A water crisis is worsening in Zambia, especially in drought-prone areas, due to the drying up of surface water resources. Climate change has reduced the amount of rainfall, forcing woman and children to walk longer distances to gain access to clean and safe water, and in turn shifting the focus toward the harnessing of groundwater resources. In Zambia, groundwater is a major source of domestic water and its use for irrigation is predicted to increase substantially to combat growing food insecurity. Groundwater constitutes an important buffer, serving as a water reserve during surplus periods as well as a vital water source during times of shortage. It is therefore slated to play an essential role in climate change adaptation. Despite this, there is little quantitative information on groundwater resources, as groundwater storage has been omitted from assessments of freshwater availability.
Aquifer mapping would provide an accurate and comprehensive micro-level picture of groundwater in Zambia and enable the development of a robust groundwater management plan that will provide drinking water security, improved irrigation facilities and sustainable development of water resources in rural and peri-ubran areas. The Department for Water Resources and Development (DWRD) Groundwater Division staff have some level of understanding of the aquifer mapping; however, the department does not have the most recent technology for operational forecasts and systems. The specific barriers to be addressed include a lack of modern equipment and data analysis tools and lacking expertise in aquifer identification and mapping, inadequate financial resources to support exploratory drilling, limited capacity to assess technological options, and lack of skilled personnel. Capacity development, knowledge and technical assistance are needed to develop aquifer management plans.
- The transfer of tools and methods for assessing the latest aquifer mapping and making the information available for long-term decision processes through the use of robust decision methods, thereby supporting climate resilient decision-making benefitting the water sector;
- Enhancement of skills and competencies within DWRD focusing on the use of advanced technology for data collection, processing, modelling and forecasting;
- A prolonged review and support phase in which partners continue to play a marginal role after the project’s completion to support long-term sustainability.
- Improved decision making through access to improved aquifer mapping information tools and technologies;
- Strengthening of staff skill sets and modelling capacity to assess the impact of climate change on groundwater resources;
- New technological products and decision support systems to manage groundwater resources efficiently;
- Framework for the assessment of resiliency of groundwater to climate change and evidence-based guidance on assessing how groundwater can support adaptation and build resilience to climate change;
- Possible support to neighbouring countries via South-South Cooperation through the sharing of information and knowledge in formal and informal forums;
- Advancement of Zambia’s NDC to encourage and promote actions and projects that increase the availability of water in the context of climate change;
- Participation of women and girls in project activities, such as setting up and managing the Information Management System IMS, designing and carrying out groundwater and other field surveys/assessments;
- Participation of female experts in the project ICT and data components and gender-balanced participation in expert meetings, advanced and community-based training sessions; and
- Promotion of the recognition of (ground) water related work and services performed by women as an essential element of climate-resilient water supply and use systems.