According to Mr. Ramaano,
“we need to go back to Integrated Water Resources Management and ensure that all water stakeholders are participating, coordinating activities and planning together.”
In this way, a shared vision for groundwater management can be fostered.
But how does one reach all the relevant stakeholders from grassroots through government? One innovative solution mentioned in the session was the use of mobile communication networks, such as WhatsApp, to share information and coordinate groundwater-related activities.
Technological innovations are also critical solutions for improved knowledge generation. Ms Petrie shared that Zambia, with support from UNEP, is developing aquifer mapping technologies, using best practice examples. There are plans to scale up this work from a sub-national to a national level once the technology has been developed.
Panellists also highlighted the potential of legal frameworks to drive improved governance of groundwater. For example, the OKACOM has groundwater treaty in place and is currently reviewing it to prevent pollution and contamination of groundwater resources.
From the discussion at the session, it was evident that progress towards the sustainable management of groundwater resources is being made in Africa. It is critical that the innovations for groundwater strategies mentioned in this session be considered and integrated into strategies going forward. As mentioned by Dr Jenny Grönwall,
“We also know the problems are getting larger with climate change. We need more integration, breakdown [of] silos, knowledge from different scales, and learning from these different scales, and openness to learn and let go of practices which are not useful anymore.”
Taking these insights forward is an important aspect of moving towards a more water-secure and water-wise world.
Written by Staci Warrington (Project coordinator)