Aquifer properties

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Africa Groundwater Atlas >> Additional resources >> Aquifer Properties


Aquifer properties are the hydraulic characteristics of aquifers, which we use to describe the aquifer, and understand how groundwater exists and behaves in that aquifer - in other words, the hydrogeology of that aquifer. Key aquifer properties are permeability (or transmissivity); storage; and thickness.

To get reliable information on aquifer properties, aquifer testing must be carried out. Drilling and carrying out controlled test pumping of boreholes allows estimates of aquifer thickness, permeability, transmissivity and storage to be made. Without controlled test pumping, it is not possible to accurately estimate these aquifer properties.

In many parts of Africa, quantitative aquifer properties data are scarce, and surrogate data and information must be used instead in order to characterise aquifers. The most commonly available hydrogeological data are geology; borehole depth; and borehole yield. These have been used to develop the hydrogeology map used in this Atlas.

Citations and Links

MacDonald AM, Bonsor HC, Ó Dochartaigh BE and Taylor RG. 2012. Quantitative maps of groundwater resources in Africa. Environmental Research Letters, 7 (2), 024009. 10.1088/1748-9326/7/2/024009

MacDonald AM, Ó Dochartaigh BE, Bonsor HC, Davies J and Key R. 2010. Developing quantitative aquifer maps for Africa. British Geological Survey Internal Report IR/10/103, Nottingham, UK.


Africa Groundwater Atlas >> Additional resources >> Aquifer properties