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Exploiting Groundwater Resources in Urban Africa: Understanding Choice and Consequences by Dr Adrian Healy

February 6, 2018
Geological Survey Ireland Beggars Bush, Haddington Road
Dublin, D04K7X4

This is the David Burdon Memorial Lecture delivered as part of the IAH Technical Discussion Meetings.

Across much of Africa, domestic water supplies are increasingly dependent on groundwater reserves. Whilst, the extent to which groundwater reserves are exploited is often a political choice as well as a technological one, the role of private actors (such as households and businesses) is increasingly coming to the fore.

This nascent shift towards a distributed and increasingly individualised water supply may have implications for the resilience of communities to future environmental shocks, which are, as yet, under-explored. Drawing on the case of Nigeria and new interdisciplinary research, this lecture addresses that gap, through a specific focus on understanding the behaviour and choices of individuals and other key stakeholders.

The findings offer insights for the delivery of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, as well as broader challenges for the sustainable management of groundwater reserves.

Adrian Healy is a Senior Research Fellow at the Water Research Institute, Cardiff University. His research interests focus on the resilience of people and places to shocks and crises, with a particular emphasis on the role of agency and choice in resilience outcomes. His current research themes include exploring the development of groundwater resources in urban Africa and the implications of this for the resilience of communities. He recently completed a major project funded by the UK’s Research Councils examining the burgeoning development of privately-commissioned domestic boreholes in Nigeria. He has acted as an expert advisor to the UK Government, OECD and the European Commission and is keen to ensure the policy-relevance of research findings.