Shallow basement aquifers are present throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa, but due to their variability and complexity the groundwater they contain often remains underdeveloped. As a consequence, productivity in many rural areas underlain by these aquifers continues to be low. A research program in southeast Zimbabwe was designed to increase access to this groundwater for domestic and productive use. The results suggest that by providing water for the household and for small-scale community vegetable gardens, a stream of financial and economic benefits can rapidly be generated for project participants. This benefit stream, though relatively small, is reliable and accrues particularly to women in the household. Critically, the financial benefits are being re-invested to promote diversification into other income-generating activities. These findings may have implications for the future development of water resources from basement geologies throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Waughray, D.K., Lovell, C.J. and Mazhangara, E. 1998. Developing basement aquifers to generate economic benefits: A case study from southeast Zimbabwe. World Development, 26(10): 1903-1912. [doi:10.1016/S0305-750X(98)00086-2]