Conceptualization of the hydrogeological system of some sedimentary aquifers in Savelugu–Nanton and surrounding areas, Northern Ghana


Correspondence to: Sandow Yidana, Department of Earth Science, University of Ghana.



Groundwater resources play a pivotal role in the rural water delivery system in Ghana. The hydrogeological system of Middle Voltaian terrain was simulated using available data on hydraulic heads and boundary conditions. The objective was to characterize the general groundwater flow pattern and provide local estimates of the distribution of hydraulic conductivity and recharge fields. The results suggest a predominant NE–SW flow direction, which ties in with the general regional structural trend and indicates that the hydrogeological conditions of the rocks are controlled by structural entities created in the wake of fracturing and/or weathering of the rocks whose primary permeabilities are considerably reduced because of high compaction and low-grade metamorphism. Calibrated hydraulic conductivities range between 1.90 and 10.81 m/d. The spatial distribution appears to reflect the intensity of fracturing and/or weathering of the rock and the proportion of the clay fraction of the weathered zone. Vertical groundwater recharge has been estimated to range between 0.3% and 4.1% of the annual rainfall. This recharge rate is quite low and reflects the imperviousness of the thick overburden because of high clay content in some places and high compaction in others. Despite this apparently low recharge rate, groundwater resources potential in the area appear to be high, and increased abstraction from existing abstraction wells by up to 50% does not appear to register significant effects on groundwater budgets at the simulated recharge rates. This suggests that the well yields are much lower than the potential of the aquifer system. The apparently low yields might be associated with poor well development and the choice of inappropriate well completion materials. This study recommends a monitoring system to be developed for a much more regional groundwater flow simulation under transient conditions. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.