Limits to the availability of groundwater in Africa

“Groundwater is not an abundant new resource in Africa

Professor Mike Edmunds – expert in geology and groundwater management at the School of Geography and the Environment – has commented on a recent publication from Alan MacDonald and colleagues from the British Geological Survey. The much discussed “Quantitative maps of groundwater resources in Africa” paper presents the first quantitative continent-wide map of aquifer storage and potential borehole yields in Africa.

In Environmental Research Letters, Mike Edmunds applauds the authors for raising the profile of the widely neglected issue of groundwater, and providing first-order estimates for the available storage and expected water yields in the continent. However, he warns that the message of groundwater storage being 100 times the annual renewable surface water could give the wrong message that groundwater an abundant resource. In his insightful commentary, Edmunds explores some of the limits to groundwater – including its inaccessibility to the majority of the African population, renewability, and water quality.

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