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Project information

Rapid Response Unit

We are seeking to set up a Rapid Response Unit to enable the deployment of experts with specialist equipment at short notice to support groundwater works in emergencies. Currently this work is usually undertaken by non experts resulting in many well failures to the detriment of vulnerable people.

1 year

Charity information: Groundwater Relief

Groundwater Relief logo
  • Need


    Over 30% of groundwater-based water sources in sub-Saharan Africa have failed within a few years of construction. The World Bank has estimated that water supply failure in Africa over the past 20 years has cost more than $1.2 billion.

    In an emergency situation, such as a refugee crisis, a lack of groundwater expertise can lead to poorly sited and constructed water points, environmental damage, non-functioning infrastructure and broken promises. This is the challenge we face.


    Groundwater Relief's Rapid Response Unit will provide hydrogeological expertise to support humanitarian organisations to develop more successful and sustainable groundwater resources to those in crisis worldwide.

    The involvement of groundwater expertise, early in an emergency humanitarian response will greatly reduce the waste of finances. Groundwater Relief is in a unique position globally to co-ordinate a Rapid Response Unit with 230 members based in 25 countries, speaking 33 languages.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Improve the process of well siting, drilling and management of groundwater resources in emergencies


    » Deploy experienced groundwater experts with equipment to support and advice on hydrogeological tasks to access safe drinking water in an emergency.

    What success will look like

    By the quality of work and successful wells produced with the input of hydrogeological experts and the better use of financial resources through the involvement of hydrogeologists.

  • Impact


    Hopefully over time, through the demonstration of successful well production by engaging experienced groundwater experts, the humanitarian sector will commonly engage hydrogeologists to advise on groundwater related problems. This will lead to less failure of wells due to better sitting, installation, development and better aquifer management which will in turn mean the humanitarian sector is more effective with less financial resources wasted and more sustainable groundwater resources.


    Safety of of Rapid Response Unit members is our priority and we therefore provide full travel, medical and emergency evacuation insurance.


    On completion a Rapid Response Unit project an evaluation report will be produced including successes, failures, lessons learnt, finances, etc.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £250,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £200,000 Equipment procurement Geophysical instruments to assist borehole siting.
      £50,000 Professional support To enable us to train, co-ordinate and mobilise groundwater professionals to emergency situations.
  • Background




    The most poor and vulnerabe in the world seeking to access clean drinking water in emergency situations.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are an organisation supported by a membership of over 200 hydrogeologists and groundwater professionals. Our members work within water utilities, mineral extraction companies, environmental consultancies, oil and gas companies, government and educational institutions from across the globe. Our members join us to utilise and volunteer their skills and knowledge to support the sustainable development of groundwater resources for the world's poorest and most vulnerable people.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Geraint Burrows

    Geraint is the founder and CEO of Groundwater Relief.

    Caroline Chestnutt

    Caroline will be the Rapid Response Unit cooordinator.