Economic Growth and Water Security in the Sahel through Improved Groundwater Governance | CGESS

Approval Date
GEF approval: 28 November 2017

Project Duration
5 years (60 months: 2018 – 2023)

Countries of operations
Chad, Mali and Niger 

Financial & Technical Partners
GEF Agency: World Bank

Executing partners

  • Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS)
  • Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS)
  • IWMI 

Project Beneficiaries
Local, national and regional institutions responsible for the management of groundwater and surface water in the 3 countries concerned: Chad, Mali and Niger.

The regional project “Economic Growth and Water Security in the Sahel through Improved Groundwater Governance” has been designed to complement the Sahel Irrigation Initiative Support Project (SIIP). 

The overarching objective of the project is to contribute to water security and sustainable economic development in the Western Africa Sahel.

The specific Project Development Objective is to improve the knowledge on groundwater potential in the Sahel and to strengthen groundwater governance arrangements at local, national, and regional levels.

The proposed project will provide support to Chad, Mali, and Niger, because expansion of irrigation from groundwater is expected to be the highest in these countries, and therefore the importance of improving sustainable groundwater management practices is the most urgent. These three countries are currently exerting very low hydrological pressure on groundwater resources with less than 1 percent use of renewable groundwater resources according to some sources. Today, in Mali and Niger, groundwater use at the national level accounts for 4% and 2% respectively of agricultural water uses, and 28% in Chad, against between 30% and 45% in the other Sahel countries.

Besides the need to better quantify and map the usable groundwater resource, it is therefore also necessary to improve governance arrangements at all levels, to reduce the risk of over-abstraction and ensure an adequate allocation of the groundwater resource.

Indeed, in terms of transboundary groundwater governance, Memorandum of Understanding attempts exist but are not operational. 

On the other hand, the groundwater governance is negligible compared to surface water when it comes to the groundwater use for small and/or medium-scale irrigated agriculture (shallow aquifer) or at pilot dimension.

Project Status
Project being started at PPG step to develop the Project document (PRODOC) or the Project Appraisal Document (PAD)

Expected Outcomes

  • Outcome 1: Number of aquifers with improved assessments of their exploitable groundwater potential from a quality, quantity, and economic angle.
  • Outcome 2: Number of local participatory groundwater management plans developed.

Key outcome indicators will be refined during project preparation.