Transboundary: Capacity Building Actions in Groundwater Management Issues as an aspect of IWRM for the Nile Region (#344)

The Nile region relies heavily on its groundwater, nevertheless, it is often neglected in national water policies. However, efforts were made to integrate groundwater as an aspect of IWRM, predominantly through a proposal of relevant capacity building actions. These were categorised into three groups: groundwater governance, operational management and, analytical tools to support operational management, illustrating that the main focus should still be devoted on the institutional and regulatory frameworks and management instruments. 


Drinking water supply in all Nile countries rely on groundwater for more than 65% of the total consumption. Not well recognised in national water policies, groundwater has proved being the major resource in development plans of water supply, irrigation as well as industrial sectors. Some large agricultural investments that greatly contribute to the food security and national economy are solely dependant on groundwater use.

Action taken

A study was made to propose a relevant set of capacity building actions in groundwater management issues as an aspect of IWRM for the Nile Region. The activities were supported by the Cap-Net/UNDP programme for capacity building in IWRM and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR).

The main objective of the project was to analyse the integration of groundwater aspects in national water management in East Africa with a focus on, and recommendations for, possible capacity development actions aiming at strengthening this integration.

The survey clearly indicated shortcomings in groundwater data and information leading to:
• Limited knowledge of groundwater potentials in various areas, 
• Limited capacity for groundwater development, 
• Pollution of groundwater from onsite sanitation,
• Poor catchment protection leading to reduction in yields and pollution of springs and shallow wells.

Key capacity building actions are recommended and approaches/modalities for implementation are suggested.  They are classified under three themes, namely: 

- groundwater governance, 
- operational management and,
- analytical tools to support operational management.

Lessons learned

It is believed that hydrogeological capability makes groundwater allocation more effective, but the issues remain to ensure the institutional and regulatory frameworks as well as management instruments for the sustainable management of this precious resource.