Each year, groundwater challenges continue to intensify. In 2019, GRIPP persisted in its work to fill critical knowledge gaps, share transferable solutions, create long-term partnerships, scale-up successes, and advocate for groundwater at the highest level. In the face of climate change, the need to sustainably manage groundwater and promote adaptive solutions is more important now than ever before. Here at GRIPP, we believe we have achieved valuable outcomes in 2019 by joining forces with our partners to publish knowledge products, promote groundwater management at international events, and build strong links with donors and national institutions. The sum of our work in 2019 has brought groundwater into the mix of integrated solutions for sustainable water management that support the SDGs and benefit communities across the world.

Highlights from 2019

GRIPP endorses Global Groundwater Sustainability Initiative and call to action: At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 25) in Madrid, Spain, with the beginning of the UN 'decade of action' to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a call to action on Global Groundwater Sustainability was launched. Recent evidence points to the potential of water, in particular groundwater, as a major solution to help the world adapt to droughts and climate extremes – especially in the Global South. At present, over 900 scientists, practitioners and experts from over 85 countries around the world have signed the call to action. GRIPP is strongly supporting and endorsing this initiative, which will be rolled out further in the run-up to the 2020 UN-Water World Water Day where groundwater is the key focus.

AMCOW launched the Pan-African Groundwater Program: The African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) launched its Pan-African Groundwater Program (APAGroP) during a two-day workshop held in October. APAGroP is a strategic partnership platform for groundwater information, and for strengthening the capacity of member states and organizations to sustainably manage groundwater. The program will capitalize on AMCOW’s renewed commitment to groundwater and the expressed interest from various groundwater-focused networks, including GRIPP, to support the initiative.

GRIPP produced an infographic that will raise awareness on the importance of good groundwater management: The infographic ‘GROUNDWATER – Critical for Sustainable Development’ was launched at the 2nd Southern African Development Community – Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI) conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. The graphic, which was put together with the support of select partners from GRIPP, illustrates a timeline of groundwater use throughout history and projected outcomes of continued groundwater abstraction. The graphic will serve as a tool to inspire schools, institutions and stakeholders globally to develop sustainable groundwater practices.

Friends of Groundwater successfully proposed a work plan at the 2nd Global World Water Quality Alliance Workshop: A number of institutions that are particularly concerned with international groundwater quality issues have been dubbed the "Friends of Groundwater." This group includes the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC), Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), Germany, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), and Umvoto. The Friends of Groundwater presentation and engagement at the Global World Water Quality Alliance Workshop promoted a work plan for groundwater quality that was ultimately welcomed by UN Environment and donor agencies attending the meeting.

GRIPP helped to release Incorporating environmental flows into “water stress” indicator 6.4.2 – Guidelines for a minimum standard method for global reporting: The report will assist countries in accessing data for the assessment of water stress through environmental flow data inclusion. The guidelines provide a minimum standard, which will support countries in generating the required data for the global report on SDG indicator 6.4.2. The report also provides countries support for their Voluntary National Review on SDG indicator 6.4.2. The tool enables estimation of sustainable groundwater abstraction at flexible scales, based on linkages between base-flow and groundwater storage.

Increased recognition of safe drinking water services for rural populations at World Water Week: In Stockholm, Sweden, experts discussed how to safely manage drinking water services for rural populations, acknowledging that they are often supplied by groundwater. The session raised awareness of the centrality of groundwater management in achieving SDG Target 6.1 in rural areas, and examined the viability of small-scale, decentralized systems and point sources.

2019 was a year of rewarding collaboration with Southern African Development Community (SADC)

Collaboration to enhance groundwater on the SADC agendaThe International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the Southern African Development Community – Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI), increased their impact on groundwater management in southern Africa through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The aim of the MoU is to strengthen collaboration and drive the agenda for sustainable groundwater and conjunctive water management in the region.

The Limpopo Watercourse Commission (LIMCOM) launched its first-ever Groundwater Committee: LIMCOM, which coordinates shared international water issues among Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, formalized a cooperation mechanism focusing on groundwater resources and management. This LIMCOM Groundwater Committee will facilitate and promote the conjunctive management of surface water and groundwater resources, while focusing attention on transboundary aquifers shared among the countries.

