Sustainable groundwater management has become topical and thrust in the forefront of water resources development and management in recent years, buoyed by the increasing water scarcity resulting from recurrent droughts, over-exploitation and quality deterioration of groundwater resources, especially in semi-arid and arid countries of the developing world. Climate variability and change further acerbates the impact of unsustainable use and abstraction of groundwater. There is, therefore, utmost need to support developing countries water management and governance institutions to better their understanding and implementation of sustainable groundwater management.
Technical support and capacity building in groundwater governance and management towards sustainable groundwater use and abstraction was provided to different developing countries through various programmes of the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) over the past two decades, which included: (i) SADC Transboundary Water Management Programme - Botswana, (ii) Rehabilitation of Water Supply Systems in Western Eritrea Programme, (iii) Water Sector Reform Programme in Kenya; (iv) International Water Stewardship Programme in Pakistan and Zambia, and (v) Reform of the Water Sector and Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Programmes in Zimbabwe. A detailed account of these programmes is provided concomitantly with its objectives, achievements and lessons learned.
Groundwater governance of each of the regions (Southern Africa: Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe; Eastern Africa: Eritrea and Kenya and Southern Asia: Pakistan) is compared and its impact on sustainable groundwater management evaluated with the aim to identify future governance needs and required support.
The analysis shows that there are more similarities than differences in the shortcomings of groundwater governance and that mitigation of the shortcomings requires interventions adapted to the local circumstances. There is a critical need for developing and operationalizing legal frameworks, and strengthening of the institutional frameworks.