In partnership with national and local government, NGOs and researchers, the BRAVE project is incorporating a new understanding of climate variability and observational capacity and its water resource impacts into the planning and operation of groundwater supplies in the Volta River Basin in northern Ghana and in Burkina Faso. This is providing an essential ingredient for evidence-based mitigation and adaptation policies in sub-Saharan Africa.
As a result of improved understanding of how water moves through catchments representative of the Volta River Basin, combined with output from state-of-the-art climate, land surface and groundwater models, new scientific knowledge is enabling appropriate tools to be developed for planning at a range of scales: basin-scale long-term regional planning of aquifer-based water supplies for domestic and productive uses; local-scale long-term and seasonal community management of groundwater supplies; and provision of information which enables timely emergency planning in the light developing drought conditions.
A series of high-level policy round table discussions, which took place in May 2018 in Accra and in June 2018 in Ouagadougou with government ministers and disaster management agencies, examined how to unlock the potential of groundwater for the poorest communities in both countries. This sharing of data and findings led to the development of a truly integrated Water Resource Plan with the transboundary White Volta Basin Authority.
The White Volta Basin Authority’s 5 Year Plan now specifically includes recommendations around groundwater and knowledge exchange made by the BRAVE research team. Prior to this, the 5-year plan neither incorporated the use of groundwater, nor communication between the water supply sector and community users.