“Groundwater is such a big challenge in search of solutions that to know what happens on the ground and what works is immensely valuable,” said Frank van Steenbergen of MetaMeta. The Dutch conglomerate undertakes applied research on water and natural resource management and promotes policy discussion, structured stakeholder engagement, program development and capacity building. Their themes are centered around groundwater, water buffer management and spate irrigation. “There is of course ‘no one size fits all,’ but we may benefit from understanding a larger set of options and the knowledge that groundwater challenges can be addressed.”
MetaMeta has an informative Groundwater Magazine Series highlighting ongoing research, field experience and possible solutions for problems related to groundwater. These rigorous case studies offer cautionary tales and lessons learned from the villages of the Central Rift Valley to the ejidos (collective landholdings) of Mexico. Below are highlights from three new issues in the Series with a short summary of each.
An estimated 8 million people are exposed to high levels of naturally occurring fluoride in the Ethiopian Central Rift Valley. Consumption of unsafe drinking water and locally grown crops like teff puts them at risk of dental and skeletal fluorosis, diseases which cause damage to bones, joints, and teeth. This issue, in affiliation with the 7-year research program Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor (UPGro), compares the efficacy of two main fluoride mitigation measures, defluoridation (the Nalgonda and bone char techniques) and safe sourcing in terms of sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and vulnerability.
This issue serves as a synthesis of known local groundwater management initiatives and associated experiences. The background study was supported by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) under the Sustainable Water Futures Program (SWFP). It examines India (Andhra Pradesh), Mexico, Yemen, Pakistan, and China by assessing both context (e.g. nature of resource, overall groundwater governance) and organizational factors (e.g. composition of user groups, access to/source of hydrogeological knowledge, form of local organization) in the success of local groundwater management initiatives.
This issue, in affiliation with the Spate Irrigation Network Foundation, describes how the alluvial aquifer in Kuchlagh, Balochistan, Pakistan was exhausted. In the face of scarcity, the Neo-Malthusian theory suggests a society where individuals are driven towards conflict. The Boserup school of thought, however, argues that individuals will cope and optimize resource use. In Kuchlagh, overuse did not lead to conflict nor did it trigger cooperation, the use of efficient irrigation methods or the adaptation of local groundwater recharge measures. The situation is best described as a ‘socio-institutional void’ – in which no action is taken, while the resource is gradually destroyed.
MetaMeta has developed a comprehensive website on participatory groundwater management. The free training kit includes eight main modules with the mission of bringing together scattered experiences and equipping persons keen to promote participatory groundwater management with case studies, exercises, and reference materials.
If you would like to view the entire Groundwater Magazine series, click here.
To learn more about MetaMeta and their innovative publications on groundwater, click here.
Subscribe to GRIPP News to receive notifications of updates.