.0669|
|Total renewable groundwater (Million cubic metres/year)||10,000|
|Exploitable: Regular renewable groundwater (Million cubic metres/year)||No data||No data||No data||No data|
|Groundwater produced internally (Million cubic metres/year)||10,000|
|Fresh groundwater withdrawal (primary and secondary) (Million cubic metres/year)||No data||No data||No data||No data|
|Groundwater: entering the country (total) (Million cubic metres/year)||No data||No data||No data||No data|
|Groundwater: leaving the country to other countries (total) (Million cubic metres/year)||No data||No data||No data||No data|
|Industrial water withdrawal (all water sources) (Million cubic metres/year)||3|
|Municipal water withdrawal (all water sources) (Million cubic metres/year)||15.8|
|Agricultural water withdrawal (all water sources) (Million cubic metres/year)||1|
|Irrigation water withdrawal (all water sources)1 (Million cubic metres/year)||No data||No data||No data||No data|
|Irrigation water requirement (all water sources)1 (Million cubic metres/year)||No data||No data||No data||No data|
|Area of permanent crops (ha)||60,000|
|Cultivated land (arable and permanent crops) (ha)||180,000|
|Total area of country cultivated (%)||6.417|
|Area equipped for irrigation by groundwater (ha)||No data||No data||No data||No data|
|Area equipped for irrigation by mixed surface water and groundwater (ha)||No data||No data||No data||No data|
These statistics are sourced from FAO Aquastat. They are the most recent available information in the Aquastat database. More information on the derivation and interpretation of these statistics can be seen on the FAO Aquastat website.
Further water and related statistics can be accessed at the Aquastat Main Database.
1 More information on irrigation water use and requirement statistics
The geology map shows a simplified version of the geology at a national scale. More information is available in the report UN (1988) (see References section, below).
The hydrogeology map below shows a simplified version of the type and productivity of the main aquifers at a national scale (see the hydrogeology Map resource page for more details).
More information on the hydrogeology of Equatorial Guinea is available in the report United Nations (1988) (see References section, below).
For further information about transboundary aquifers, please see the Transboundary aquifers resources page.
References with more information on the geology and hydrogeology of Equatorial Guinea can be accessed through the Africa Groundwater Literature Archive.
United Nations. 1989. Groundwater in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa: Equatorial Guinea. United Nations Department of Technical Cooperation for Development.