|dc.description.abstract||Although water resources managers speak of a water crisis in Africa, the management of ground water has to
date not featured strongly in national and regional African water agendas. Examination of the physical environment
of the continent and, in particular, the water resources in relation to the socioeconomic landscape and
regional development challenges makes it clear that widely occurring, albeit largely low-yielding, ground water
resources will be crucial in the achievement of water security and development. Ground water is important primarily
in domestic water and sanitation services, but also for other local productive needs like community gardens,
stock watering, and brick-making, all essential to secure a basic livelihood and thus to alleviate poverty.
Despite the importance of small-scale farming in Africa, there is little information on the present and potential
role of ground water in agriculture. In contrast to its socioeconomic and ecological importance, ground water has
remained a poorly understood and managed resource. Widespread contamination of ground water resources is
occurring, and the important environmental services of ground water are neglected. There appear to be critical
shortcomings in the organizational framework and the building of institutional capacity for ground water.
Addressing this challenge will require a much clearer understanding and articulation of ground water’s role and
contribution to national and regional development objectives and an integrated management framework, with topdown
facilitation of local actions.||en_US