African Groundwater Literature Archive and Atlas

Access thousands of documents about African groundwater

A new Africa Groundwater Literature Archive enables users to search and freely access thousands of documents with valuable information from old and new projects across Africa.

The successful, sustainable development of groundwater resources in Africa is critical to the continent’s future economic and social improvement and food security. This depends, however, on reliable information on groundwater and hydrogeology, which in Africa – even though information often exists – is too often hard to find. The Africa Groundwater Literature Archive is tackling this, helping to make vital information easier to find and more accessible for everyone. 

The British Geological Survey (BGS), in collaboration with the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) Burdon Groundwater Network for Developing Countries, has developed a searchable online database of published and unpublished literature about groundwater in Africa, including reports, journal articles, conference papers, book sections and maps. The Archive indexes nearly 7000 references, including thousands of reports – often previously hard to access – with priceless information from groundwater exploration, research and development projects carried out by a wide range of organisations over many decades; thousands of published journal articles; and hundreds of books or book sections, conference papers and university research theses. As many as possible are freely available to download, so long as a digital copy exists and copyright restrictions allow. Where restrictions don't allow full text downloads – such as for non-open access journals – the Archive tries to provide URLs to document abstracts.

Every reference is attributed with supporting information. At a minimum, this includes the country or countries to which it relates, and thematic keywords describing the document content. Additionally, more than 1500 of the documents are georeferenced, and can be searched on a map.

The Archive is only a beginning. There are thousands more documents about groundwater in Africa, including valuable reports and articles that only exist in paper form. We would like to see even more essential information on African groundwater made accessible and searchable. If you know of relevant documents, especially if they are, or can be made, available digitally, please get in touch, and help us improve access to the kind of information that can make lives better.

The project was funded through the UPGro programme – Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor, which is funded by UK Aid, the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

More information

The Archive is available at

More background on the Archive is at

For more information and to get involved, please contact Brighid Ó Dochartaigh at


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