In response to the capital-intensive and laborious process of obtaining water from the ground, exacerbated by the impacts of climate change on groundwater systems, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana has embarked on an innovative project utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to forecast water availability. Known as the Rapid Assessment of Groundwater Availability (RAGA), this one-year initiative aims to develop an AI-based system accessible to the public through smartphones and computers.
Dr. Cyril Boateng, the Principal Investigator from the Department of Physics at KNUST, explained the project objectives. "We seek to develop an innovative web-based artificial intelligence-driven open-source framework to predict groundwater availability in Ghana," he said. "We intend to achieve this aim by building a database of spatiotemporal hydrogeological and climate variables, developing AI algorithms for data integration and prediction, and creating an open-source web-based application for rapid groundwater availability assessment."
Collaboration between the Departments of Physics, Meteorology and Climate Science, Computer Science, and Geological Engineering at KNUST, the project involves key stakeholders such as the Water Resources Commission and the CSIR-Water Research Institute. By pooling their expertise, the project team aims to create a comprehensive and reliable system for predicting groundwater availability.
The Provost of the College of Science, Prof. Leonard Amekudzi, expressed his satisfaction with the project's potential to enhance the profiles of early-career researchers and foster collaborative research efforts. "The project is in collaboration with the College of Science, the College of Engineering, and CSIR, among others. The project team is mainly composed of early-career researchers, and it will, therefore, build their capacities," he noted. Prof. Amekudzi also emphasized the project's contribution to KNUST's agenda of conducting impactful research, particularly considering the critical importance of water accessibility in light of the illegal mining menace.
Furthermore, the RAGA project is part of the Responsible Artificial Intelligence Network for Climate Action in Africa (RAINCA) Hub, which receives funding from the Canadian International Development Center (IDRC) through three partner institutions: the West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL), the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), and AKADEMIYA2063.
By leveraging AI and advanced data analysis techniques, the RAGA project holds great potential to revolutionize the prediction of groundwater availability in Ghana. The web-based application developed through this initiative will empower stakeholders and the general populace by providing valuable insights into the country's groundwater resources. With climate change posing increasing challenges to water availability, this groundbreaking project demonstrates the proactive efforts of KNUST and its partners to address pressing environmental concerns through cutting-edge technology and interdisciplinary collaboration.