Demonstration projects for groundwater governance, South Africa

South Africa relies heavily on surface water for its water supply, and with the prolonged droughts in south Africa, water shortage is becoming a more frequent problem.

One solution is the utilisation of groundwater resources. With more demonstration projects initiated by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, Danish groundwater experts assist their South African counterparts in developing techniques, good governance, funding models and guidelines for the mapping and utilisation of groundwater resources. In the projects, focus is on the sustainable use of groundwater, which will contribute to a more secure water supply.

In Cape Town there was a feasibility study regarding augmenting the water supply with private boreholes, mapping for new well fields and enhancing the groundwater resource with artificial recharge (MAR). Based on site visits, the quality of the boreholes was found to be very varying and often the boreholes were too shallow for long-term groundwater development. In parallel to the technical approach, there has been an investigation into the legislation regarding the possibility for the public water supply to gain access to boreholes on private lands. These investigations have shown that several options are available, but with the current legislation, it is crucial that the private landowner gives consent. In another project, a detailed geological and hydrological model has been developed in the uThukela municipality in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province using the Danish groundwater mapping approach. The model was used to identify potential locations and dimensioning new wellfields, without violating the design criteria on groundwater drawdown.

Contributors: Danish Environmental Protection Agency, Ramboll, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Primary contact
Carsten Møberg Laren

Case location

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