[Guest blog post by Laura Holliday]
Groundwater Relief (GWR) is a non-profit organisation whose aim is to support people who lack access to sufficient, safe, physically accessible water, around the world. We deliver this support by providing remote and field-based technical support to humanitarian and development organisations via an international membership of over 425 groundwater experts. GWR works on a variety of groundwater-related activities, including siting and drilling boreholes for water supply, making assessments of available groundwater resources, setting up groundwater monitoring programmes, and providing expert guidance and training. In 2021 we were involved in 15 projects across Syria, Yemen, Bangladesh, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Sierra Leone.
In November 2021, armed with their Water-to-Go bottles, a Groundwater Relief team consisting of a hydrogeologist and a geophysicist spent 4 weeks completing a groundwater resource assessment in South Sudan for an international non-governemntal organisation. Our work included using geophysical investigations (non-invasive exploration of what’s below the Earth’s surface by measuring and interpreting the Earth’s physical fields) to help identify potential borehole drilling targets. These could then be developed by the organisation to serve local rural communities who do not currently have sustainable access to clean and safe drinking water.
This particular geophysical investigation utilised a method called 2D Electrical Resistivity Tomography, which runs a current through the earth’s subsurface, identifying different geological layers by how resistant they are to the electrical current. This data can then be interpreted to identify the best place to drill. Whilst in South Sudan, the team frequently did not have access to clean, safe drinking water, and so relied heavily upon their Water-to-Go bottles to drink untreated local water. Considering we were working strenuous, long hours of fieldwork in 40oC heat, we would not have survived without them! The Water-To-Go bottles attracted a lot of attention from locals, as well as from engineers and WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) experts from around the world.
In 2022, we have plans to continue our work on water resource projects in Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Syria and Yemen, as well as several other new locations. We are also in the process of designing and developing a smartphone app that can be used alongside our Pocket Dipper (a low cost device for monitoring water levels), which we have plans to trial in the field in Sierra Leone and Bangladesh.
These devices will be used to help communities around the globe use and develop their groundwater resources more sustainably by enabling local communities to participate actively in long-term environmental groundwater monitoring and report on specific problems with water supply, which will be relayed to national water resource management authorities.
The work we carry out in linking hydrogeological expertise to water supply projects helps to alleviate poverty and sickness, as well as promoting general good health and wellness. As well as the incredible support of our expert members, we also rely on generous support from individual donors to ensure that our charity can continue to make such a positive impact on the development and management of groundwater resources around the world.
There are many ways which you can support us:
- Volunteer— join our technical membership of groundwater experts to engage your skills within our work;
- Donate— financial contributions help us to engage our voluntary membership of groundwater experts and develop our own projects and ideas. You can donate directly to us here.
- Whilst You Shop – through Amazon Smile or Easy Fundraising, at no extra cost to you.
- Spread the word: tell your friends, family and colleagues about our charity, work and ethos.