Conference Abstracts

All Abstracts were presented at the Groundwater Conferences

Displaying 1 - 50 of 795 results
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Abstract

South Africa utilizes coal for energy and chemical feedstock thereby generating millions of tons of ash every year. The ash is stockpiled in surface waste facilities where it poses a risk of leaching and contaminating groundwater. This study utilizes standard leaching tests, TLCP and SPLP, to evaluate and predict the mobility of different elements that leach from fly ash. Two different fly ash samples (Ash M and Ash T) were used in the study. A QEMSCAN analysis was also performed on the samples as well as the coal to determine the elementary and mineralogical compositions. Both Ash samples were generated from bituminous coals and had similar physical properties. Both ash samples were mixed respectively with the two different leachates one more acidic (Leachate A) the other more basic (Leachate B). Trace elements are present in ash in small amounts, but still at lower levels still pose threat to the environment and human health. Only three trace elements were found present in both ash samples. The detected trace elements in an increasing concentration order are: Manganese>Chromium>Copper. It appears the leaching behaviour of these trace elements is similar to the other metals, being insoluble at near neutral and alkaline pH range while dissolvable at low pH ranges. The results show that Leachate B was found to extract more material than Leachate A on a milligrams per gram of ash basis. The risk to groundwater contamination can be minimized by understanding the leaching dynamics and water retention of fly ash dumps as the results show.

Abstract

Gold Mining activities the past 60 years at AngloGold Ashanti polluted the groundwater underlain by 4000 ha of land at the Vaal River and West Wits operations in South Africa. Sulphide material in Tailings Storage Facilities, Waste Rock Dumps and extraction plants produce Saline Mine Drainage with Sulphate, minor salts and metals that seep to the groundwater and ultimately into surface water resources. Water regulation requires mines to prevent, minimise/ reduce or eliminate pollution of water resources. The waste philosophy has matured from tolerate and transfer to treat and termination of pollution sources. The impact of the pollution was determined and possible technologies to treat the impact were evaluated. Source controls of proper water management by storm water management, clean dirty water separation, lined water conveyance structures and reduced deposition of water on waste facilities is crucial. The aquifer character determines the possible remediation technology. From the possible technologies phytoremediation, physical interception and re-use of this water was selected. In future possible treatment of the water would be considered. This paper explain the strategy and report on the phased implementation of these plans and the expected results. The establishment of 750 ha of woodlands as phytoremediation, interception trenches of 1250 m, 38 interception boreholes and infrastructure to re-use this water in 10 water management areas is planned. The total volume of 15 Ml/day would be abstracted for re-use from the boreholes and trenches. The woodlands can potentially attenuate and treat 5 ml/day. The established woodlands of 150 ha proof successful to intercept diffused seep over the area of establishment and reduce the water level and base flow. The 2 implemented trenches of 1000 m indicate a local decline in the water level with interception of shallow groundwater within 1-2 m from surface. The 2 production interception well fields abstracting 50 and 30 l/s respectively indicate a water level decline of between 2 to 14 m with regional cones of depression of a few hundred meters to intercept groundwater flow up to 20 meter. Predictions from groundwater modelling indicate that these schemes can minimise pollution during the operational phase and protect downstream water resources. Predictions from modelling indicate that the pollution sources need to be removed to ensure long term clean-up to return the land to save use. The gold and uranium prize is securing the removal of the sources through re-processing of the tailings and waste rock dumps. After removal of the sources of pollution the remediation schemes would have to be operated for 20 years to return the groundwater to an acceptable standard of stock watering and industrial water use. The water quality is observed by a monitoring network of approximately 100 observation boreholes.

Abstract

This paper describes the results of study aimed at consolidating the available data sources on deep aquifers and deep groundwater conditions in South Africa. The study formed part of the larger WRC Project K5/2434 (Characterisation and Protection of Potential Deep Aquifers in South Africa). Since very little is known about the aquifer conditions below depths of 300 m, all groundwater information from depths greater than 300 m was considered to represent the deep aquifer systems. Various confirmed and potential sources of data on deep aquifers and groundwater conditions were identified and interrogated during this study, namely:

1. Boreholes of the International Heat Flow Commission (IHFC). The IHFC database indicates the location of 39 deep boreholes ranging in depth from 300 to 800 m, with an average depth of 535 m.
2. The Pangea database of the International Council for Science (ICSU). The Pangea database has information on 119 boreholes in South Africa, of which 116 are deeper than 300 m.
3. A database on deep boreholes at the Council for Geoscience (CGS). This database contains information on 5 221 boreholes with depths exceeding 300 m.
4. Information on the deep SOEKOR boreholes drilled during the 1960s and 1970s (at least 38 boreholes).
5. Information on deep boreholes from the database of the Petroleum Agency SA.
6. The National Groundwater Archive (NGA) of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS).
7. Information derived from the thermal springs in South Africa.
8. Boreholes drilled as part of the Karoo Research Initiative (KARIN).
9. Information on the locations and depths of underground mines in South Africa. Information on the occurrence of deep groundwater could potentially be obtained from these mines.

The study shows that, although information on a vast number of deep groundwater sites is listed in the various databases, the data relevant to the geohydrological conditions are scant at most sites. This paucity of geohydrological data implies that the deep aquifers of South Africa are currently poorly understood.

Abstract

Two ventilation shafts were proposed to be excavated to depths of 100 and 350 m to intersect an underground mine, in the Bushveld Complex. The area is made up of fractured aquifers and the assignment was to identify the exact positions of the permeable zones within the shafts profiles as well as estimate the groundwater inflow rates at every 5 m interval along the shafts profiles. The project was budget and time constrained and therefore the preferred hydrogeological characterisation techniques, particularly the percussion drilling, aquifer testing and numerical modelling could not be conducted. The study was completed by conducting packer tests in HQ sized holes drilled at the exact positions of the proposed shafts. The packer test data was then interpreted using Thiem equation, a modification of Darcy Equation for radial flow, to estimate the steady state inflow rates into the shafts. Transient state flow is more challenging to calculate analytically, as it is time and aquifer storage dependent. However, transient state flow in shafts exists for the first 10 - 15 days only and is short lived. Thereafter, a steady state flow occurs where the rate is nearly fixed for the rest of the life of mine, unless new external stresses, such as mine dewatering, takes place within the radius of influence. Six months later the shafts were excavated and the permeable zones were encountered at the exact positions as predicted using the packer testing. In addition, the inflow rates calculated using analytical modelling was successful in estimating the inflow rates recorded after the shafts were excavated. The packer testing and analytical modelling was therefore effective in assisting the mine to plan the necessary pumps and management plans within the allocated budget and timeframe.

