The National Integrated Water Information System (NIWIS) for geohydrology in South Africa

For the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) to better leverage the wealth of information being collected by various “silo” operational source water information systems, a high-priority initiative was launched to establish a National Integrated Water Information System (NIWIS), which currently consists of over 40 web-accessible dashboards including groundwater related dashboards mostly accessible to the public. Dispersed and disintegrated data and information stored in different sources and formats would hinder decision support in the water sector and deter improvement in service delivery by the DWS. The DWS undertook an extensive and rigorous business requirements analysis exercise within the DWS to ensure that the proposed system does not become a white elephant and facilitate the prioritization of system deliverables. A prototype (waterfall) approach was adopted to develop the NIWIS to ensure the development was still within the suggested business requirements. NIWIS has enabled mostly DWS managers to establish one trusted source of decision-making information for timeous, effective and efficient responses to service delivery. The number of NIWIS dashboards continues to grow as improved data-related business processes are adopted. The unavailability of reliable data from DWS data sources and the exclusion of business requirements from organizations external to DWS were identified as the main challenges to NIWIS disseminating comprehensive, credible information. Therefore, this paper aims to provide some details of the geohydrological information that NIWIS provides and seek feedback from this International Hydrogeologists community for further development of NIWIS.

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