A national approach to systematic transboundary aquifer assessment and conceptualisation at relevant scales: a Malawi case study

Christina M. Fraser, Robert M. Kalin, Michael O. Rivett, MacPherson Nkhata, Modesta Kanjaye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Study Focus: Integrated water resource management (IWRM) of transboundary aquifers (TBA’s) is becoming increasingly important. Without adequate and accurate scientific knowledge of their extent and characteristics, uninformed policy creation could lead to unsustainable management of these vital resources. This is particularly important within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) where up to 85% of domestic water is supplied by groundwater. In this paper, Malawi is used as a case study to critically evaluate the current transboundary aquifer assessment frameworks within the region and their value in promoting IWRM. A series of illustrative conceptual models of TBA interactions pertinent to the Malawian national border are presented and we consider how TBA assessments may be integrated to national IWRM and strategic policy development.

New hydrological insights for the region: Current TBA assessments of Malawi and the wider SADC neglect multiple aspects needed for a national scale management plan. This includes full border TBA system identification alongside, given the geology of the region, consideration of the discontinuous nature of basement complex aquifers and localised alluvial deposits that both result in smaller scale aquifer units. Conceptualising such local scale complexity and encouraging countries to develop a strategy that systematically examines TBA systems along their national border at relevant scales will allow for more focused conjunctive policy creation and sustainable management of TBA’s.
LanguageEnglish
Pages35-48
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Hydrology Regional Studies
Early online date16 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Apr 2018

Fingerprint

Aquifers
aquifer
Southern African Development Community
Water resources
policy development
alluvial deposit
Geology
geology
Groundwater
Identification (control systems)
Deposits
groundwater
resource
border
water resources management
Water
water
policy

Keywords

  • transboundary aquifers
  • groundwater
  • hydrogeology
  • integrated water resources management (IWRM)
  • Africa
  • Malawi

Cite this

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abstract = "Study Focus: Integrated water resource management (IWRM) of transboundary aquifers (TBA’s) is becoming increasingly important. Without adequate and accurate scientific knowledge of their extent and characteristics, uninformed policy creation could lead to unsustainable management of these vital resources. This is particularly important within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) where up to 85{\%} of domestic water is supplied by groundwater. In this paper, Malawi is used as a case study to critically evaluate the current transboundary aquifer assessment frameworks within the region and their value in promoting IWRM. A series of illustrative conceptual models of TBA interactions pertinent to the Malawian national border are presented and we consider how TBA assessments may be integrated to national IWRM and strategic policy development. New hydrological insights for the region: Current TBA assessments of Malawi and the wider SADC neglect multiple aspects needed for a national scale management plan. This includes full border TBA system identification alongside, given the geology of the region, consideration of the discontinuous nature of basement complex aquifers and localised alluvial deposits that both result in smaller scale aquifer units. Conceptualising such local scale complexity and encouraging countries to develop a strategy that systematically examines TBA systems along their national border at relevant scales will allow for more focused conjunctive policy creation and sustainable management of TBA’s.",
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