22-27 September 2019
Trade Fairs and Congress Center (FYCMA)
Europe/Madrid timezone

Spatial controls on groundwater quality in Sierra Leone: moving towards a national data management framework?

23 Sep 2019, 16:00
Trade Fairs and Congress Center (FYCMA)

Trade Fairs and Congress Center (FYCMA)

Av. de José Ortega y Gasset, 201 29006 Malaga, Spain
Poster Topic 3 - Groundwater sustainability and governance Poster with refreshments


Dr Gilles Tagne (Wheaton College)


West Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the regions most affected by global change, with predictions of rainfall deficit over the next 50 years (World Bank Data). Post-civil war demographic boom, combined with increasing water demand to boost the agricultural and mining sectors have highly challenged the current capacity of post-colonial infrastructures to supply the needs in drinking water. Moreover, the assessment of groundwater as an alternative source across the country is still very limited to local and regional studies. Well data from over 475 well locations from around Sierra Leone was compiled from third-party sources including NGOs, drilling companies and government agencies. Relevant chemical data from 86 of those well locations were discovered and analyzed in order to find relevant spatial correlations between groundwater quality, demographics, population density and land-use patterns. Preliminary results suggests that 1) biological contamination shows a positive spatial correlation with predominantly agricultural land-uses and a low dependency on human density, 2) physicochemical parameters (TDS, turbidity) are likely associated to proximity of major transportation lines, and 3) trace metals (copper, iron, manganese) contamination suggest a natural (geologic) signature. A danger scale for chemical contamination was computed and will be useful to target the most vulnerable regions. A major obstacle to the development of this project is the lack of a national groundwater data framework. The development of a national groundwater database is crucial to analyze the sustainability of current groundwater uses and will be useful to inform future sustainable management of the resource.

Primary authors

Dr Gilles Tagne (Wheaton College) Mr Margason Andy (Wheaton College) Mr Aleksandr Glavnik (Wheaton College) Mrs Claire Browning (Wheaton College) Mrs Rylee Norris (Wheaton College) Mrs Katie Mesa (Wheaton College) Mr Benjamin Robbins (Wheaton College)

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