Bir Al-Nas approach

Bir Al-Nas approach (Bottom-up IntegRated Approach for sustainabLe grouNdwater mAnagement in rural areaS) is proposed as a way to better support groundwater management strategies tailored on the real needs and issues of local populations. 

The overall objective is meant to be achieved through an integrated hydrogeochemical and social analysis, finalized to obtain robust and reliable information for providing advice and support to integrated management practices for rural development. In Arabic bir al-nas means the “well of people” and emphasizes the effective inclusion of the social dimension into hydrogeological investigations.

The key aspect of the Bir Al Nas approach is the implementation of socio-economic assessment into hydrogeological and hydrogeochemical focused on the assessment of the impacts of human activities on groundwater quality and quantity. In practical terms this is done through:

  • A Stakeholder Analysis prior the hydrogeochemical and hydrogeological study. This analysis allows for the identification of the main actors involved in the studied groundwater issue, their power relations and possible existing conflicts among them.
  • The direct engagement and confrontation with final water users while performing the monitoring activities. This represents a moment for knowledge and information sharing that can facilitates a better understanding of local issues while also retrieving direct information on groundwater use.

The final outcomes are expected to be:

  • an increase of the awareness of groundwater issues from the rural community, eventually resulting in a more proactive behavior in terms of groundwater protection, and
  • a better understanding of local issues and needs, that will help bridging the gap between science and society.

It is possible to get people with different interests to cooperate on water if they
understand why it is necessary and that they will benefit. Achieving this common
understanding can be through a simple method such as sharing information. (GWP, 2013)

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