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==Groundwater Status==
 
==Groundwater Status==
  
There is a lack of information about the quantitative status of groundwater across Malawi, because there is relatively little groundwater level monitoring.  
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The natural quality of groundwater in Malawi is highly dependent on aquifer lithology, and is highly variable spatially. Nationally, groundwater is generally suitable for drinking (Chavula 2012). Groundwater in alluvial aquifers is generally more mineralised than that in basement aquifers, and a number of boreholes in alluvial aquifers have been abandoned due to high salinity (Chavula 2012). Chemical parameters that are elevated in different areas include fluoride, sulphate, iron, chloride and nitrate. Fluoride concentrations of more than 1.5 mg/l are common in groundwater in alluvial aquifers in the Salima/Nkhotakota and Karonga lakeshore areas (Chavula 2012).
  
The natural quality of groundwater across much Malawi is thought to be generally suitable for drinking (Chavula 2012). However, groundwater chemistry is highly dependent on aquifer lithology (rock type and mineralogy), and so it is highly variable spatially.  Groundwater in alluvial aquifers is generally more mineralised than that in basement aquifers, and a number of boreholes in alluvial aquifers have been abandoned due to high salinity (Chavula 2012). Chemical parameters that are elevated in different areas include fluoride, sulphate, iron, chloride and nitrate. Fluoride concentrations of more than 1.5 mg/l are common in groundwater in alluvial aquifers in the Salima/Nkhotakota and Karonga lakeshore areas (Chavula 2012). Generally, groundwater from boreholes is of better microbiological quality than groundwater from dug wells, which tend to be more vulnerable to contamination (Chavula 2012). Research on shallow wells in southern Malawi in 2008 and in northern Malawi in 2013 showed unacceptably high levels of microbiological contaminants in shallow wells (Msilimba and Wanda 2013, Pritchard et al. 2008). General overviews of groundwater quality in Malawi can be seen in Bath (1980), BGS (2004), and Water Department/UNDP (1986) (see hydrogeology reference list, below).
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Generally, groundwater from boreholes is of better microbiological quality than groundwater from dug wells, which tend to be more vulnerable to contamination (Chavula 2012). Research on shallow wells in southern Malawi in 2008 and in northern Malawi in 2013 showed unacceptably high levels of microbiological contaminants in shallow wells (Msilimba and Wanda 2013, Pritchard et al. 2008).
  
The revised National Water Master Plan (Republic of Malawi 2014) states that the priority for consumptive water use is for domestic water, irrigation and livestock. There is little information or knowledge about environmental water flows or how groundwater supports environmental flows, or any guidelines for estimating them. Potential interactions between river flows and groundwater are only investigated occasionally on a case by case basis, if there are known problems. The revised Water Master Plan recommends strengthening investigation and monitoring of these issues and the development of guidelines.
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Overviews of groundwater quality in Malawi can be seen in Bath (1980), BGS (2004), and Water Department/UNDP (1986) (see hydrogeology reference list, below).
  
 
==Groundwater use, management, monitoring and development==
 
==Groundwater use, management, monitoring and development==

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