International groundwater research

Woman pumping water from a well in Ghana

We recognise that, while groundwater underpins the livelihoods of many in our world, the sustainable development of the resource is not trivial and depends critically on an understanding of the hydrogeology.

BGS has a long history of international development activity throughout the world to sustainably develop and manage groundwater.

Our projects span a wide range of subject areas reflecting our breadth of expertise, and the range of issues facing many in the world. They include:

  • mapping groundwater resources and helping provide the tools and training needed to develop groundwater resources
  • assessing and understanding natural groundwater quality issues, such as fluoride and arsenic
  • helping to monitor groundwater pollution, and finding ways to protect groundwater resources
  • researching how groundwater resources are affected by droughts and changing land use and climate
  • examining ways integrating groundwater resources in integrated water and resources management (IWRM) in ways appropriate for individual areas and countries
  • working in interdisciplinary teams with socio-economists and political scientists to ensure that solutions are sought that are truly appropriate and sustainable
  • sharing data and information — sharing Southern African data

Africa Groundwater Atlas

The availability and accessibility of robust groundwater data and information is a major constraint to developing groundwater resources across Africa, and a barrier to undertaking research. The Africa Groundwater Atlas is an online introduction to the groundwater resources of 51 African countries, and a gateway to further information. The Atlas is funded by the UPGro programme.

Africa Groundwater Literature Archive

Search results from the Africa Groundwater Literature Archive

The Africa Groundwater Literature Archive is a searchable online database that catalogues nearly 7000 references for literature about groundwater in Africa, with thousands of links to free-to-download full text documents and abstracts. The Archive is funded by the UPGro programme.

Groundwater resilience to climate change in Africa

This one-year, Department for Internation Development (DFID)-funded, project aims to improve understanding of the resilience of African groundwater to climate change and links to livelihoods. The project will develop policy recommendations for assessing how groundwater can support adaptation and build resilience to climate change.

Groundwater resilience to climate change and abstraction
in the Indo-Gangetic basin

This regional project has been commissioned by the DFID South Asia research hub and will run during 2012–2014.

Its aims are to develop a strategic overview assessment of the occurrence and status of groundwater resources in the Indo-Gangetic basin.

It also aims to strengthen the evidence base, linking groundwater resources, climate and abstraction, and examine emerging policy responses.

Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor (UPGro): Hidden Crisis

The Hidden Crisis project is an international research programme that aims to unravel the immediate and underlying causes of poor functionality of rural groundwater supplies in sub-Saharan Africa (Ethiopia, Malawi and Uganda).


Contact Alan MacDonald for further information