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Patron: Her Majesty the Queen


The Royal Scottish Society of Arts
Showcasing Scotland's Science, Technology and Innovation

3rd Meeting of the 185th Session (2005-2006)

African groundwater: the saviour of a continent?

Dr Alan MacDonald
Senior Hydrogeologist
British Geological Survey

In the Wolfson Suite, Ground Floor
Edinburgh University Library
George Square, Edinburgh
On Monday 23rd January 2006, at 7 pm

There are 1.1 billion people around the world who don't have access to safe drinking water. Many of these people live in rural areas of Africa and are among the poorest and most vulnerable on Earth. Access to clean water can have many benefits in reducing poverty: improving health and gender equality, increasing the potential for productive uses of time, and better education for children - particularly girls.

In many African communities, water can be found below the ground, stored in the soil and rocks. Successfully developing this groundwater, through drilling boreholes or digging wells, is the only feasible way of providing safe, reliable water supplies. However scaling up the development of groundwater to help meet the Millennium Development Goals is not straightforward and can present significant challenges. Many scientific issues are still unresolved - such as the natural occurrence of toxins such as Fluoride and Arsenic, locating good sites for wells and boreholes and the future impact of climate change. Only with good science and the sustained support of African water professionals can progress be made.

Dr Alan MacDonald is a senior hydrogeologist at the British Geological Survey and Chair of the International Association of Hydrogeologists commission for developing countries. He specialises in developing simple effective techniques for exploiting groundwater resources for community water supplies in Africa.

Location of meeting

Society Business

The President, Professor Anthony Busuttil, will be in the Chair

Members of the Public are welcome to attend

Jane Ridder-Patrick, Secretary

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