Data acquisition models for groundwater assessment and management in the urban and rural areas of Zambia

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Mpamba, Ngosa Howard
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Availability of data and information on groundwater is important for sustainable utilization of groundwater resources. Its assessment, development, utilization and management largely depend on data acquisition; the aspect often overlooked or inconsistently carried out in most groundwater development projects in Zambia. The study attempts to develop a model for data acquisition procedure that recognizes three sets of groundwater data and information that need to be collected in a participatory approach in the urban and rural areas of Zambia. The data sets are hydro geological, groundwater quality and groundwater levels. Acquisition of these data sets is approached in two levels. Firstly, collection of the data sets as one entity with the involvement of stakeholders for potential use to support sustainable groundwater resources utilization. Secondly, development of the mechanism as well as tools to facilitate data collection, transmission, storage, analysis and dissemination. The methodology begins from an explicitly empirical conception of using the data set relations to investigate the quantity and quality of groundwater resources. Furthermore, it examines the nature of failure to collect groundwater data and information in Zambia, which has arisen due to mechanisms as well as tools for data acquisition that are weak, inappropriate or non-existent. The approach gives insight into some of the technical standards and regulations required to guide groundwater development and ensure submission of such data and information to relevant institutions. Groundwater occurrence, diversity, abstraction, replenishment and storage have been investigated in the study areas using data sets proposed for acquisition. Groundwater data and information captured with inclusion of global positioning system (GPS), shows that the approach would render existing hydro geological data useful for various analyzes. The main aspects in the collection of the data sets at national scale must: 1)recognize the borehole completion report form as official for collection of hydro geological data; 2)evaluate groundwater quality during construction of every borehole as a national interest, 3)ensure regular water quality evaluation and groundwater level measurement for selected aquifers as well as the national groundwater observation network to provide data to the National Groundwater Data Base to facilitate efficient resource management, 4)Incorporate a borehole numbering system based on the surface water basin blocks in the Zambezi and Congo River Basins, to facilitate sustainable groundwater resources development that recognizes surface and groundwater interaction.The thesis, through evaluation of past and current groundwater development approaches highlights the method used to collect data in the study areas, providing insight that data must be collected in the same manner from boreholes constructed in urban and rural areas of Zambia, as a way of promoting systematic data capture, as well as a better understanding of the economic value of groundwater resources. Furthermore, it reinforces the identified need to establish a Data Base through an integrated approach that allows most stakeholders to collaborate and participate in data acquisition and storage for effective water resources management.