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Case studies

Case studies exemplify various socio-economic, geologic and climatic conditions. They consider groundwater status and management issues both at the aquifer level (single country and transboundary), and at the national level.

The economics and the political economy of groundwater resources are also being analyzed in selected countries and aquifers to identify and develop key policy and governance issues (including cross-sectoral linkages) and to propose activities to support management needs under different socioeconomic and hydrogeological settings.

Each case study reviews and identifies the nature and characteristics of groundwater resources, its use in rural and urban water supply, industry and irrigation, emerging issues and the best practices, threats, and knowledge gaps regarding good groundwater governance. 


India

FAO G. Torsello

The situation with groundwater use in India is well described in a number of recent publications. The problems of over-abstraction in India in both rural and urban settings are well known, with aquifers being depleted in the hard rock terrain of peninsula India, in the coastal regions, and in the sedimentary aquifers of the Ganges valley. The report also draws attention to the threat from pollution – long before they are depleted, some aquifers will become unusable because of industrial pollutants, human wastes, and agricultural chemicals. These problems are not unmanageable. The report gives examples where far-sighted village councils have taken charge of India, Groundwater Governance case study over-abstraction and brought it under control; where polluting industries have reformed their practices and now use their waste streams for productive purposes; and where one municipal corporation has taken the brave step of attempting to introduce volumetric charging in order to introduce some demand management and to accumulate sufficient finances to develop additional sources of supply.


Kenya

FAO - Ami Vitale

Kenya is a water-scarce state (534 m3/capita/yr in 2009), with a resource endowment of 21 billion cubic meters a year. Groundwater is of considerable importance, more so than it might seem given that it only constitutes about 5 percent of the nation’s renewable water resources. In the 2009 Census, 43 percent of rural and 24 percent of urban households stated that they relied on a spring, well, or borehole as their main source of water.  Its intrinsic advantages—its ubiquity, the speed with which it can be developed, the relatively low capital cost of development, its drought resilience, and its ability to meet water needs ―on demand —make it a critical component in rural water supply and for small (and sometimes large) towns, as well as domestic water, irrigation, industry, and commercial uses.  However, despite its importance, the value of groundwater is not appreciated, nor is its vulnerability understood.


South Africa

South Africa faces growing water demands and will increasingly rely on groundwater as surface water reaches the limits of its availability. There is the potential to considerably increase groundwater supplies  in South Africa. Sustainable groundwater governance is required to ensure socially equitable, economically efficient and environmentally sustainable use of this precious resource. The South African reform of the legislative and institutional frameworks of the water sector which started in mid to late nineties provided the opportunity for the judicious management of groundwater resources.