by Michelle Ng
Groundwater is notoriously difficult to manage. One cannot easily see how much is available, who is using it, how much they are using, whether it is polluted, and so on. What, then, can rural communities do to prevent groundwater misuse, with its dire consequences for rural livelihoods?
A new IWMI study conducted in Ethiopia with support from REACH, proposes a citizen science approach to community-based monitoring of groundwater that could both improve governance, while also empowering women. The study conveys an apt message for the International Day of Rural Women, underscoring their valuable contribution to sustainable development. The study also underlines the intricate connections between groundwater and multiple sustainable development goals (SDGs), including SDG 2 (zero hunger) – the focus of World Food Day on October 16 – as well as SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 13 (climate action), and others.