GRIPP helped increase focus on Sustainable Development Goals at the second SADC-GMI Groundwater Conference: The theme for this year’s conference in Johannesburg was aptly titled “Groundwater’s Contribution to Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals in SADC Region.” Each day, on average, 150 delegates from close to 20 countries, from Southern Africa and beyond, attended the conference. The common message from the keynote speakers, presenters and panel discussions emphasized the centrality of groundwater in providing lasting water solutions for the SADC region.

The lasting legacy of the RAMOTSWA project in Southern Africa: Partners in the RAMOTSWA Transboundary Aquifer Project came together for a workshop to mark the project’s official close. The RAMOTSWA Project supported cooperative management of groundwater resources in the Upper Limpopo region in Botswana and South Africa. This project was the first to focus on transboundary aquifers in the Limpopo River Basin. The project’s major outputs included a transboundary diagnostic of the aquifer, agricultural water management solutions for smallholder farmers, a thorough investigation of nitrate pollution and many more. The RAMOTSWA Project has paved the way for other similar projects in the region.

SADC member states in Malawi and Mozambique committed to transboundary conjunctive water management: The Conjunctive Water Resources Management in the Shire River – Aquifer System project (Shire ConWat) was implemented by the Southern African Development Community – Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). The aim of the project is to enhance cooperation of surface water and groundwater management in the Shire River Basin in a way that is sustainable as well as improves livelihoods and socioeconomic prosperity. Malawi and Mozambique agreed to draft a Memorandum of Understanding for data sharing, which will facilitate decision making and shape the future of conjunctive water management in the region. Access the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis and Strategic Action Plan documents here.

GRIPP Partner Spotlights

UPGro Program: The Africa Groundwater Atlas launched digital hydrogeology maps for 38 countries in Africa at the 46th IAH Congress in Malaga, Spain

The Nature ConservancyGDE Pulse - A new online app launched to monitor changes in groundwater-dependent ecosystem health using satellite, rainfall and groundwater data

International Association of Hydrologists (IAH): Release of the latest addition of IAH Strategic Overview Series "Climate-Change Adaptation & Groundwater."

International Association of Hydrologists (IAH): Successful pre-conference workshop for stocktaking and strategizing on transboundary aquifer work at the 46th IAH International Congress in Malaga, Spain

International Association of Hydrologists (IAH): Video on groundwater featured at World Water Day 2019

International Association of Hydrologists (IAH): Aquifer recharge best practice showcased and shared at the tenth triennial International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge (ISMAR10)

United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH): New report published on arsenic removal technology cost and efficiency

International Water Management Institute (IWMI): New publication released that reframes groundwater governance to enhance sustainable outcomes

International Water Management Institute (IWMI)Completion of the project "Building Climate Resilience of Watersheds in Mountain Eco-regions (BCRWME)" and production of a video on vanishing springs detailing why an integrated landscape approach is a sustainable longterm solution

Other Contributions

AGU: Successful Chapman conference on the “Quest for Sustainability of Heavily Stressed Aquifers at Regional to Global Scales”

The International Water Association (IWA): Establishment of the IWA Groundwater Management Specialist Group

We thank you for your support and contributions in 2019. Help us build a more sustainable future and share this with colleagues, friends and family that have an interest in groundwater management for development. We look forward to working with you in 2020 and wish you the best!

Follow GRIPP and contribute to:

  • Advancing the agenda of sustainable groundwater management to achieve the SDGs at a local and global scale.
  • Building a network of partners to confront today’s groundwater issues for the benefit of future generations.
  • Co-developing, documenting and disseminating proven technologies, policies, and approaches.
  • Providing a platform for attracting, guiding and implementing action research for sustainable groundwater management.

Photo credits from top to bottom: © Metro Media / IWMI © Prashanth Vishwanathan / IWMI © David Brazier / IWMI © David Brazier / IWMI © Graeme Williams/IWMI © Frank Rijsberman/IWMI © David Brazier/IWMI © Hamish John Appleby / IWMI © Samurdhi Ranasinghe / IWMI

Created By
Dani Freund