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Africa Groundwater Atlas >> Resource pages >> Resources supporting groundwater management

 Please cite page as: Africa Groundwater Atlas. 2019. Resources supporting groundwater management. British Geological Survey. Accessed [date you accessed the information]. Weblink.

Managing groundwater sustainably

Sustainable management of groundwater resources is critical to ensuring the long-term supply of good quality groundwater supplies.

Groundwater management is a huge topic. There are many organisations who produce information and guidance on managing water resources, including groundwater, both in Africa and more generally.

This page lists some of these organisations and key resources to help with groundwater management, but there are many more.

Groundwater Governance

The Groundwater Governance project aims to influence political decisions thanks to better awareness of the paramount importance of groundwater resources and their sustainable management in averting the impending water crisis.


The Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) produces many resources that support groundwater management. For example, the following report that addresses sustainable groundwater development:

Furey, S G, and Danert, K. 2014. Sustainable Groundwater Development: use, protect and enhance. RWSN Publication 2014-9, 1, Skat/SDC/UNICEF/DFID, DEW Point, RWSN, St Gallen.

Africa Groundwater Network

The Africa Groundwater Network (AGW-Net) has produced a training manual, The Integration of Groundwater Management into Transboundary Basin Organizations in Africa, in both English and French. The manual is designed to support the international river basin organisations in Africa to manage their transboundary groundwater issues. AGW-Net carries out a range of other activities relating to its key aims of increasing awareness of the potential and value of groundwater across Africa, and contributing to capacity building in the groundwater sector in Africa. AGW-Net promotes communication within the African groundwater community, with active participation from across the continent.

SADC Groundwater Management Institute

The SADC Groundwater Management Institute (GMI) is developing a regional centre of excellence for the sustainable management of groundwater. It aims to strengthen the ability of national and transboundary institutions to manage groundwater, to advance research on the challenges facing groundwater, and to promote solutions.


The World Bank's Cooperation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA) programme assists governments in Sub-Saharan Africa in addressing constraints to cooperative water resources management and development, including helping regional bodies cooperate on groundwater.


The UPGro research programme (Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor_ is funded in the UK by DFID and NERC. Research is being carried out under the UPGro programme that combines a social and natural science approach in order to better support sustainable use of groundwater for the benefit of the poor in Africa.

As they are produced, outputs from the UPGro programme - papers, tools and other publications - are being shared online.


The UN International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC) facilitates and promotes international sharing of information and knowledge required for sustainable groundwater resources development and management, and produces a number of resources that can be accessed via the GW-MATE section of their website, including this report:

Tuinhof, A, Foster, S, van Steenbergen, F, Talbi, A, and Wishart, M. 2011. Appropriate Groundwater Management Policy for Sub-Saharan Africa in face of demographic pressure and climatic variability. Strategic Overview Series, No. 5, GW-MATE/World Bank/GWP/Water Partnership Program.


WaterAid produces information on managing water resources, including groundwater. This recent video gives an example of managing groundwater resources to reduce the vulnerability of communities to water stress. Other WaterAid publications can be found on its website.

International Association of Hydrogeologists

The International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) works to raise awareness of groundwater issues, and works with national and international agencies to promote the use of groundwater.

IAH publishes academic research through the Hydrogeology Journal and the IAH Book Series.

IAH also publishes a Strategic Overview Series, which aims to inform professionals from a variety of sectors about key issues relating to groundwater resources and hydrogeological science.


The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and its partners seek to better understand how groundwater access could be improved for smallholder farmers in Africa, and what technical and institutional innovations will be needed to ensure that it is monitored and managed sustainably. IWMI produce reports, maps and other resources with information on groundwater in Africa.


The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published a handbook Spring: managing groundwater sustainably, covering hydrogeological, policy, social and economic aspects of groundwater management. The book is free to download.

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