Improving water security for the poor

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We produce a range of resources to share our knowledge about water security and poverty.
Please feel free to share and cite our publications, but give full acknowledgement to REACH.

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May 17, 2024
This paper evaluates the influence of rock chemistry on groundwater quality in the region of Lodwar County, Kenya. Rock geochemistry influences groundwater quality and the aquifer processes of an area. Therefore, this study used conventional petrography and geochemistry techniques to measure the mineralogical compositions of 69 rock samples. The geological study area comprised of quartzo-feldspathic gneiss and biotite gneiss of the Precambrian basement, as well as sedimentary Turkana Grits and Holocene sediments, Tertiary volcanics comprising nepheline phonolites and augite basalts, alluvial deposits along the banks of major Streams and laggas. Quaternary sands also blanket much of the area. The results demonstrate that that geological factors and processes have location-specific influence on groundwater quality. These should be considered in aquifer water-quality studies and supply development across Africa’s vast ASAL regions.
2021, Kenya, Water Quality
May 17, 2024
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.
2023, Kenya, Published Article, Water Quality
May 8, 2024
UNICEF has been a global, regional and national partner with REACH since 2015. A science-practitioner partnership was one of three foundations informing REACH’s work to improve water security for millions of poor people in Africa and Asia. The partnership aimed to develop and apply a risk-based framework in long-term observatories in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Kenya. […]
2024, Institutions, Water Quality
April 22, 2024
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.
2023, Inequalities, Kenya, Published Article
April 9, 2024
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.
2023, Inequalities, Published Article, Water Quality
March 26, 2024
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.
2023, Bangladesh, Published Article, Water Quality
March 26, 2024
This review presents recent research on drivers and typologies of climate extremes across different East African geographies. Droughts and floods remain the major challenges of the region. There are improvements in forecasting these extremes, but further research is required to improve understanding of key drivers and improve information provision for risk-based decision-making.
2024, Climate Resilience, Country, Ethiopia, Kenya, Published Article
March 22, 2024
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.
2023, Ethiopia, Published Article, Water Quality
February 29, 2024
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.
2023, Ethiopia, Published Article, Water Quality
February 21, 2024
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.
2023, Featured, Institutions, Story of Change
February 16, 2024
The REACH programme is committed to supporting career development by Early Career Researchers, half of whom are women. 60% of first authors in peer reviewed publications from the REACH programme are ECRs. ECRs play key and active roles in research dissemination and policy engagement across the REACH focus countries. ECRs transitioning to leadership roles will facilitate and sustain REACH programme impact through their policy and practice networks, and increase women's leadership in the sector.
2024, Story of Change
February 14, 2024
In sub-Saharan regions, human activities are causing stream water quality to decline. This study assesses stream water quality issues in the Awash Basin of Ethiopia, identifying key sources of land-based pollutants. Applicable models with the capability of simulating the Awash streams are presented, and recommendations towards improved use of water quality modelling for development planning by Awash Basin institutions are made.
2024, Ethiopia, Published Article, Water Quality
February 14, 2024
In-stream water quality models can help prepare effective planning strategies to tackle problems with stream water quality and understand pollutant dynamics in stream systems. In this study, water quality issues in the Awash Basin were reviewed to select an applicable in-stream model to support local model practitioners in creating improvement in water quality management. QUAL2KW and INCA models are found more applicable for the present conditions, while the WASP model may be useful to conduct detailed analysis.
2024, Ethiopia, Institutions, Published Article, Water Quality
February 14, 2024
Despite improved access to water supply systems globally, safe drinking water continues to limit progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 6.1. In particular, there is a disparity between access to uncontaminated water in rural and urban areas, with the former significantly lagging behind. In this discussion paper, researchers and practitioners in rural drinking water provision, management and regulation from Bangladesh, Kenya, England and Wales identify key aspects to advance regulation for rural drinking water services.
2024, Discussion Brief, Institutions, Water Quality
February 13, 2024
Climate change and increasing severity of natural disasters have caused an increase in migration due to climate variability. However, how this relocation is negotiated, and the way risks are evaluated is still poorly understood. This study investigates these factors within the context of Lodwar in Turkana County, Kenya. This town provides useful insight into the negotiation of risk, with locals forced to weigh up both long- and short-term effects of population growth, water scarcity, flooding and more...
February 13, 2024
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.
2023, Climate Resilience, Published Article
November 30, 2023
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.
2023, Country, Ethiopia, Published Article, Research theme, Resource type, Water Quality, Year
November 28, 2023
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.
2023, Climate Resilience, Country, Kenya, Research theme, Resource type, Story of Change, Year
November 21, 2023
Reducing barriers to sharing and making use of climate information is vital for climate resilience. In Ethiopia's Awash Basin, REACH partners have been working together to build tools to facilitate the use of climate data from weather and streamflow gauging stations. Weekly collaborative coding sessions form a long-term capacity building interaction.
2023, Climate Resilience, Country, Ethiopia, Research theme, Resource type, Story of Change, Year
November 9, 2023
1.3 million people in Coastal Bangladesh are impacted by severe waterlogging due to riverbed sedimentation. This Story of Change presents work by a research team from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) to characterize hydrodynamic processes and sediment transport dynamics in the area, with potential implications for different types of interventions. Recommendations include increasing freshwater flows by restoring upstream river-river and river-floodplain connectivity and reducing “repeated dredging” of the same area.

‘Our partnership with REACH recognises science has a critical role in designing and delivering effective policy and improving practice on the ground.’

KELLY ANN NAYLOR, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, WATER, SANITATION AND HYGIENE (WASH) SECTION, PROGRAMME DIVISION, UNICEF

‘Our partnership with REACH recognises science has a critical role in designing and delivering effective policy and improving practice on the ground.’

KELLY ANN NAYLOR, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, WATER, SANITATION AND HYGIENE (WASH) SECTION, PROGRAMME DIVISION, UNICEF

‘Our partnership with REACH recognises science has a critical role in designing and delivering effective policy and improving practice on the ground.’

KELLY ANN NAYLOR, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, WATER, SANITATION AND HYGIENE (WASH) SECTION, PROGRAMME DIVISION, UNICEF

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