Abstract

Vapour intrusion (VI) is recognized to drive human health risk at numerous sites that have been contaminated by petroleum products and other volatile contaminants. The risks related to VI are typically evaluated using direct measurement (vapour sampling) or modelling methods. ERM has developed a toolbox approach using a combination of exclusion distance criteria, direct measurement and modelling methods to assess risks and achieve closure. For direct measurement, samples of vapour are taken beneath the floor slab of buildings (sub-slab sampling) or from the air inside the buildings (indoor air sampling). Modelling methods are often used to estimate the partitioning of volatile contaminants from soil or groundwater sources into the vapour phase and the subsequent transport of vapours from the subsurface environment into habitable buildings. A limitation of modelling approaches is that they are designed to be conservative to be adequately protective of sensitive receptors. VI models also do not typically take into account the degradation of hydrocarbon vapours in the presence of oxygen, which has been found to be a significant process for petroleum hydrocarbons. The authors have compiled a dataset of petroleum vapour and groundwater results from over 50 petroleum release sites in southern Africa. These data were used to develop exclusion distance criteria for vapours emitted from contaminated groundwater sources (i.e. distance from the source at which sufficient aerobic attenuation has occurred for the VI risk to be negligible). A standard "lines of evidence" approach has been applied to the assessment of VI risk by firstly applying the exclusion distance criteria to sites with groundwater contaminant plumes beneath buildings, and if these are met, the sites are considered to have no unacceptable VI risk. Where exclusion screening criteria are not met, risk is estimated using modelling, and if a potential risk is predicted, then direct sub-slab measurements are taken to more accurately assess the risk. Lastly, where sub-slab assessment predicts a potential VI risk, indoor vapour measurement are taken to evaluate actual risk, taking into account interferences from other sources and background levels of contaminants. Mitigating measures can then be applied as appropriate. Various case studies will be presented including direct measurements at industrial and residential sites overlying contaminant plumes and modelling methods at residential properties adjacent to service station sites. A risk-based approach to the assessment of contaminated land provides a sustainable and cost effective methodology, and also avoids unnecessary remediation. The results show that VI risks can be adequately addressed with a toolbox approach using multiple lines of evidence.

Abstract

Hydrogeological environments are commonly determined by the type of underlying geology; these environments may have a tremendous effect on the mobility and recovery of LNAPLs.  Hydrogeological environment include intergranular sediments and bedrocks of contrasting permeability and porosity. This paper synthesizes several case studies and conceptual models of different hydrological environments and illustrates how they affect the flow characteristics and rebound of LNAPLs.

Abstract

Estimating groundwater recharge response from rainfall remains a major challenge especially in arid and semi-arid areas where recharge is difficult to quantify because of uncertainties of hydraulic parameters and lack of historical data. In this study, Chloride Mass Balance (CMB) method and Extended model for Aquifer Recharge and soil moisture Transport through unsaturated Hardrock (EARTH) model were used to estimate groundwater recharge rates. Groundwater chemistry data was acquired from the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and Global Project Management consultants, while groundwater samples were collected to fill-in the identified gaps. These were sent to Council for Geoscience laboratory for geochemical analysis. Rainfall samples were also collected and sent for geochemical analysis. An average value of rainfall chloride concentration, average groundwater chloride concentration and mean annual precipitation (MAP) were used to estimate recharge rate at a regional scale. Local scale recharge was also calculated using chloride concentration at each borehole. The results were integrated in ArcGIS software to develop a recharge distribution map of the entire area. For EARTH model, long term rainfall and groundwater levels data were acquired from the South Africa Weather Services and DWS, respectively. Soil samples were collected at selected sites and analysed. These were used to determine representative values of specific yield to use on EARTH model. 60% of the groundwater levels data for 5 boreholes was used for model calibration while the remaining 40% was used for model validation. The model performance was evaluated using coefficient of determination (R2), correlation coefficient (R), Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) and Mean square error (MSE). Regional recharge rates of 12.1 mm/a (equivalent to 1.84% of 656 mm/a MAP) and 30.1 mm/a (equivalent to 4.6% MAP) were calculated using rainfall chloride concentrations of 0.36 and 0.9 mg/L, respectively. The estimated local recharge rates ranged from 0.9-30.2 mm/a (0.14 - 4.6%) and 2 - 75 mm/a (0.3 - 11.4%) using chloride concentration of 0.9 and 0.36 mg/L, respectively. The average recharge rate estimated using EARTH model is 6.12% of the MAP (40.1 mm/a). CMB results were found to fall within the same range with those obtained in other studies within the vicinity of the study area. The results of EARTH model and CMB method were comparable. The computed R2, R, RMSE and MSE ranged from 0.47-0.87, 0.68-0.94, 0.04-0.34, 0.16-3.16, and 0.50-0.79, 0.68-0.89, 0.07-0.68, 0.15-8.78 for calibration and validation, respectively. This showed reasonable and acceptable model performance. The study found that there is poor response of groundwater levels during rainy season which is likely to be due to lack of preferential flows between surface water and groundwater systems. This has resulted in poor relationship between estimated and observed groundwater levels during rainfall season.

Key words: ArcGIS, CMB, EARTH, Groundwater recharge, rainfall

Abstract

Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) is an emerging, in-situ mining technology that has the advantage to access a low cost energy source that is currently classified as not technically or economically accessible by means of conventional mining methods. As such it offers significant potential to dramatically increase the world's non-recoverable coal resource.

Groundwater monitoring in the South African mining industry for conventional coal mining as an example, is well established, with specific SANS, ASTM and ISO Standards dedicated for the specific environment, location and purposes. In South Africa a major impact of the coal mining industry can be a reduction in the groundwater quantity and quality. South-Africa's groundwater is a critical resource that provides environmental benefits and contributes to the well-being of the citizens and the economic growth. Groundwater supplies the drinking water needs of a large portion of the population; in some rural areas it represents the only source of water for domestic use. Utilization and implementation of groundwater monitoring programs are thus non-negotiable.

The groundwater quality management mission, according to the Department of Water and Sanitation in South-Africa, is set in the context of the water resources mission and is as follows:

"To manage groundwater quality in an integrated
and sustainable manner within the context of the National
Water Resource Strategy and thereby to provide an
adequate level of protection to groundwater resources
and secure the supply of water of acceptable quality."

The scope of this paper is to propose an implemention strategy and a fit-for-purpose groundwater monitoring program for any Underground Coal Gasification commercial operation. It is thus important to pro-actively prevent or minimise potential impacts on groundwater through long-term protection and monitoring plans. A successful monitoring program is one that consists of
(1) an adequate number of wells, located at planned and strategic points;
(2) sufficient groundwater sampling schedules; and
(3) a dedicated monitoring program and quality control standard.

In order to have an efficient monitoring program and to prevent unnecessary analysis and costs, it is also critical to determine upfront what parameters have to be monitored for the specific process and site conditions.

Abstract

Three dimensional numerical flow modelling has become one of the best tools to optimise and management wellfields across the world. This paper presents a case study of simulating an existing wellfield in an alluvial aquifer directly recharged by a major perennial river with fluctuating head stages. The wellfield was originally commissioned in 2010 to provide a supply of water to a nearby Mine. Ten large diameter boreholes capable of abstracting ±2 000 m3 /hour were initially installed in the wellfield. The numerical groundwater flow model was used to evaluate if an additional 500 m3 /hour could be sustainably abstract from the alluvial aquifer system. A probabilistic river flow assessment and surface water balance model was used to quantify low and average flow volumes for the river and used to determine water availability in the alluvial aquifer over time. Output generated indicated that the wellfield demand only exceeded the lowest 2% (98th percentile) of measured monthly river flow over a 59 year period, thereby proving sufficient water availability. Conceptual characterisation of the alluvial aquifer was based on previous feasibility studies and monitoring data from the existing hydrogeological system. Aquifer parameters was translated into the model discretisation grid based on the conceptual site model while the MODFLOW River package was used to represent the river. Actual river stage data was used in the calibration process in addition to water levels of monitoring boreholes and pump tests results. The input of fluctuating river water levels proved essential in obtaining a low model error (RMSE of 0.3). Scenario modelling was used to assess the assurance of supply of the alluvial aquifer for average and drought conditions with a high confidence and provided input into further engineering designs. Wellfield performance and cumulative drawdown were also assessed for the scenario with the projected additional yield demand. Scenario modelling was furthermore used to optimise the placement of new boreholes in the available wellfield concession area.

