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Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS): Darcy Lecture

Darcy Lecture by Prof Stephen E. Silliman

Prof Stephen E. Silliman, Professor in Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences at the University of Notre Dam, delivered a Darcy Lecture at the IGS on Tuesday 8 November 2011.

Description: Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS) Keywords: Stephen E Silliman
Prof Stephen E. Silliman

Darcy Lecture 2011
Characterisation of a Complex, Sole-Source Aquifer System in Benin, West Africa

The Godomey wellfield is the sole source of fresh water for Cotonou, Benin. The Cotonou/Calavi area is the largest population centre in Benin, with an estimated population of between 1.5 and 2 million people. Located directly on the Atlantic coast, this population centre is also bordered by the southern and western shores of a large, shallow lake. Groundwater wells serving this population are located about 6 km north of the Atlantic coast and as close as 1 km to the western shore of the lake. With most production wells located within partially confined portions of this complex aquifer system, this water resource is threatened by contamination from saltwater intrusion (both from the lake and the ocean) and anthropogenic activities.

Collaboration among scientists and students from the United States and Benin has allowed development of increasing insight into the hydrogeology of this important coastal aquifer system. Research efforts discussed in this presentation include numerical modelling, hydraulic testing, water quality characterisation, and electrical resistivity surveys. Discussion of a number of technical and social/cultural issues encountered during this research effort illustrates the value of close cooperation with in-country collaborators, including those from both the technical and social science disciplines.

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