IGRAC’s 2020 capacity building activities in Southern Africa


With the ‘SADC groundwater grey literature archive’ project and the ‘Expansion of SADC-GIP’ project having been successfully completed, 2020 had a particular focus on Southern Africa. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the trainings, meetings and even the 3rd SADC-GMI Groundwater Conference were held online. Below are shown the most important milestones of this year.

Training of young professionals

As part of the expansion of the SADC Groundwater Information Portal (SADC-GIP), IGRAC and the SADC Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI) organised several activities for the development of young professionals. In March, a workshop was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, to share experience and wrap up the situation analysis of the project. 

In total, 23 young professionals attended the workshop, representing 12 SADC countries. These young professionals presented the outcomes of the assessment on the capacity of the SADC member states with regards to groundwater data storage and sharing. Also, several group discussions were held around the importance of groundwater data sharing, technical and governance challenges related to the storage and sharing of data and strategies for improvement.

In September, an online GIS training for hydrogeological applications was held for young professionals from Southern Africa. This training, organised by SADC-GMI, IGRAC and IHE Delft, built upon a recently held online QGIS training and aimed at further capacitating the young professionals. The training covered three main topics, namely: gathering and sharing data, field data collection and data analysis. Lectures, tutorials, training data and videos have all been made publicly available here.

Good practices for sharing groundwater geospatial data

Good practices for sharing groundwater geospatial data
Good practices for sharing groundwater geospatial data

Commissioned by SADC-GMI and in cooperation with IHE Delft, IGRAC developed a report on ‘Good practices for sharing groundwater geospatial data’. This document addresses the sharing of geospatial data between organisations and individuals engaged in groundwater management and it provides a set of good practices to both data providers and data users to ensure that data are shared properly.

The document is structured in three sections. The first section covers interoperability issues between GIS programs and formats. The second section addresses the use of metadata, which are necessary for data users to know what data they are dealing with and how they can use it adequately. The third and last section presents how Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) can be implemented to facilitate the sharing of data within or among organisations.

Groundwater grey literature archive

The SADC-GLA is an online archive of groundwater literature in the SADC region. SADC-GMI tasked the British Geological Survey (BGS) and IGRAC to upgrade it. IGRAC engaged young professionals to collect additional documents in their countries, such as books, reports and scientific papers. 

SADC groundwater conference

The 3rd SADC Groundwater Conference was held in November. It was initially planned to take place n Windhoek, Namibia, but has eventually been transformed into a virtual conference. IGRAC presented the recently released version of the Groundwater Game. Created in 2008 the game was inspired by the tragedy of the commons applied to groundwater use and management in a rural context. In a setting where participants play the role of farmers exploring a common groundwater source. Players are challenged to decide on the best strategies to manage this common-pool resource and secure the highest profit from crop production.