Abstract

Environmental isotope techniques have been successfully applied in the field of hydrogeology over the last couple of decades and have proved useful for understanding groundwater systems. This paper describes a study of the environmental isotopes for Oxygen (18O) and Hydrogen (1H, 2H-Deutrium, 3H-Tritium) obtained from various points in and around the underground coal gasification (UCG) site in Majuba, South Africa. UCG is an alternative mining method, targeting deep coal seams that are regarded as uneconomical to mine. The process extracts the energy by gasifying the coal in-situ to produce a synthetic gas that can be used for various applications. The site consists of shallow, intermediate and deep aquifer systems at a depth of 70m, 180 and 300m respectively. The intermediate aquifer is further divided into the upper and lower aquifer systems.
Samples were taken from each aquifer system together with supplementary samples from the Witbankspruit and an on-site water storage dam. A total of 15 samples were submitted for isotope analyses. By investigating the various isotopic signatures from all the samples taken, it will be possible to determine if there are similar or contrasting isotopic compositions by deducing possible water source for each sample due to isotopic fractionation caused by physical, chemical and biological processes. This will also be supported by deducing the mean residence time (MRT) for each water source sampled based on the Tritium data as well as the chemistry data already available for different sources. The chemistry data established linkages between the upper and lower intermediate aquifers.{List only- not presented}
Key words: Environmental isotopes, UCG, Water source, Isotope fractionation

Abstract

Tailings storage facilities are significant contributors of dissolved solids to underlying aquifers and adjacent watercourses. Salt balances indicate estimated seepage loads of the order of 1 500 tonnes of chloride per year. Actual seepage loads will be determined by the hydraulic conductivity of the tailings and mechanisms of flow within the tailings. Field observations and sample analytical results from several platinum tailings facilities are presented. These indicate the development of lenses of clay sized material within coarser silty material and suggest a tortuous seepage flow path, perhaps characterised by zones of preferential flow. The implications of seepage modelling and geochemical data on the salt loads mobilised from tailings are discussed. Results suggest that tailings facilities are effective at retaining salts and that release of accumulated salts after closure may take place at long time scales. {List only- not presented}

Abstract

Identifying and characterising the vertical and horizontal extent of chlorinated volatile organic compound (CVOC) plumes can be a complex undertaking and subject to a high degree of uncertainty as dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) movement in the subsurface is governed most notably by geologic heterogeneities. These heterogeneities influence hydraulic conductivity allowing for preferential flow in areas of higher conductivity and potential pooling or accumulation in areas of lower conductivity. This coupled with the density-induced sinking behaviour of DNAPL itself and the effects of groundwater recharge in the aquifer result in significant challenges in assessing the distribution and extent of CVOC plumes in the subsurface. It has been recognized that high resolution site characterization (HRSC) can provide the necessary level of information to allow for appropriate solutions to be implemented to mitigate the effects of subsurface contamination. Although the initial cost of HRSC is higher, the long-term costs can be substantially reduced and the remedial benefits far greater by obtaining a better understanding of the plume characteristics upfront. The authors will discuss a case study site in South Africa, where ERM has conducted HRSC of a CVOC plume to characterise the distribution of the source area and plume architecture in order to assess the potential risk to receptors on and off-site. The source of impact resulted from the use of a tetrachloroethene (PCE)-based solvent in an on-site workshop. The following methods of characterization were employed:
- Conducting a passive soil gas survey to identify and characterise potential source zones and groundwater impacts;
- Vertical characterisation of the hydrostratigraphy, contaminant distribution and speciation in real time using a Waterloo Advanced Profiling System (APS) with a mobile on-site laboratory;
- Using the Waterloo APS data to design and install groundwater monitoring wells to delineate the vertical and lateral extent of contamination; and
- Conducting a vapour intrusion investigation including sub-slab soil gas, indoor and outdoor air sampling to estimate current risk to on-site employees.
In less than a year, the risk at the site is now largely understood and the strategies for mitigating the effects of the contamination can be targeted and optimised based on the information gained during the HRSC assessment.

Abstract

Edible vegetable oil (EVO) substrates have been successfully used to stimulate the in situ anaerobic biodegradation of groundwater contaminated chlorinated solvents as well as numerous other anaerobically biodegradable contaminants like nitrates and perchlorates at a many commercial, industrial and military sites throughout the United States of America and Europe. EVO substrates are classified as a slow release fluid substrate, and comprise of food grade vegetable oil such as canola or soya bean oil. The EVO substrate serves as an easily biodegradable source of carbon (energy) used to create a geochemically favorable environment for the anaerobic microbial communities to degrade specific contaminants of concern. EVO substrate's can either be introduced into the subsurface environment as pure oil, in the form of light non aqueous phase or as an oil/water emulsion. The emulsified vegetable oil substrates holds several benefits over non-emulsified vegetable oil as the fine oil droplet size of the commercially manufactured emulsified oils can more easily penetrate the heterogeneous pore and fracture spaces of the aquifer matrix. The use of this technology to stimulate in situ biodegradation of groundwater contaminants is still relatively unknown in South Africa. This paper will give an overview of the EVO technology and its application, specifically looking at the advantages of using this relatively inexpensive, innocuous substrate based technology to remediate contaminated groundwater within fractured rock environments commonly encountered in South Africa. {List only- not presented}

Abstract

POSTER The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is the custodian of South Africa's water and thus is imperative that it reports on its state as the National Water Act of 1998 requires regular reporting to Parliament by the Minister. Hence, the annual compilation of report entitled "The National State of Water in South Africa." This report aims to give an overview of the status and trends of water quality and quantity, further assisting with international water reporting obligations to SADC Region, African Continent, and Globally e.g. the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. This information empowers the public and provides knowledge to water managers for informed decision-making. The main purpose is to enhance quality, accessibility and relevance of data and information relating to the goal of Integrated Water Resource Management towards attaining holistic Integrated Water Management, and Integrated Water Cycle Management in future. Three distinct requirements for collecting data by DWS are: (i) assessing and comparing the status and trends for both quantity and quality; (ii) monitoring for water use and (iii) monitoring for compliance to licence conditions. Such information is further used to assess the effectiveness of policies implemented and identify the existing gaps. Various challenges to the country's water demand proper integrated water resources planning and management. The report is divided into Themes such as, Resource Management, Water Services/Delivery, Water Development and Finance, based on selected indicators. The indicators are strategically selected to provide a representative picture of the state, as well as the changes over time to the drivers, pressures, impacts and responses related to the chosen themes. These Indicators include: Climatic Conditions, Water Availability, Water Use, Water Protection, Water Quality, Water Service Delivery, Water Infrastructure, Water Finance, and Sanitation. The report for Hydrological Year 2013/2014 has been completed and it shows that the amount of water available varies greatly between different places and seasons, and from one year to another. The average total storage was around 85% of full supply capacity in September 2014. Surface water quality is generally facing a threat from eutrophication and microbial pollution emanating mainly from mismanaged water (and waste) treatment plants and related landuse activities. Groundwater quality is generally good except in some localised areas where mining and industrial activities are prevalent. With regards to infrastructure; vandalism, lack of maintenance & management skills reflect on/as non-revenue water, highlighting the need for more funding towards maintenance, especially in groundwater which is normally wrongly deemed as an unreliable resource. In the past 20 years, water services delivery to communities has improved as the Millennium Development Goals have been met and surpassed, while the sanitation access goals were likely to be met.

