Water resources under pressure in agricultural basins

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Risk of groundwater pollution across Africa. Level of risk is displayed from lowest (green) to highest (red). Credit: Issoufou Ouedraogo and others, Mapping the groundwater vulnerability for pollution at the pan African scale (Science of the Total Environment, February 2016)


Shallow groundwater poses pollution problem for Africa

Speed read

  • Risk calculated from factors including topography and groundwater depth
  • Water resources mainly under pressure in large agricultural basins
  • Regions along Gulf of Guinea at greatest risk of pollution

The groundwater in many of Africa’s most crowded regions lies close to the surface, making it vulnerable to pollution, a study shows.

Regions along the Gulf of Guinea are at high risk of groundwater pollution on the continent, according to a map drawn by researchers at the Université Catholique de Louvain’s Earth and Life Institute in Belgium. Much of Central Africa and some coastal lands in northwest Africa are also vulnerable, the map shows.

The study, to be published in next month’s issue of the journal Science of the Total Environment, shows that the Sahara Desert, where water reserves are deep underground and human activities are low, is the region least vulnerable to groundwater pollution on the continent.

Read the full article: SciDevNet


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.