Groundwater in the West Coast has been utilised for many years as there are not many surface water resources in the area, and is therefore extremely important. Despite studies being conducted on the aquifer systems since 1976, they are still poorly understood especially with regards to their recharge and discharge processes. This means that the amount of water entering and leaving these systems are unknown, which may lead to over abstraction. It is therefore important to investigate these systems to prevent overexploitation of the groundwater as it will have adverse effects for both humans and ecosystems dependent on it. As part of a managed aquifer recharge (MAR) project for the Saldanha Bay Municipality, this study aims at providing better insight and understanding on the natural resource volumes. The study focusses on groundwater recharge, flow paths and discharge processes and aims at quantifying the volume of water related to each. The study will be conducted by identifying aquifer characteristics through Frequency Domain Electromagnetic and Electrical resistivity geophysical methods. Groundwater flow paths through the unsaturated zone, into the groundwater and towards the discharge area will be determined using Chloride Mass Balance calculations and water isotope analyses. The mass balance equations along with isotope analyses will then aid in the identification of natural recharge and discharge areas of the West Coast aquifer systems, as well as quantifying the volume of water moving through each aquifer. Temperature profiles will also be generated to identify specific layers of the aquifer systems and to determine their groundwater-surface water interactions. The aquifer characteristics will be used in numerical models to test the conceptual understanding of recharge and flow through the systems as well as assessing the volumes of water available to the users of the system.
West Coast Aquifer Systems