Abstract

Groundwater is an essential source of water worldwide. The increased reliance on groundwater has caused the mining of many aquifers, a situation compounded by climate change, rising surface-air temperature, declining precipitation, and reduced groundwater recharge in many regions. The global annual intensity of groundwater use rose from 128 to 155 m3 per capita between 1950 (when the world population was 2.5 billion people) and 2021 (when the population was 7.9 billion people) and is herein projected to rise to 178 m3 per capita by 2050 as the world’s population is projected to increase (to 9.7 billion people by 2050) throughout the rest of the 21st century and beyond. This study projects a global annual groundwater depletion of 1,008 km3 by 2050, representing a 256% rise from the estimated 2010 depletion. This projection is most likely a lower bound of the actual groundwater depletion that would be realized considering environmental flows, historical trends of global economic growth, and climate-change impacts, thus being a harbinger of rising environmental degradation (e.g., land subsidence, seawater intrusion, streamflow reduction, aridification). Measures to achieve groundwater sustainability are herein identified.

Abstract

Groundwater levels in E33F quaternary catchment are at their lowest level ever. The impact of climatic variation and increasing abstraction were determined to be the main factor. There are 115 registered groundwater users in E33F and the monthly abstraction volumes are not being measured. There is a need to use land use activities as well as the population to estimate groundwater use. The main objective is to use non-groundwater monitoring data to estimate groundwater use in order to protect the aquifer and ecosystem in general in varying climatic condition. Land use activities information was used to estimate groundwater use in E33F quaternary catchment. The estimated groundwater use volumes were compared to allocated and measured volumes. For domestic groundwater use estimation, population data and an estimation 100 litre per person per day were used. The water requirements for the types of crops being cultivated together with the area (m2) were used to estimate groundwater use volumes for irrigation. The number and type of live stocks were used with the water requirements for each livestock type to estimate the groundwater use volumes. 96 % of groundwater users are using groundwater for irrigation purposes with 9 966 105 m3/a allocated for irrigation. Mining, industries, domestic and livestock are allocated 100 200 m3/a. The estimated groundwater use volume for irrigation is 30 960 000 m3/a, which is three times higher than the allocated volume. Groundwater use volume for domestic use is estimated to be 38 225 m3/a which is higher than the 31 000 m3/a allocated. The total estimated groundwater use volume in E33F is estimated to be 30 998 225 m3/a, which is three times higher than the allocated groundwater use volume of 10 066 305 m3/a. This estimation could be higher as only registered boreholes were used and estimations from mining, Industries and live stocks were excluded due to lack of data

Abstract

The Bedford Dam is the upper storage dam for the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme and is situated in the Ingula/Bedford Wetland. This wetland has a high structural diversity which supports a unique assemblage of plants and invertebrates. The flow regulation and water purification value is of particular importance as the wetland falls within the Greater Vaal River catchment. Concern was raised with respect to the potential negative impact of the newly constructed dam on the dynamic water balance within the wetland. An assessment of the extent to which groundwater drives / sustains the wetland systems and the water requirements needed to sustain the wetland processes was determined. This includes establishing the impact of the Bedford Dam on the groundwater and wetland systems as well as providing recommendations on management and monitoring requirements. The hydropedological interpretations of the soils within the study area indicate that baseflow to the wetland is maintained through perennial groundwater, mainly recharged from infiltration on the plateau, and was confirmed through isotope sampling and hydrometric measurements. It is apparent that the surface flows in the main wetland are fed by recent sources, while the subsurface layers in the wetland are sustained by the slower moving near-surface and bedrock groundwater. The movement of groundwater towards the wetland is hindered by the numerous dykes creating a barrier to flow. Nevertheless, there seems to be a good connection between the groundwater sources in the upland and the surface drainage features that conduct this water to the contributing hillslopes adjacent to the main wetland. The surface flows of the main wetland are sustained by contributions from tributary fingers. The discharge out of the wetland is highly seasonal

Abstract

The hydrogeological setting of a proposed mine site can significantly influence the viability of the mining venture. The management of groundwater inflows, costs of the dewatering technology, construction and maintenance of storage facilities, discharge strategies and anticipated environmental impacts are vital factors for consideration. It is fundamental to assess the hydrogeological setting at an early stage of the mine life cycle and should involve the collection of sufficient hydrogeological data, conceptualisation of the hydrogeological setting and an assessment of planned mine operations and anticipated impacts. Ambient hydrogeological conditions at the deposit area may be identified by conducting a hydrocensus and utilising existing ore exploration drilling data. Information from the hydrocensus and ore exploration drilling can provide valuable preliminary data on groundwater risks, dewatering and available groundwater resources. Potential groundwater/surface water interactions and receptors sensitive to environmental impacts can be identified during a hydrocensus. Similarly, water strikes and fracture density recorded during exploration drilling provide valuable insight to the subterranean environment. It is also possible to obtain aquifer hydraulic properties through packer testing of exploration boreholes. Geochemical test work on exploration borehole-cores could provide valuable information regarding contamination risks from ore deposit and waste material storage. The installation of piezometers within available and accessible exploration holes that extend below the regional groundwater level can pioneer the collection of monitoring data crucial for consideration during the mine life cycle and provide an understanding of the interaction between hydrogeological units and recharge characteristics. Ultimately, mine operations and associated potential impacts on the surrounding groundwater environment can be simulated with the application of numerical hydrogeological flow and contaminant transport models. The numerical models can simulate the regional groundwater flow system and complexities of the mine environment, the accuracy of which is influenced by the type, spatial and temporal distribution of the data collected. It is accordingly suggested that the collection of hydrogeological data and information during the exploration phase would facilitate the timely conceptualisation of potential groundwater risks and effective planning of hydrogeological investigations required during upcoming phases while assisting in the budget optimisation of these future studies.

Abstract

The national water balance is primarily based on the availability of surface water and the historic allocation thereof. The changes that are required the next 20 years to ensure sustainable development of the nation will be painful, but is unfortunately at present not part of the public discussion, it is essentially ignored in favour of more "popular water topics".This paper intends to look at a few core aspects, they include the current water allocation in the national water balance, the relative value of the utilisation, the position of groundwater resources in changing the current relative allocation and the current groundwater utilisation. The paper further intends to be a less formal presentation of these aspects with the required data, references and conclusions available for distribution afterwards.

Abstract

This paper describes the characteristics of the deep aquifer systems in South Africa as derived from the available data. The study formed part of the larger WRC project K5/2434 (Characterisation and Protection of Potential Deep Aquifers in South Africa). A review of the available literature relevant to potential deep aquifers in South Africa was done to allow characterisation of these aquifer systems. In addition, data obtained from the geological logs of the SOEKOR and KARIN boreholes were considered.

