Urban groundwater in Africa

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Africa Groundwater Atlas >> Resource pages >> Urban groundwater in Africa

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Groundwater is becoming more and more important in urban areas - towns and cities - in Africa. There is rapid urbanisation all across Africa: the UN estimates that by 2035, 50% of all Africans will live in urban settlements. With urban populations and urban areas growing all the time, the demand for water in urban areas is also growing. Within the overall pattern of urbanisation in Africa, much of the growth is concentrated in towns and smaller urban centres, not only in big cities. Much of the urban population growth is in low income groups. Both of these factors present additional challenges for water supply and sanitation in general, and for groundwater resource development and protection in particular.

Groundwater has much to offer in urban areas in Africa: it is a resource that urban dwellers, planners and managers can't afford to overlook. But to continue being useful, groundwater must also be protected from pollution and over-abstraction.

This page provides some background on the issue of urban groundwater and links to more information.

Overviews of urban groundwater in Africa

The following list is of some recent reports and other documents that give a useful overview of the issues around urban groundwater in Africa.

- Foster S, Bousquet A and Furey S. 2018. Urban groundwater use in Tropical Africa – a key factor in enhancing water security?. Water Policy 20(5), 982-994. Doi: 10.2166/wp.2018.056
- Lapworth DJ, Nkhuwa DCW, Okotto-Okotto J, Pedley S, Stuart ME, Tijani MN and Wright J. 2017. Urban groundwater quality in sub-Saharan Africa: current status and implications for water security and public health. Hydrogeology Journal, 25 (4). 1093-1116. doi: 10.1007/s10040-016-1516-6
- Foster SSD. 2017. Urban groundwater dependency in tropical Africa: a scoping study of pro-poor options. UPGro Working Paper (March 2017).
- Lapworth D. 2017. Urban groundwater and groundwater quality in Africa. Presentation at IAH/GeolSoc 2017 Ineson Meeting, London, UK, 25 October 2017.
- Sorensen et al. 2015. Emerging contaminants in urban groundwater sources in Africa. Water Research 72, 51-63. Doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2014.08.002.
- Adelana M, Tamiru A, Nkuwa DCW, Tindimugaya C and Oga MS. 2008. [1]. In book: In S.M.A. Adelana & A.M. MacDonald (eds), Applied groundwater studies in Africa, Chapter: 14, Publisher: Taylor & Francis London, Editors: S.M.A. Adelana & A.M. MacDonald, pp.231-260. doi:10.1201/9780203889497.pt3
-Taylor RG and Barrett M. 1999. Urban groundwater development in sub-Saharan Africa. In: Pickford J. (ed). Integrated development for water supply and sanitation: Proceedings of the 25th WEDC International Conference, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 30 August-2 September 1999, pp.203-207.

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