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Building understanding of climate variability into planning of groundwater supplies from low storage aquifers in Africa (BRAVE)


UPGro, the UK’s Department for International Development, Natural Environment Research Council, and the Economic and Social Research Council

Project Team

Prof Ros Cornforth, Miss Luisa Ciampi, University of Reading: Assistant Professor Henny Osbahr, Dr Emily Black, Professor Anne Verhoef British Geological Survey: David Macdonald (co-PI), Jonathan Mackay, James Sorensen, Dr Chris Jackson Lorna Young Foundation: Cristina Talens Water Research Institute (CSIR): Dr William Agyekum Ouagadougou University: Dr Jean Pierre Sandwidi






Burkina Faso; Ghana

Key Contact

Prof Ros Cornforth, David Macdonald (co-PI)


Groundwater, aquifers, water, development, climate




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.

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 will allow 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 that allows timely emergency planning in the light developing drought conditions.

Our research

The BRAVE project is providing an essential ingredient for evidence-based mitigation and adaptation policies in sub-Saharan Africa. Through working directly with stakeholders through face-to-face meetings and the planned workshops in each country, we aim to develop water demand scenarios to inform the modelling, based on current domestic, agricultural and productive use needs, set within the context of the contemporaneous impacts on, for example, groundwater-based irrigation schemes in the River Volta Basin.

Our impact

The BRAVE project, in collaboration with Lorna Young Foundation (LYF), CARE, Christian Aid Sahel, and Reseau Marp has been holding radio listening groups in Ghana and Burkina Faso to train and empower participants to develop and implement a radio farmer program that aims to improve resilience of farming communities.

The program with be broadcast in Ghana project districts: Garu-Tempane in Upper East region, and East Mamprusi District in Northern region and in Burkina Faso project districts: Reo in Sanguié Province.

Check out the video below about the radio listening groups:

The training was led by Cristina Talens from the Lorna Young Foundation. The participants were separated into four groups based around the four key programming themes:

  • Improve sustainable land management
  • Improve water harvesting and conservation of resources
  • Improve health and nutrition
  • Improve yield and crop production

As farmers are an important part of this program there is a Farmer Listening Group planned for October to develop content, best practices and hear their thoughts and opinions.

See more at BRAVE Upgro's website.