This paper focuses on deep aquifers in 1) the Karoo Supergroup, 2) the basement and crystalline bedrock aquifers, 3) the Table Mountain Group, 4) the Bushveld Igneous Complex and 5) the dolomites of the Transvaal Supergroup. From the available data the deep aquifer systems are described in terms of the following characteristics: lithology, occurrence, physical dimensions, aquifer type, saturation level, heterogeneity and degree of isotropy, formation properties, hydraulic parameters, pressurisation, yield, groundwater quality, and aquifer vulnerability.

The results of the study show that the deep aquifer systems of South Africa are generally fractured hard-rock aquifers in which secondary porosity was developed through processes such as fracturing and dissolution. The primary porosity of most of the rocks forming the aquifers is very low. Apart from the dolomite aquifers, most of the water storage occurs in the rock matrices. Groundwater flow predominantly takes place along the fractures and dissolution cavities which act as preferential pathways for groundwater migration. The aquifers are generally highly heterogeneous and anisotropic.

The deep aquifers are generally confined and associated with positive hydraulic pressures. The groundwater quality generally decreases with depth as the salinity increases. However, deep dolomite aquifers may contain groundwater of good quality. Due to the large depths of occurrence, the deep aquifer systems are generally not vulnerable to contamination from activities at surface or in the shallow subsurface. The deep dolomite aquifers are a notable exception since they may be hydraulically linked to the shallower systems through complex networks of dissolution cavities. The deep aquifers are, however, very vulnerable to over-exploitation since low recharge rates are expected.

Abstract

Water scarcity is a global challenge, particular in South Africa, which is a semi-arid country. Due to the continuing drought, appropriate groundwater management is of great importance. The use of groundwater has increased significantly over the years and has become a much more prominent augmentation component to the supply chain especially in rural communities. However, the approach used to develop groundwater resources, specifically in rural areas, can be improved in numinous ways to ensure drilling of successful boreholes that could meet water demands. A recent study done in the Thaba Nchu area focused on an adapted approach, which resulted in drilling successful boreholes that would be able to sustain their augmentation role in the long term. The adapted approach involves (i) a hydro-census that includes local knowledge and focused field observations, (ii) study of aerial photographs and geological maps on a regional scale, rather than on a village scale area, (iii) an optimised geophysical investigation to identify and map geological structures to drill production boreholes, (iv) conducting aquifer pump test to determine an optimum sustainable yield, (v) collecting water samples to determine if water quality is suitable for its specific use (vi) providing a monitoring program and abstraction schedule for each borehole. The adapted approach highlights the following improvements: (i) drilling of new production boreholes during times of bounty to allow for better time management on the project; (ii) including an experienced geohydrologist during planning phases, (iii) including a social component focussing on educating local communities on the importance of groundwater and introducing them to the concept of citizen's science, (iv) establishing a communication channel through which villagers can report any mechanical, electrical, quantity or quality issues for timeous intervention. Through applying these small changes to established components of development of groundwater resources, budgets and time management were optimised and additional communities could be added to the project without additional costs. This approach not only emphasised ways to improve the awareness and potential of groundwater resources, but also affects the economical-, social- and environmental welfare in rural communities.

Abstract

When conducting water quality monitoring, questions arise on which water quality guidelines to use and where to apply them. For example, the use of South African Water Quality Guidelines (SAWQG) for Domestic usage compared to the use of the South African National Standards (SANS) for Potable Water Quality when monitoring drinking water quality. The World Heath Organization (WHO) published a set of water quality guidelines for drinking water which can also be used instead of SANS. Using various water quality guidelines to assess water quality can give different outcomes on the state of water quality of a particular site. For example, SANS water quality guidelines are less strict when compared to the SAWQG target values, however, SAWQG are comprised of different sets of standards for different usages. SAWQG distinguish between drinking water, livestock and irrigation, aquatic systems and industrial usage while SANS are only used for potable or bottled water. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) that is part of the World Bank Group published the Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Guidelines for Environmental Wastewater and Ambient Water Quality, guidelines set specifically for wastewater and ambient water quality. Utilizing this poster, I will explain when to use which guidelines with different types of water samples. I will also discuss the stringent water use license limits applied at some sites compared to the national standards of South Africa.

Abstract

When considering how to reduce contamination of petroleum hydrocarbons in shallow aquifers, it is important to recognize the considerable capacity of natural processes continuously at work within the secondary sources of contamination. This natural processes are technically referred to as Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA), a process whereby petroleum hydrocarbons are deteriorated naturally by microbes. This approach of petroleum hydrocarbon degradation relies on microbes which utilise oxygen under aerobic processes and progressively utilises other constituents (sulphates, nitrates, iron and manganese) under anaerobic processes. MNA process is mostly evident when light non-aqueous phase liquids (LNAPLs) has been removed while the dissolved phase hydrocarbon compounds are prominent in the saturated zone. The case studies aim at determining feasibility and sustainability of Monitored Natural Attenuation process at different sites with varying geological setting.

Abstract

This study aims to contribute to the conceptual and methodological development of units of joint management in transboundary aquifers (TBAs) to prevent and mitigate cross-border groundwater impacts (GWIs) in quantity and/or quality. Joint management units are a relatively new but growing topic in the field of TBAs, and their conceptualisation and appropriate identification are still at an early stage. By reviewing the literature on the subject and elaborating on its terminology, main features, and current methodological progress, a comparison of the existing methodologies for identifying such units is analysed. On this basis, trends and recommendations for further research and application of such methodologies to the joint management of TBAs are presented. The literature on this issue is scarce and has been published mainly in the last five years. These publications lack consistency in the use of concepts and terminology. The above has led to miscommunication and semantic issues in the concept behind such units and in comprehending the particular challenges of identifying them. Still, some directions and methodologies for identifying or directly delineating these management units have been proposed in the literature. However, no analysis from these methodological attempts has been conducted; thus, there are no lessons to be learned about this progress. This research looks forward to closing these gaps and making headway toward dealing with cross-border GWIs in TBAs, thus helping countries meet international law responsibilities and maintaining stable relationships among them.

