A national border-based assessment of Malawi's transboundary aquifer units: towards achieving sustainable development goal 6.5.2

Christina M. Fraser, Robert M. Kalin, Modesta Kanjaye, Zione Uka

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Abstract

Study region: Malawi. Study focus: The adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 in 2016 has triggered countries across the globe to assess and improve management and use of water resources. Monitoring of these resources is becoming increasingly important, and the management of transboundary water resources, in particular groundwater aquifers, required to meet SDG target 6.5.2, is lagging behind. It is vital to assess and manage these resources in a sustainable manner within an integrated water resource management approach. Transboundary aquifer assessments have largely focused on the regional scale which is not sufficient for countries to manage their transboundary aquifers effectively. This paper focuses on results of a national transboundary aquifer unit assessment in Malawi as a case study to support the countries plans for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6.5.2. New hydrological insights for the region: We have identified 38 new transboundary aquifer units shared between Malawi and its neighbours. These results can form the basis for future transboundary aquifer management between Malawi and its neighbouring countries. We also highlight the current limitations of transboundary aquifer assessments and management that should be addressed to achieve SDG 6.5.2. These include institutional mechanisms, limited cross-border data sharing, limited groundwater monitoring, and a need to revisit the wording of the transboundary-focused SDG target and its indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100726
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Hydrology: Regional Studies
Volume31
Early online date24 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Africa
  • aquifer
  • groundwater
  • Malawi
  • sustainable development goals
  • transboundary

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