Identifying transboundary aquifers in need of international resource management in the Southern African Development Community region

Publication Year:

Transboundary aquifer (TBA) management, in part, seeks to mitigate degradation of groundwater resources caused either by an imbalance of abstraction between countries or by cross-border pollution. Fourteen potential TBAs were identified within a hydrogeological mapping programme based on simple hydrogeological selection criteria for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. These have been reassessed against a set of data associated with five categories: (1) groundwater flow and vulnerability (which is perceived as the overarching influence on the activity level of each TBA), (2) knowledge and understanding, (3) governance capability, (4) socio-economic/water-demand factors, and (5) environmental issues. These assessments enable the TBAs to be classified according to their need for cross-border co-operation and management. The study shows that only two of the 14 TBAs have potential to be the cause of tension between neighbouring states, while nine are potentially troublesome and three are unlikely to become problematic even in the future. The classification highlights the need to focus on data gathering to enable improved understanding of the TBAs that could potentially become troublesome in the future due to, for example, change in demographics and climate. Keywords: Transboundary aquifer, Africa, Arid regions, Over abstraction, Groundwater management.

Publication Title:

Hydrogeology Journal

Item Type:
Journal Article