Regional hydrogeological maps of Africa

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Africa Groundwater Atlas >> Resource pages >> Groundwater and Hydrogeological Maps of Africa >> List of Regional Scale Groundwater Maps in Africa


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This page provides information on groundwater and hydrogeological maps that cover whole regions of Africa, with links to where they can be accessed online if available. This list includes the most well known regional hydrogeological or groundwater maps of Africa. Most are traditional hydrogeological or groundwater resource maps. One or two focus on particular themes related to groundwater.

They are listed here in reverse order of age.

This is not a comprehensive list. If you know of maps that aren't on this list but should be, please let us know! Email us: AfricaGWAtlas@bgs.ac.uk


Regional Maps by Date of Publication[edit]

Region Map Title Date Scale Publishing Organisation Format Where to find More information
ECOWAS Region Groundwater Resources in the ECOWAS Region / Ressources en eaux souterraines dans la région de la CEDEAO 2022 1:5 million BGR, BRGM, BGS, EAWAG and UNESCO Pdf map with marginalia; GIS shapefiles Download pdf, accompanying report & GIS shapefiles Bilingual French/English.
West Africa Groundwater in fast growing cities in Western Africa 2021 IGRAC Pdf map with marginalia Download pdf from IGRAC Published as part of WHYMAP
Parts of southern Africa Ramotswa Aquifer 2018 Ramotswa project consortium Created as shapefiles. Available to view in online portal. Ramotswa Information Management System (RIMS) Online portal with maps of the Ramotswa aquifer (Botswana + South Africa). Multiple map layers including aquifer boundary, location of springs, groundwater levels and quality parameters, recharge.
SADC Region Groundwater drought risk maps 2013 IWMI GIS View in SADC online portal Developed as part of the spatial analysis tool GRiMMS (Groundwater Drought Risk Mapping and Management System). Described in Villholth, Tøttrup, Stendel & Maherry. 2013. Integrated mapping of groundwater drought risk in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. Hydrogeology Journal (2013) 21: 863–885. DOI 10.1007/s10040-013-0968-1
SADC Region SADC Hydrogeological map 2010 1:2.5 million Sweco International (Sweden); Council for Geoscience (South Africa); Water Geosciences Consulting (South Africa) and Water Resources Consultants (Botswana). As interactive digital map in SADC online portal Hydrogeological map shows aquifer lithology, flow type and groundwater potential
Egypt Middle East Hydrogeology / Vorderer Orient Hydrogeologie 1990 1: 8 million Universität Tübingen, Germany View scanned image in WHYMIS portal
North Africa, parts of west and northeast Africa Hydrogeological Map of the Arab Region and Adjacent Areas 1988 1:5 million Regional Office for Science & Technology in the Arab States, ACSAD; WRD & UNESCO View scanned image in WHYMIS portal Covers Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Egypt, Libya, (CAR?), Algeria, Morocco, WS, Mauritania, parts of Mali, Niger & Chad
West and Central Africa Map of groundwater resource potentiality of West and Central Africa 1986 1: 5 million BRGM Paris View scanned image at WHYMIS Covers Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Gabon, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, the Gambia, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali. Combines type of reservoir, mainly based on lithology and an assessment of groundwater potential based on data from an inventory of boreholes, wells & springs. Shows four groundwater potential categories & aquifer lithology.
Algeria and Tunisia North Africa – Tunesia, Algeria 1983 1: 1 million German Research Society, Berlin View scanned image in WHYMIS portal
Gabon, Republic of Congo Carte de Planification des Ressources en Eau du Gabon et du Congo 1982 1: 1 million Comité Interafricain d’Etudes Hydrauliques, Ouagadougou & BRGM, Orléans View scanned image at WHYMIS Represents ‘renewable resource of aquifers as fraction of mean effective precipitation. Also shows exploitable reserves, main geological formations, rivers, main wells
Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin Carte de Planification des ressources en eau du Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, du Togo et due Benin 1978 1:1 million Comite Interafricain d’Etudes Hydrauliques, Ougadougou / BRGM View scanned image at WHYMIS
Sahel Carte de planification pour l’exploitation des eaux souterraines de l’Afrique soudano-sahelienne 1976 1:1.5 million BRGM with Bureau Central d’Etudes pour les equipments Outre-Mer (Mali) & Comite Inter-africain d’Etudes Hydrauliques (Niger) Covers Cameroon, Gambia, Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad. Shows uppermost aquifer type (extensive or discontinuous) and lithology; depth to groundwater; groundwater quality; estimate of recharge (renewable groundwater resource); estimate of groundwater storage. Described in CIEH (1976).
North and West Africa Groundwater in North and West Africa 1975 1:4 million View scanned image at WHYMIS
Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi Carte hydrogeologique du Congo Belge et du Ruanda Urundi 1957 1:5 million Service Geologique du Congo Belge View scanned image at WHYMIS