Abstract

There is growing concern that South Africa's urban centres are becoming increasingly vulnerable to water scarcity due to stressed surface water resources, rapid urbanisation, climate change and increasing demand for water. Given South Africa's water scarcity, global trends for sustainable development, and awareness around the issues of environmental degradation and climate change, there is a need to consider alternative water management strategies. Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) is an approach to sustainable urban water management that attempts to achieve the goal of a 'Water Sensitive City'. The concept of a Water Sensitive City seeks to ensure the sustainable management of water using a range of approaches such as the reuse of water (stormwater and wastewater), exploiting alternative available sources of supply, sustainable stormwater management and improving the resource value of urban water through aesthetic and recreational appeal. Therefore, WSUD attempts to assign a resource value to all forms of water in the urban context, viz. stormwater, wastewater, potable water and groundwater. However, groundwater is often the least considered because it is a hidden resource, often overlooked as a form a water supply (potable and non-potable) and it is often poorly protected. The management of urban groundwater and understanding the impacts of WSUD on groundwater in South African cities is challenging, due to complex geology, ambiguous groundwater regulations and management, data limitations, and lack of capacity. Thus, there is a need for an approach to assess the feasibility of management strategies such as WSUD, so that the potential opportunities and impacts can be quantified and used to inform the decision making process. An integrated modelling approach, incorporating both surface and subsurface hydrological processes, allows various urban water management strategies to be tested due to the complete representation of the hydrological cycle. This integration is important as WSUD is used to manage surface water, but WSUD known to utilise groundwater as a means of treatment and storage. This paper assesses the application, calibration and testing of the integrated model, MIKE SHE, and examines the complexities and value of establishing an integrated groundwater and surface water model for urban applications in South Africa. The paper serves to demonstrate the value of the application of MIKE SHE and integrated modelling for urban applications in a South African context and to test the models performance in Cape Town's unique conditions, accounting for a semi-arid climate, complex land use, variable topography and data limitations. Furthermore, this paper illustrates the value of integrated modelling as a management tool for assessing the implementation of WSUD strategies on the Cape Flats, helping identifying potential impacts of WSUD interventions on groundwater and the potential opportunities for groundwater to contribute towards ensuring to Cape Town's water security into the future.

Abstract

Water has been recognized and acknowledged as a fundamental natural resource that sustains environmental diversity, social and economic development (Liu et al., 2017; Fisher et al., 2017). With increasing populations, climate change and limited monitoring networks for both ground and surface water, freshwater resources are becoming difficult to assess due to rapid changes in water supply and uses. Several efforts have been devoted towards the monitoring and management of water resources and discovery of alternative sources of freshwater. One of the more recent efforts is using gravity information to track changes in water storage on the earth's surface. The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission (https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/Grace/index.html) holds great potential for assessing our water resources in areas with little monitoring data. The increasing interest in the use of GRACE as a water resource information and monitoring tool, is due to its cost effectiveness and user-friendly system which affords a broad understanding of the world we live in and its processes, specifically in water resource management and hydrological modelling. South Africa's National Water Act (NWA) of 1998 highlights the importance of the sustainable development of water resources. However, it is difficult to sustainably manage South Africa's groundwater resources due to the difficultly in measuring and understanding our complex aquifers. The challenges in establishing sustainable monitoring of groundwater resources and its Reserve, are due to insufficient knowledge about the contribution that groundwater makes to surface water, and methods which reliably monitor groundwater resources. The GRACE is a joint satellite mission by the Deutschen Zentrum fur Luftund Raumfahrt (DLR) in Germany and the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The satellite was launched on 17 March 2002 and provides monthly temporal differences of earth's gravity field and its mean gravity field (Schmidt et al., 2008). It can afford insights into the location of groundwater resources, and their changes. GRACE can however, only determine the change in total water storage and therefore information on other components of the water balance are required to isolate the groundwater component. Therefore, the integrated Pitman Model is ideal to be applied together with GRACE and the Model can isolate surface water, soil moisture and groundwater into various components. Many studies have evaluated GRACE-derived groundwater storage changes as a response to drought (Famiglietti et al. 2011; Scanlon et al., 2012), while Thomas et al. (2017b) evaluated a groundwater drought index based on GRACE observations in an effort to understand and identify groundwater drought. Typically, GRACE is applied at scales of 150 000 km2, however Thomas et al., (2017) has developed a recent method that allows for the application of his GRACE derived Groundwater Drought Index (GGDI) at smaller scales. This study applies Thomas et al. 2017 GGDI in South Africa to the Crocodile, Sedgefield and Doring catchments, in hopes to to evaluate drought characterisation using data from GRACE satellites, focusing on the total water storage deficits to characterise groundwater drought occurrence.

Abstract

Preventing the spread of seepage from tailings storage facilities (TSF's) in groundwater is necessary as it often contains toxic contaminants. Experience has shown that seepage from TSFs is inevitable and that zero seepage remains difficult even with complex liner systems. Multiple seepage control methods are often required to minimise seepage to ensure that environmental regulations are met. Control methods can be grouped into either barrier or collection systems. Barrier systems are used to hinder seepage whereas collection systems are used to intercept seepage. A blast curtain, which is the focus of this article, is a type of collection system that is still at a conceptual level but has seen little or no application worldwide. It works in principle, similarly to a curtain drain, but is typically extended to greater depths depending on the aquifer vulnerability. Numerical modeling has shown that this mitigation measure could add another line of defence for seepage control. The depth and effectiveness of the curtain can be optimized with a numerical model to ensure optimal interception of contaminated seepage around the TSF. Depths of up to 30 m in fractured aquifers have been simulated in this study. A blast curtain is constructed by drilling a set of boreholes around a TSF in close proximity to one another and then fracturing the rock using either explosives or fracking methods to create a more permeable zone. This is then combined with a series of scavenger wells or natural seepage to abstract the contaminated water. Numerical simulation has shown that blast curtains are effective especially if groundwater flow is horizontal. The effectiveness decreases if the vertical flow component is significant. A blast curtain can result in the lowering of the water table, however, local depression is a less of a concern than potential groundwater contamination. {List only- not presented}

Abstract

The advent of the 'Big Data' age has fast tracked advances in automated data analytics, with significant breakthroughs in the application of artificial intelligence (AI). Machine learning (ML), a branch of AI, brings together statistics and computer science, enabling computers to learn how to complete given tasks without the need for explicit programming. ML algorithms learn to recognize and describe complex patterns and relationships in data - making them useful tools for prediction and data-driven discovery. The fields of environmental sciences, water resources and geosciences have seen a proliferation of the use of AI and ML techniques. Yet, despite practical and commercial successes, ML remains a niche field with many under-explored research opportunities in the hydrogeological sciences. Currently physical-process based models are widely applied for groundwater research and management, being the dominant tool for describing and understanding processes governing groundwater flow and transport. However, they are limited in terms of the high data requirements, costly development and run time. By comparison, ML algorithms are data-driven models that establish relationships between an input (e.g. climate data) and an output (e.g. groundwater level) without the need to understand the underlying physical process, making them most suitable for cases in which data is plentiful but the underlying processes are poorly understood. Combining data-driven and process-based models can provide opportunities to compensate for the limitations of each of these methodologies. We present applications of ML algorithms as knowledge discovery tools and explore the potential and limitations of ML to fill in data gaps and forecast groundwater levels based on climate data and predictions. Results represent the first step in on-going work applying ML as an additional tool in the study and management of groundwater resources, alongside and enhancing conventional techniques such as numerical modelling.

