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Resilience in groundwater supply systems: integrating resource based approaches with agency, behaviour and choice

Healy, Adrian ORCID:, Upton, K., Bristow, Gillian ORCID:, Allan, Stuart ORCID:, Bukar, Y., Capstick, Stuart ORCID:, Danert, K., Furey, S., Goni, I., MacDonald, A., Theis, S., Tijani, M.N. and Whitmarsh, Lorraine ORCID: 2018. Resilience in groundwater supply systems: integrating resource based approaches with agency, behaviour and choice. Cardiff: Cardiff University. Available at:

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Access to safe and reliable water supplies is a key goal for households and governments across most of Africa. Groundwater reserves can play a critical role in achieving this, yet risks of contamination and over-abstraction threaten to undermine the resilience of this supply. A rapidly rising trend for privately-developed wells and boreholes raises additional concerns about the vulnerability of water supplies to natural or man-made environmental shocks. The potential scale of the situation is particularly marked in Nigeria where the use of boreholes has increased exponentially since 1999 (from 10% of the population to 38% in 2015), with most other forms of water supply, notably piped tap water, falling. Developing effective groundwater management approaches that build the resilience of communities is challenging, not least given the range of different actors involved, their competing interests and demands, and variations in the hydrogeological environment. Insights from resilience studies in social science emphasise how the resilience of ecological resources to shocks and change is critically linked to the adaptive capacity of social systems and their agents. Choices made now have long-lasting effects, yet these choices are little understood. Understanding the choices made by consumers, drillers and policy actors requires a strong interdisciplinary dimension and argues for new perspectives as to how the resilience of communities and societies might be built. The project brings together a unique interdisciplinary collaboration between academics from the UK and Nigeria working in the fields of economic geography, psychology, hydrogeology and journalism studies.

Item Type: Monograph (UNSPECIFIED)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Journalism, Media and Culture
Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: Cardiff University
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 February 2019
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2022 09:30

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