Details of selected regional scale maps of Africa[edit]

Groundwater Resources in the ECOWAS Region[edit]

This map covers the ECOWAS countries Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

It shows aquifer lithology; expected aquifer productivity and expected ranges in borehole yield; and aquifer flow type (porous, fractured, mixed porous and fractured, or karst).

It was designed to provide a consistent overview of groundwater resources across the ECOWAS region, by capturing and standardising existing groundwater data and understanding developed in the ECOWAS countries since the last regional hydrogeological maps of west Africa in the 1980s. It is also the first hydrogeological map to focus exclusively on the ECOWAS region. It provides a quantitative assessment of aquifer productivity, as a measure of groundwater potential, highlighting the suitability of aquifers for water supplies of different sizes (eg for individual, village or city use), and the physical limits of groundwater development potential.

The groundwater resources map, and an accompanying technical report, were developed as part of a collaborative project by a consortium of groundwater experts in BGR, BRGM, BGS, EAWAG and UNESCO, under the auspices of the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW)Pan-African Groundwater Program, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Water Resources Coordination Centre (WRCC), and the Niger Basin Authority (NBA).

The map was developed in GIS, and the map shapefiles available for download were designed specifically for use in GIS. Rather than being a single map, it contains several layers of information that can be used separately or overlaid, depending on the needs of the user. There is also a pdf (and paper) version of the map with extensive marginalia and thematic inset maps and graphs, which provide additional information on geological structure and sedimentary aquifer thickness; recharge; the probability of naturally occuring fluoride and arsenic in groundwater, and long term groundwater level fluctuations across the region.

The map and accompanying report will be available to view and download online after its release on World Water Day 2022.


SADC Hydrogeological Map[edit]

This map covers the SADC countries Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

It shows aquifer lithology; flow type; and groundwater potential.

It was designed to provide information on generalised hydrogeological characteristics at multi-country level and transboundary scale for the entire SADC region, focusing on the extent and geometry of regional aquifer systems. It was designed as a tool for hydrogeologists and water resource planners, and non-specialists alike: as a base map for hydrogeologists and water resource planners, whilst at the same time presenting information to non-specialists. The map serves as a starting point for more detailed regional groundwater investigations by showing data and knowledge gaps. It is not intended to replace national groundwater maps, borehole siting tools and methods, or site-specific groundwater resource investigations.

The hydrogeological map, and an accompanying atlas, were developed as part of the Regional Groundwater Management Programme in the Regional Strategic Action Plan for Integrated Water Resources Development and Management (RSAP-IWRM). The organisations involved in map development were Sweco International (Sweden); Council for Geoscience (South Africa); Water Geosciences Consulting (South Africa) and Water Resources Consultants (Botswana).

The map was developed in GIS, and designed specifically for use in an online, interactive web-based tool. Rather than being a single map, it contains several layers of information that can be used separately or overlaid, depending on the needs of the user.

The map is available to view in the SADC Groundwater Information Portal (GIP).

More information on map development is in these documents:

SADC EDF/RIP. 2010. ‘SADC Hydrogeological Mapping Project’ – Final Report. March 2010. Technical report to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Cooperating Partners: European Union and GTZ.

Explanatory Brochure for the South African Development Community (SADC) Hydrogeological Map & Atlas. Technical Assistance to the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) - “SADC Hydrogeological Mapping Project”. A report to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Cooperating Partners: European Union and GTZ.

SADC Hydrogeology Map

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