Abstract

Water resource management and risk management rely heavily on the availability of data and information. This includes the volumes of water needed, the volumes of water available, where the available water is and where it would be needed, etc. Historical records help to determine past use and gives a way to predict future use in the case of water resource planning while it helps to predict the possibility of floods and droughts when it comes to risk management. Rainfall data can provide valuable data for both water resource planning and risk management, since it is the input to the hydrologicalcycle. It is possible to determine dry and wet cycles using the cumulative deviation from mean that is calculated from the measured rainfall data. This was done for the Gnangara Mound in Australia, with the results giving a fair representation of the dry and wet cycles in the area. Data measured over a period of about 30 years for the Zachariashoek sub-catchment analyzed in the same fashion provided wet-dry cycles of about 8 years. The rainfall measurements had been taken at various settings around the catchment, and varied from place to place and differed from that measured at the WeatherSA stations in the vicinity. This article will draw a comparison between the Zachariashoek data and the WeatherSA data to determine whether the WeatherSA data followed the same patterns for the wet-dry cycles observed in Zachriashoek. It will then analyse the longer data record available for the WeatherSA data from 1920 to 2012. It is expected that the shorter wet-dry cycles seen in Zachariashoek will become part of longer wet-dry cycles that can be used in water resource planning and risk management. Rainfall is also dependent on a number of factors

Abstract

Globally, a growing concern have been that the heavy metal contents of soil are increasing as the result of industrial, mining, agricultural and domestic activities. While certain heavy metals are essential for plant growth as micronutrients, it may become toxic at higher concentrations. Additionally, as the toxic metals load of the soil increases, the risk of non-localized pollution due to the metals leaching into groundwater increases. The total soil metal content alone is not a good measure of risk, and thus not a very useful tool to determine potential risks to soil and water contamination. The tendency of a contaminant to seep into the groundwater is determined by its solubility and by the ratio between the concentration of the contaminant sorbed by the soil and the concentration remaining in solution. This ratio is commonly known as the soil partitioning or distribution coefficient (Kd). A higher Kd value indicate stronger attraction to the soil solids and lower susceptibility to leaching. Studies indicate that the Kd for a given constituent may vary widely depending on the nature of the soil in which the constituent occurs. The Kd of a soil represents the net effect of several soil sorption processes acting upon the contaminant under a certain set of conditions. Soil properties such as the pH, clay content, organic carbon content and the amount of Mn and Fe oxides, have an immense influence on the Kd value of a soil. Kds for Cu, Pb and V for various typical South African soil horizons were calculated from sorption graphs. In most cases there were contrasting Kd values especially when the cations, Cu and Pb, had high contamination levels, the value for V was low. There is large variation between the Kds stipulated in the Framework for the Management of Contaminated land (as drafted by the Department of Environmental Affairs) and the values obtained experimentally in this study. The results further indicate that a single Kd for an element/metal cannot be used for all soil types/horizons due to the effect of soil properties on the Kd. The results for Cu and Pb indicated that the Kds can range in the order of 10 to 10 000 L/kg for Cu and 10 to 100 000 L/kg for Pb. The variation in V Kd was not as extensive ranging from approximately 10 to 1 000 L/kg. {List only- not presented}

Abstract

Well-established engineered systems for depth-discrete monitoring in fractured rock boreholes (referred to as a Multilevel System or MLS) are commercially available and offer much diversity in design options, however, they are used infrequently in professional practice and have seen minimal use in groundwater research. MLSs provide information about hydraulic head and hydrochemistry from many different depths in a single borehole and, therefore, magnify greatly the knowledge value of each borehole. Conventional practice globally is devoted to standard monitoring wells, either alone as longer single screened wells or in clusters or nests with a few wells screened at different depth intervals. These are the mainstay of the groundwater science and engineering community and severely limit prospects for each borehole to provide the information needed to solve the complex problems typically posed by fractured rock. This paper outlines the nature and evolution of MLS technologies and points to recent literature showing how MLSs add important insights that cannot be obtained using conventional wells. Also, it reviews commercially available MLS technologies, which present a range of robust options with each system having different characteristics and niches depending on characterization and monitoring goals and site conditions. The paper also describes refined MLS criteria aimed at improving the cost effectiveness and expanding capabilities of MLSs, so as to improve their accessibility for high resolution data acquisition in the context of both groundwater system characterization and long-term monitoring.

Abstract

This keynote paper addresses several issues central to the conference theme of “Change, Challenge and Opportunity”. For hydrogeologists to exert greater influence on groundwater management globally, proper education and training is essential. Universities play a key role in educating hydrogeologists in the fundamental principles of groundwater science through taught Masters and other degree programmes. Scientific associations such as the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) also have an important part to play in education and training through short courses, conferences and mentoring schemes, and in enhancing groundwater science through journal and book publications and scientific commissions. IAH’s mission is to promote the wise use and protection of groundwater and, in this respect, a series of Strategic Overview papers have been prepared to inform professionals in other sectors of the interactions between groundwater and these sectors. Two of the Strategic Overview papers focus on the SDGs and global change, and some of the groundwater challenges in these areas are described. Whilst these challenges will provide hydrogeologists with opportunities to influence global water issues in the 21st century, hydrogeologists will need to be able to communicate effectively with all of the stakeholders, using traditional and more modern forms of communication, including social media.

Abstract

Unicef is the WASH sector lead globally and is, present at the country level, the main counterpart of government, especially regarding the component of the water balance utilised for potable safe water supplies. This mandate means that Unicef then has a role in looking at water resources nationally and not just as individual projects, and in doing so, contributes to good water governance as an integral part of system strengthening. Ensure this is done in partnership with other ministries and stakeholders that support them through advocacy for humanitarian and developmental access and support in technical areas such as groundwater assessments and monitoring. The focus on groundwater is especially linked with the fact that groundwater plays a major role due to its buffering capacity to climate variations, easier access and global coverage. Since groundwater is the most significant component of accessible freshwater resources, it is in the interest of UNICEF to make this resource more visible to meet both development and humanitarian goals, strengthen national systems and ultimately build resilience in mitigating water scarcity to scale or at the National level. Therefore, examples will be presented where Unicef has engaged on this journey with nations such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Mozambique and Rwanda to understand their water resources better. The overall objective at the National level is to adapt the capacity to withstand and recover as quickly as possible from external stresses and shocks or build resilience.

Abstract

Groundwater in South Africa is the most important source of potable water for rural communities, farms and towns. Supplying sufficient water to communities in South Africa becomes a difficult task. This is especially true in the semi-arid and arid central regions of South Africa where surface water resources are limited or absent and the communities are only depended on groundwater resources. Due to a growing population, surface water resources are almost entirely being exploited to their limits. These factors, therefore, increases the demand for groundwater resources and a more efficient management plan for water usage. For these reasons, the relation between the geology and geohydrology of South Africa becomes an important tool in locating groundwater resources that can provide sustainable quantities of water for South Africans. It was therefore decided to compile a document that provides valuable geohydrological information on the geological formations of the whole of South Africa. The information was gathered by means of interviews with experienced South African geohydrologists and reviewing of reports and articles of geohydrological studies. After gathering the relevant information, each major geological unit of South Africa together with its geohydrological characteristics was discussed separately. These characteristics include rock/aquifer parameters and behaviour, aquifer types (primary of secondary), groundwater quality, borehole yields and expected striking depths, and geological target features and the geophysical method used to locate these targets. Due to the fact that 90 % of South Africa's aquifers are classified as secondary aquifer systems, groundwater occurrence within the rocks of South Africa is mainly controlled by secondary fractures systems; therefore, understanding the geology and geological processes (faulting, folding, intrusive dyke/sills & weathering) responsible for their development and how they relate is important. However, the primary aquifers of South Africa (Coastal Cenozoic Deposits) should not be neglected as these aquifers can produce significant amounts of groundwater, such as the aquifer units of the Sandveld Group, Western Cape Province. Drilling success rates and possibility of striking higher yielding boreholes can be improved dramatically when an evaluation of the structural geology and geohydrological conditions of an area together with a suitable geophysical method is applied. The ability to locate groundwater has been originally considered (even today) a heavenly gift and can be dated back to the Biblical story of Moses striking the rock to get water: "behold, I will stand there before thee there upon the rocks thou shalt smite the rock and there shall come water out of it" (Exodus 17:6).

