Borehole Drying: A Review of the Situation in the Voltaian Hydrogeological System in Ghana


Groundwater development for potable water supply for rural people in Africa especially in Ghana has in-creased significantly over the past decades. The area underlain by the Paleozoic sedimentary formation (Voltaian System) of the country in particular, has experienced this tremendous change. Groundwater in the study area is normally exploited through boreholes fitted mostly with hand pumps. Though the boreholes exhibit variable yields, most of them have yields greater than 13.5 l/min. Research carried out in the area suggests that there is modern and enough recharge, yet borehole drying is a problem especially those with low or marginal yields. A thorough review of the groundwater exploitation in the area, aimed at explaining the circumstances that might lead to these phenomena on the field, has been conducted. The review shows that boreholes with drill yields of usually <20 l/min, especially those drilled in the wet season, constitute the highest percentage of the dried boreholes. Other construction material such as the filter media may also in-fluence the drying process.

Share and Cite:

J. AKUDAGO, L. CHEGBELEH, M. NISHIGAKI, N. NANEDO, A. EWUSI and K. KANKAM-YEBOAH, "Borehole Drying: A Review of the Situation in the Voltaian Hydrogeological System in Ghana," Journal of Water Resource and Protection, Vol. 1 No. 3, 2009, pp. 153-163. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2009.13020.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] J. Kirchner, J. H. Moolman, H. M. du Plessis, and A. G. Reynders, “Causes and management of salinity in the Breede River Valley, South Africa,” Hydrogeology J. Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 98–108, 1997.
[2] L. Changing and Z. Shifeng, “Drying up of the yellow river: its impacts and counter-measures,” Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Chang, Vol. 7, pp. 203–214, 2003.
[3] DFID, “Addressing the water crisis: Healthier and more productive lives for poor people, strategies for achieving the international development targets,” Department for International Development, UK, 2001.
[4] A. M. MacDonald, J. Davies, and B. Dochartaigh, “Simple methods for assessing groundwater resources in low permeability areas of Africa,” British Geological Society, Nottingham, UK, 2002.
[5] S. B. O. Jallow, 4th World Water Forum, Mexico, 2008.
[6] B. A. Gleitsmann, M. M. Kroma, and T. Steenhuis, “Analysis of a rural water supply project in three communities in Mali: Participation and sustainability,” Natural Res. Forum, Vol. 31, pp. 142–150, 2007.
[7] P. A. Harvey, “Borehole sustainability in rural Africa: An analysis of routine field data,” People-Centred Approaches to Water and Environmental Sanitation in 30th WEDC International Conference, Vientiane, Lao PDR, 2004.
[8] World Bank, Performance Audit Report No. 16511, World Bank, Washington DC, 1997.
[9] D. Hazelton, “The development of community water supply systems using deep and shallow well handpumps,” Water Research Centre (WRC ) Report No. TT132/00, South Africa, 2000.
[10] DWD, “Overview of the water sector, reform, SWAP and financial issues,” Directorate of Water Development, Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment, Issue Paper 1, The Republic of Uganda, 2002.
[11] P. A. Harvey and R. A. Reed, “Rural water supply in Africa: Building blocks for handpump sustainability,” WEDC, Loughborough University, UK, 2004.
[12] D. E. Kromm and S. E. White, “Groundwater problems,” In: D. E. Kromm, White S. E., (Ed.), Groundwater exploitation in the High Plains, University of Kansas Press, Lawrence, Kansas, pp. 44–63, 1992.
[13] J. A. Ayamsegna and P. Amoateng-Mensah, “Well monitoring: World Vision’s experience in Ghana,” in 28th WEDC Conference on Sustainable Environmental Sanitation and Water Services, Kolkata (Calcutta), India, 2002.
[14] M. R. Llamas and P. Martinez-Santos, “Ethical issues in relation to intensive groundwater use,” In M. R. Liamas., E. Custoddio (Ed.), Intensive Use of Groundwater Challenges and Opportunities, Balkema Publishers, The Nertherlands, pp. 3–22, 2005.
[15] J. Samper, “Intensive use of groundwater in the European Union Water Framework Directive,” In: A. Sahuquillo, J. Capilla, L. Martinez-Cortina, X. Sanchez-Vila, (Ed.), Groundwater Intensive Use, A. A Balkema Publishers, Leiden, the Nertherlands, pp. 93–101, 2005.
[16] J. A. Akudago, K. Kankam-Yeboah, L. P. Chegbeleh, and M. Nishigaki, “Assessment of well design and sustainability in hard rock systems of northern Ghana,” Hydrogeology J., Vol. 15, pp. 789–797, 2007.
[17] Water Treatment, 2008.
[18] S. Y. Acheampong, D. Owusu, P. Gyau-Boakye, and N. B. Ayibotele, “Groundwater utilization in the Afram Plains,” International Report, Water Resources Research Institute, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Accra, 40pp, 2005.
[19] A. J. E. Cobbing and J. Davies, “Understanding problems of low recharge and low yield in boreholes: An example from Ghana,” In: D. Stephenson, E.M. Shemang, T. R. Chaoka (Ed.), Water resources of arid areas, A. A Balkema Publishers, London, UK, 2004.
[20] C. Anani, “Sandstone petrology and provenance of the Neoproterozoic Voltaian Group in the southeastern Voltaian Basin, Ghana,” Sedimentary Geol., Vol. 128, pp. 83–98, 1999.
