BRAVE reduces risk and improves water security resilience of rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa by combining better understanding and planning of groundwater supplies with practical communication and knowledge exchange at all levels, from individual smallholder farmers to national government and regional bodies.

In partnership with national and local government, NGOs and researchers, the BRAVE project is incorporating a new understanding of climate variability and observational capacity and its water resource impacts into the planning and operation of groundwater supplies in the Volta River Basin.

The Project enables sustainable use of groundwater to benefit the poorest communities in the Volta River Basin, by using a powerful combination of user-informed and science-based management tools, that are based on environmental modeling, historic and new environmental data, as well as on information regarding current and future user requirements (embedding existing socio-economic information and projected changes) and predicted available groundwater resources. This information is being carefully combined using meaningful Performance Indices. These indices, designed in partnership with smallholder communities in 2 provinces in Burkina Faso and 2 districts in Ghana, ensures they are relevant across a range of stakeholders needs and forms the core of a suite of decision-making management tools.

Direct engagement with rural smallholder farmers in Burkina Faso and Ghana will produce as well as translate model outputs into accessible long-term and seasonal groundwater planning tools and co-generate actionable information that directly improves the resilience of around 400,000 local people. The tools are based on an improved understanding of the land surface-aquifer-atmospheric interactions and access to data on resource status, made possible through knowledge sharing across decision-making bodies combined with community-based monitoring, facilitated by the boundary organization, AfClix. In doing so, the pilot case studies address connected problems of unsustainable land management, extreme weather events and low agricultural productivity. By providing farmer field training and information to promote local climatic adaptive capacity, the farmers become resilient to weather shocks. The pilots are participative and consultative, integrating national/local water resource planning departments, specialist institutes and partner NGOs. This ensures local needs are met, and capacity is built for sustainability and equitable groundwater resource management.

The BRAVE project is providing an essential ingredient for evidence-based mitigation and adaptation policies in sub-Saharan Africa. Through working directly with stakeholders through face-to-face meetings and the planned workshops in each country, we are developing water demand scenarios to inform the modelling, based on current domestic, agricultural and productive use needs, set within the context of the contemporaneous impacts on, for example, groundwater-based irrigation schemes in the River Volta Basin.