Christina Fraser, PhD Candidate

Christina Fraser Christina Fraser is a PhD research student at the University of Strathclyde assessing the transboundary aquifers of Malawi and the wider Southern African Development Community. She has a particular interest in developing methodologies and frameworks to assist in transboundary aquifer assessments alongside the validation and conceptualisation of these groundwater bodies through groundwater modelling to assist with policy creation. Her research is aimed towards assisting Malawi and its surrounding countries to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 through effective groundwater management of their transboundary aquifers. 

Christina has a geological background through her undergraduate degree and extensive field experience both in Scotland and Africa.

Christina Fraser.jpg

Transboundary Aquifer Assessments at the National Scale to Support Cross-Border Sustainable Integrated Water Resource Management

Research overview

Worldwide, water use is increasing due to growing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) demands. Africa is heavily reliant upon groundwater, including transboundary groundwater, with an estimated 75% of its population dependent on this resource for basic water supplies (Altchenko and Villholth, 2013). Investment in reliable water supplies will continue to depend on the development of groundwater resources. This may include the exploitation of transboundary aquifers (TBA’s) (Giordano 2009, MacDonald and Calow 2009). If exploitation of these aquifers exists without proper sustainable utilization and management in mind, there could be significant consequences for all parties including deletion of the recourse which will have knock-on effects for the local economy, the environment and the people replying on the resource for livelihood and life.

 

Many countries are now recognising the importance of TBA identification as a contribution to. They are assessing key TBAs, most often identified through regional initiatives. However, these aquifer systems are laterally extensive and this mode of assessment may fail to resolve the potentially more local transboundary issues where more local minor aquifer assessments become more valid. There is a need for countries to develop a TBA assessment strategy that systematically screens its entire national border at relevant scales. This will then allow for identification of a country’s groundwater resources that are most vulnerable to TBA influence and cross-border flows.

In the wet season in Malawi (left), Groundwater & rain feeds the river. In the dry season (right), Groundwater sustains river flow

 

The Mwanza river, one of many rivers in Malawi which sustains life. The upstream section of the river enjoys high flows (left), however the lower section dry's up for periods of time due to decreased groundwater levels (right)

 

Research outputs

Extra activities

  • Alongside completing her PhD, Christina is also a teaching assistant for the MSc Hydrogeology course assisting with course development, marking, field work and tutorial lecturing for both full time and distance learning students. She is currently assisting with the Aquifer Mechanics, Hydrogeology and Global Water Policy modules of the masters degree.

  • Christina is currently also working as a research assistant for the Shire CONWAT Project lead by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

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