2023

Hydrochemical and isotopic characteristics of the Lodwar Alluvial Aquifer System (LAAS) in Northwestern Kenya and implications for sustainable groundwater use in dryland urban areas

This paper assesses the Lodwar Alluvial Aquifer System (LAAS), a crucial resource to northwestern Kenya amid its drylands and unreliable surface water supply. The researchers aimed to study the aquifers hydrochemical and isotopic characteristics to better understand how to manage this groundwater system. Therefore, during the May 2018 wet season, they collected 112 water samples to establish isotopic compositions of rain, spring, surface water and groundwater. Understanding recharge sources and aquifer vulnerability of similar strategic aquifers can help scientists appropriately advise policymakers and the water community who develop sustainable water use, aquifer protection and conservation strategies. As well as providing insight in this regard, the study contributes scientific evidence of isotopic compositions of groundwater in the Horn of Africa.

Unbundling water and land rights in Kilifi County, Kenya a gender perspective

Feminist scholars have highlighted the importance of women’s land rights, and irrigation studies have explored the gendered relationships between land and water rights. However, less research has been conducted which assesses the relationship between water and land rights for domestic and productive purposes. Therefore, by collating community profiles, focus group discussions, interviews and survey data, this study explores women’s rights to land and water within rural communities in Kilifi County, Kenya. It provides interesting insight into the dynamics and negotiations of water access, including the social networks that affect how water transactions take place.

Reinforcing Feedbacks for Sustainable Implementation of Rural Drinking-Water Treatment Technology

Water safety management is a key factor that rural service delivery models must incorporate if they are to achieve universal access to safe drinking water. Practices such as source protection and water treatment help reduce the risk of fecal contamination. Therefore, this study recognises the importance of water treatment, assessing the implementation of passive chlorination and ultraviolet (UV) disinfection technologies in rural parts of South America, Africa, and Asia. The results identify a series of leverage points which highlight the need for fit-for-purpose intervention design reinforced by collaboration between facilitating actors through hybrid service delivery models.

Multibranch Modelling of Flow and Water Quality in the Dhaka River System, Bangladesh: Impacts of Future Development Plans and Climate Change

The rivers of Dhaka, Bangladesh, suffer high levels of pollution from untreated sewage and industrial effluent. To address this, over the next 20 years, the government is planning to install 12 large Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) across the Dhaka River System. This paper applies a water quality model to assess the efficacy of this planned investment. The model suggests that the STPs will improve water quality in the most densely populated areas of the city along the Turag and Buriganga rivers, and in some other parts of the city (Tongi Khal). However, future upgrades will be needed to improve dissolved oxygen levels more widely, due to predicted population growth. Policies to reduce industrial pollution should also be pursued.

Environmental isotopes (δ 18O–δ 2H, 222Rn) and electrical conductivity in backtracking sources of urban pipe water, monitoring the stability of water quality and estimating pipe water residence time

In this paper, environmental isotopes and electrical conductivity are used to investigate water quality variations in the urban piped water network of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The isotopic signature of the water allows the back-tracking of tap water to its source and also provides insights into pipe water residence time for groundwater-sources supplies. The tracers reveal that 50% of the city relies on groundwater, and that groundwater-sourced water supplies show the highest water quality instability. One important cause of water quality variation in the city is borehole stoppages and reconnection as a result of electricity cuts.

Evaluating the effects of geochemical and anthropogenic factors on the concentration and treatability of heavy metals in Awash River and Lake Beseka, Ethiopia: arsenic and molybdenum issues

This study assesses heavy metal and pollution sources within the Awash River Basin, in Ethiopia. In this region, significant urbanization and industrialization have caused pollutants to enter water bodies on a large scale. After finding high levels of heavy metals across surface water sampling stations, the study advocates for increased efforts towards water security within the Addis Ababa and Awash watershed region.

Story of Change: Progress to deliver safe drinking water services to 100 million rural people by 2030

In 2021, REACH and RWSN led a global diagnostic survey to identify rural water service providers in 68 countries with interest or existing experience in results-based funding. Results suggested that up to 68 service providers in 28 countries could potentially provide results-based services to 5 million rural people. Subsequently, the Uptime Catalyst Facility has expanded results-based contracts for reliable water services serving 1.5 million rural people in 7 countries in 2022 to over 5 million people in 17 countries, including Latin America and India in 2024.

Global high-resolution drought indices for 1981–2022

Droughts are one of the most complex and devastating natural disasters and high-resolution data has proven essential in helping monitor their characteristics. This study has developed four high-resolution drought records based on the standardized precipitation evaporation index (SPEI) from 1981–2022. These datasets provide greater insight into drought patterns on varying scales, with potential benefits for the development of site-specific adaptation measures.

Assessing heavy metal contamination using biosensors and a multi-branch Integrated Catchment Model in the Awash River Basin, Ethiopia

The Awash River Basin in Ethiopia faces rising heavy metal concentrations due to poor wastewater management and loose enforcement of regulations around effluent discharge. Acute toxicity of surface and wastewater samples was measured using new molecular biosensor technology based on engineered luminescent bacteria. A multi-branch Integrated Catchment model (INCA) simulating tannery discharge under different treatment scenarios indicates that a 50% reduction in effluent concentrations could produce a 20 to 50% reduction in heavy metal concentration in the river over two years.

Story of Change: Turkana Jet research unlocks new understanding of East African droughts

The strength of the Turkana Jet – a wind feature which carries water vapour from the Indian Ocean across East Africa to Central Africa – is underestimated in current weather and climate models. New observations of the jet by researchers from the Kenya Met Department, the University of Nairobi and the University of Oxford have been used as a benchmark for UK Met Office forecasting models for East Africa.

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