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SADC-GMI Completes the Development of the SADC-wide Framework for Groundwater Data Collection and Management through the GEF/CIWA funded project

Stakeholders from SADC Member States who were part of the DataCoM Project Closing Workshop where the Framework was launched.

Southern Africa has at least 70% of its population dependent on groundwater as the primary source for supporting their livelihood activities. The demand for water is expected to rise due to growing population, changing lifestyle-patterns and climate. If well managed, groundwater in Southern Africa is the resource which can ensure long-term water supply to meet the demands brought by the anticipated climate variability.

While the importance of groundwater in the SADC region can never be under estimated, one of the key limitations to its effective and sustainable management is the lack of decision making information, which is traced back to the lack of good quality groundwater data among the Member States. In response to the current groundwater challenges, SADC-GMI is currently implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management in SADC Member States project; a project supported by the World Bank with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Cooperation in International Waters in Africa Trust Fund (CIWA). The project comprises four main components. Under Component B: (Enhancing institutional capacity of governments in SADC Member States and transboundary organizations) and Component C: (Improving availability of and access to knowledge, scientific research and data on groundwater)of the GEF funded project, SADC-GMI implemented the “Capacity Building on Groundwater Data Collection and Management in SADC Member States (DataCoM) Project”.

The DataCoM Project that was implemented from July 2018 until April 2019 focused on identifying gaps, capacity building and training in data collection and management, including promoting the widespread sharing of data. SADC-GMI contracted the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC) from the Netherlands and the Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS) at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa to implement the project. As part of the project, IGRAC and IGS undertook an assessment in 12 of the 15 SADC Member States on the state of data collection and data management. The assessment confirmed that limited human resources, equipment and financial capacity appropriate for collection, analysis, management, retrieval, and sharing of data, inconsistence in data access, use or interpretation were the main constraints. According to the assessment findings, there is no appropriate organizational and planning framework for the use of technical guidelines due to lack of clear direction on how to use them.

SADC-wide Framework:

One of the key outputs of the DataCoM project was the development of the SADC-wide Framework for Groundwater Data Collection and Data Management. The primary aim of the Framework is to fill the gap between the SADC-wide, regional strategies and policies and the technical guidance and manuals that already exist in the Member States. It provides an innovative framework for the organizational and planning structures in the Member States that are responsible for collection and management of groundwater data using strategic, innovative and cost-effective tools. The framework acknowledges the differences between Member States’ capacity, challenges and needs in terms of groundwater data collection and management.

The framework is formulated on the basis that while policies, strategies and technical guidelines on groundwater data collection are available in the SADC region, there is an urgent need to connect these and forge a direction on how to effectively implement them. The assessment revealed that there is no appropriate organizational and planning framework for use of the technical guidelines to implement the existing policies and strategies on water resources including groundwater. Thus, the SADC-wide Framework for Groundwater Data Collection and Data Management was developed and will now serve as an instrument to drive implementation of policies and strategies while making use of the existing technical guidelines.

The Framework will fulfil the following specific objectives:

• Assist Member States which are currently facing difficulties in groundwater data collection and data management to develop adequate procedures at national level that match their financial and human capacity and level of development
• Enhance transboundary and regional cooperation through harmonization of practices across Member States in terms of data collection and management, and facilitate data exchange.
• Contribute significantly to the implementation of regional protocols and strategies in the SADC region.

The framework is structured into ten chapters that address various critical aspects of groundwater data collection and data management including borehole siting and drilling, groundwater monitoring, field data collection, databases, and data sharing and reporting. The framework also assist in implementing priority actions in the work programme for groundwater in the SADC Regional Strategic Action Plan for Integrated Water Resources Management (RSAP IV, 2016-2020).

SADC-GMI Completes the Development of the SADC-wide Framework for Groundwater Data Collection and Management through the GEF/CIWA funded project 1

Target audience for the Framework:

The framework is mostly targeted to officials who have coordinating role in the groundwater data collection and management, it does not aim to be a guideline for the technically oriented staff going out in the field to collect data.

Capacitating Young Professionals trough an Internship Programme:

The DataCoM project also included an Internship programme where two young professionals, from each Member State, and two students from the Institute for Groundwater Studies (University of the Free State) were engaged. The young professionals were given small assignments to complete under the supervision and guidance of the project team and the national focal persons who already serve as the interface between SADC-GMI and the Member States. While gaining experience, young professionals gained exposure to the international groundwater community.In all 24 young professionals were capacitated during the project.
Young Professionals from SADC Member States during one of the workshops during the project implementation
Young Professionals from SADC Member States during one of the workshops during the project implementation

The framework was shared at the project closing workshop with decision makers from SADC Member States who will influence the implementation of the document in their respective countries, and it is also accessible on the SADC-GMI website: www.sadc-gmi.org,
SADC Framework for Groundwater Data Collection and Management
The State of Groundwater Data Collection and Management in SADC Member States

About 70 participants gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa at the workshop where the Framework was shared
About 70 participants gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa at the workshop where the Framework was shared
Young Professionals at the IGS Experimental site – conducting water measurement during one of the YPs workshop held at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Young Professionals at the IGS Experimental site – conducting water measurement during one of the YPs workshop held at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
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