Africa is heavily reliant on groundwater resources, with an estimated 75% of the population dependent on this resource for basic water supplies. The demand for the groundwater in Africa is set to rise, as a result of population growth, climate change and growing food insecurity. Only recently has management of transboundary aquifers-- groundwater reserves shared across borders -- been recognized as a central component of water governance.
IWMI scientists have developed a map and inventory that shows the presently known transboundary aquifers in Africa. The map includes 80 aquifers and aquifer systems superimposed on 63 international river basins.
The tool also proposes a new nomenclature for the transboundary aquifers, based on three subregions, reflecting the leading regional economic communities. Transboundary aquifers cover 42% of the continental area and 30% of the population. The map is based on several sources of available data and maps, including the global maps by IGRAC and WHYMAP.
The transboundary aquifer map can aid decision makers engaged in water governance processes. Increased access to information about transboundary aquifers may help improve management of already stressed groundwater resources and associated ecosystems as well as enhance the sustainable development of new groundwater resources.