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Characteristics of the weathered basement aquifer in Malawi in relation to rural water supplies

Characteristics of the weathered basement aquifer in Malawi in relation to rural water supplies,P. J. CHILTON,A. K. SMITH-CARINGTON

Characteristics of the weathered basement aquifer in Malawi in relation to rural water supplies   (Citations: 8)
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Prolonged weathering of crystalline Basement Complex rocks in Central Africa has produced a layer of unconsolidated material which forms an extensive but relatively thin aquifer of low permeability. This is an important source of rural water supplies in Malawi. Potential yields are low, but the 0.25-0.5 1 s~ required for handpumps can be widely obtained where the saturated thickness is more than 10 m. Although the aquifer is relatively extensive, on a local scale, differences in bedrock mineralogy and structure produce significant variations in its physical and chemical characteristics. The distribution of permeability within the aquifer and its relationship to the fluctuating water table are important in determining the drought reliability of the aquifer. Occurrences of poor quality groundwater affect the acceptability of the water supplies and the costs of rural water supply projects. There are difficulties in estimating recharge to the weathered basement aquifer , but even at complete water supply coverage for the rural population the abstraction is only a small proportion of the annual recharge.
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