[21] S. Y. Acheampong and J. W. Hess, “Origin of the shallow groundwater system in the Southern Voltaian Sedimentary basin of Ghana: An isotopic approach,” J. Hydrol., pp. 233, 37–53, 2000.
[22] N. Martin and N. van de Giesen, “Spatial distribution of groundwater production and development potential in the Volta River basin of Ghana and Burkina Faso,” Water Int., Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 239–249, 2005.
[23] A. Lutz, J. M. Thomas, G. Pohll, and W. A. McKay, “Groundwater resource sustainability in the Nabogo Basin of Ghana,” J African Earth Sci., Vol. 49, pp. 61–70, 2007.
[24] C. A. Kwei, “Evaluation of groundwater potential in the northern region of Ghana,” Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Accra, Ghana, 1997.
[25] G. O. Kesse, “The mineral and rock resources of Ghana,” A. A Balkema, Rotterdam, 1985.
[26] G. Limited, “Hydrogeological study for borehole siting, training and methodology. 350 Borehole programme in Yendi and East Mamprusi districts,” Northern Region Rural Integrated Programme, Ghana, 1991.
[27] L. P. Chegbeleh, J. A. Akudago, M. Nishigaki, and S. N. K. Edusei, “Electromagnetic geophysical survey for groundwater exploration in the Voltaian of northern Ghana”, J. Environmental Hydrology, Vol. 17, Paper 9, 2009.
[28] P. S. GMBH, “The 30 well drilling project,” Internal Report, Catholic Diocese of Accra, 1984.
[29] P. K. Darko, “Prevailing transmissivity of hard rocks in Ghana,” J The Ghana Sci. Assoc., Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 26–35, 2002.
[30] D. K. Buckley, “Report on advisory visit to water aid projects in Ghana,” Unpublished Report, British Geological Survey, Hydrogeology Research Group, Wallingford, 1986.
[31] W. B. Apambire, D. R. Boyle, and F. A. Michel, “Geochemistry, genesis and health implications of fluoriferous groundwaters in the upper regions of Ghana,” Environmental Geol., Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 13–24, 1997.
[32] J. Ricolvi, “Selected case studies: Burkina Faso,” In: J. Llyod, (Ed), Water Resources of Hard Rock Aquifers in Arid and Semi-Arid Zones, Paris, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, pp. 262–275, 1999.
[33] W. Apambire, “Geochemical modeling and geomedical implications of fluoriferous groundwaters in the upper east region of Ghana,” Unpublished Dissertation, University of Nevada, Reno, 2000.
[34] S. Dapaah-Siakwan and P. Gyau-Boakye, “Hydrogeologic framework and borehole yields in Ghana,” Hydrogeology J., Vol. 8, pp. 405–416, 2000.
[35] Community Water and Sanitation Division of Ghana Water and Sewerage Corporation, “National community water and sanitation programme, policy, strategy and guide lines,” Accra, Ghana, 1996.
[36] S. Veerapaneni and M. R. Wiesner, “Deposit morphology and head loss development in porous media”, Environmental Sci. and Tech., Vol. 31, pp. 2738–2744, 1997.
[37] S. Ishida, M. Kotoku, E. Abe, M. A. Fazal, T. Tsuchihara, and M. Imaizumi, “Construction of subsurface dams and its impact on the environment,” In: International Conference on Groundwater in Geological Engineering, Bled, Slovennia, September 2003.
[38] D. C. Mays and J. R. Hunt, “Hydrodynamic aspects of particle clogging in porous media,” Environmental Sci. and Tech., Vol. 39, pp. 577–584, 2005.
[39] J. A. Akudago, M. Nishigaki, L. P. Chegbeleh, M. A. Alim, M. Komatsu, and K. Kumamaru, “State of the art on filter design and particle clogging; and proposed new numerical approach to redesign,” J. Faculty of Environmental Sci. and Tech. Okayama University, Japan, Vol. 13, pp. 63–66, 2008.
[40] J. A. Akudago, M. Nishigaki, L. P. Chegbeleh, M. A. Alim, and M. Komatsu, “Filter choice and its relation to well construction and sustainability in rural water supply,” In: Proceedings of the 36th Congress of International Association of Hydrogeolosist, Toyama, Japan, October 26-November 2, 2008.
[41] Ghana Statistical Services, “Summary report of final results, 2000 population and housing census,” Ghana Statistical Services, Accra, Ghana, 2002.
[42] CIA World Fact Book, 2008. g.aspx?c =gh&v=2 “Personal communication,” Department of Geology and Mineral Sciences, University of Ilorin, Nigeria.
[43] S. M. A. Adelana, Personal Communication, Department of Geology and Mineral Sciences, University of Ilorin, Nigeria.
[44] M. Giordano, “Agricultural groundwater use and rural livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa: A first-cut assessment,” Hydrogeology J., Vol. 14, pp. 310–318, 2006.
[45] K. Terzaghi and R. Peck, “Soil mechanics in engineering practice,” John Wiley and sons Inco., New York, 1948.
[46] T. Kenney, R. Chachal, E. Chiu, G. Ofoegbu, G. Omange, and C. A. Ume, “Controlling constriction sizes of granular filters,” Canadian Geotechnical J., Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 32–43, 1985.
[47] B. Indraratna and A. K. Raut, “Enhanced criterion for base retention in embankment dam filters,” J Geotechical and Geoenvironmental Engg., pp. 1621–1627, ASCE December 2006.
[48] J. L. Sherard, L. P. Dunnigan, and J. R. Talbot, “Basic properties of sand and gravel filters,” J. Geotechnical Engg., Vol. 110, No. 6, pp. 684–700, 1984

Copyright © 2021 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.