Abstract

The redox state of groundwater is an important variable for determining the solubility and mobility of elements which can occur in different redox states at earth surface conditions, such as Fe, Mn, Cr, As, U, N, S, V etc. Eh-pH diagrams are potentially invaluable for understanding and predicting the behaviour of these redox species yet, unlike pH, redox is seldom a routine field parameter due to the difficulties in measurement and interpretation.
This paper discusses the potential use and limitations of field measurements of the redox state of groundwater with specific reference to the geochemical behaviour of dissolved iron in the Table Mountain Group (TMG) aquifer. As part of an investigation into iron cycling within the TMG aquifer, the redox state of groundwater was estimated through three different methods, namely direct in-situ measurement of Eh, direct measurement of DO and calculation from iron speciation in groundwater. Comparison of the results from the three methods highlights the potential value of collecting redox data, but also the complexity of controls on redox potential. The redox measurements allowed the determination of the controlling reactions on iron mobility within the TMG, but only by using the iron speciation method to calibrate the in-situ values and thereby identify which redox pair was controlling redox equilibrium. As this requires measurement of redox ion pairs in solution, it is unlikely to become a routine method for redox assessment, unless the specific redox state of an element is critical in understanding its mobility. For the majority of groundwater site investigations, measurement of the dissolved oxygen content of groundwater is probably sufficient as a first pass.

Abstract

Groundwater is an important resource for multiple uses in South Africa. Hence, setting limits to its sustainable abstraction while assuring basic human needs is required. Due to prevalent data scarcity related to groundwater replenishment, which is the traditional basis for estimating groundwater availability, the present article presents a novel method for determining allocatable groundwater in quaternary catchments through information on streamflow. Using established methodologies for assessing baseflow, recession flow, and instream ecological flow requirement, the methodology develops a combined stepwise methodology to determine annual groundwater storage volume using linear reservoir theory, essentially linking low flows proportionally to upstream groundwater storages. The approach was trialled for twenty-one perennial and relatively undisturbed quaternary catchments with longterm and reliable streamflow records. Using the Desktop Reserve Model, maintenance low instream flow requirements necessary to meet present ecological state of the streams were determined, and baseflows in excess of these flows were converted into allocatable groundwater storages on an annual basis. Results show that groundwater development potential exists in nineteen of the catchments, with upper limits to allocatable groundwater volumes (including present uses) ranging from 0.02 to 2.60 Mm3/a over the catchments. With a secured availability of these volumes 75% of the years, variability between years is assumed to be manageable. A significant (R2 = 0.86) correlation between baseflow index and the drainage time scale for the catchments underscores the physical basis of the methodology and also enables the reduction of the procedure by one step, omitting recession flow analysis. The method serves as an important complementary tool for the assessment of the groundwater part of the Reserve and the Groundwater Resource Directed Measures in South Africa.

Abstract

Understanding the hydrogeochemical processes that govern groundwater quality is important for sustainable management of the water resource. A study with the objective of identifying the hydrogeochemical processes and their relation with existing quality of groundwater was carried processes in the shallow aquifer of the Lubumbashi river basin. The multivariate statistical approach includes self organizing maps (SOM'S) of neural networks, hierarchical cluster (HCA) and principal component analysis of the hydrochemical data were used to define the geochemical evaluation of aquifer system based on the ionic constituents, water types, hydrochemical facies and groundwater factors quality control. Water presents a spatial variability of chemical facies (HCO3- - Ca2+ - Mg2+, Cl- - Na+ + K+, Cl- - Ca2+ - Mg2+ , HCO3- - Na+ + K+ ) which is in relation to their interaction with the geological formation of the basin. The results suggests that different natural hydrogeochemical processes like simple dissolution, mixing, weathering of carbonate minerals and of silicate weathering and ion exchange are the key factors. Added to this is the imprint of anthropogenic input (use of fertilizers, septic practice poorly designed and uncontrolled urban discharges). Limited reverse ion exchange has been noticed at few locations of the study.

Abstract

This study was aimed at developing an integrated groundwater-surface water interaction (GSI) model for a selected stretch of the Modder River by considering the following five different aspects of the GSI: 1) the distribution of different aquifer systems (structural connectivity) along the river 2) the hydraulic connectivity between the aquifer systems, 3) the volumes of water abstracted from the aquifers by streamside vegetation, 4) the volumes of water replenished to the groundwater system through rainfall recharge, and 5) the exchange fluxes between the various components of the groundwater-surface water system. The distribution of the aquifer systems was investigated by means of a) geo-electrical surveys, and b) in situ slug tests while their hydraulic connectivity was investigated by hydrogeochemical routing. The volumes of water abstracted by streamside vegetation were estimated by the quantification of the transpiration from individual plants and the groundwater recharge was estimated by a root zone water balance. The water exchange fluxes between the groundwater and surface water were determined from a simple riparian zone groundwater budget. The results of the geo-electrical surveys and slug tests allowed the delineation of the riparian area aquifers (RAA) and the terrestrial area aquifers (TAA) on both the south-eastern and north-western sides of the river. Based on the results of hydrochemical analyses, saturation indices and inverse mass balance modelling, the GSI involves flow of water from the TAA to the RAA, and finally to the river on the south-eastern side while it involves flow from the river into the RAA with a limited exchange with the TAA on the south-eastern side. The dominant vegetation on the study area was found to be the Acacia karroo and Diospyros lycioides. The close similarities in isotope compositions of the xylem sap and the borehole water samples suggested that the Acacia karroo sourced its water from the groundwater storage while differences in isotope compositions suggested that the Diospyros lycioides did not source water from the groundwater storage at the time of measurement. The results of groundwater recharge estimation in the study area highlighted the fact that both the antecedent moisture and the rainfall amounts determine whether recharge to the groundwater system will take place. Finally, the results of baseflow estimation indicated that the river is a gaining stream along the south-eastern reach while acting as a losing stream along the north-western reach.

Abstract

The expectation that during yield tests, a borehole will react within the expected framework of the existing numerical models, is often not met within real-world scenarios. This is mainly due to the observation that the Theis solution for confined aquifers, Neuman solution for unconfined aquifer and Barker Generalised Radial Flow Model for hydraulic tests in fractured rocks all include idealised assumptions regarding the physical aspects of a hypothetical. In order to interpret the data from a yield test these methods, along with the Flow Characteristic method for sustainable yield estimates, are commonly used. However, as these assumptions are not always met, the analysis is usually focused on time periods within the test that approximate these solutions. In some cases, the extent to which these assumptions are not met can produce drawdown data that is not well described by the usual analytical models used to analyse this data. This study addresses some of the shortcomings experienced during testing in non-ideal aquifers, as well as briefly describing some tests where small budgets, short deadlines, a lack of information and/or unforeseen circumstances resulted in similar challenges to analyses. This study does not present new solutions to drawdown data analyses, but rather discusses how the mentioned solutions were used during testing to accommodate for the shortcomings experienced.

Abstract

The University of the Free State investigated the possible dewatering of boreholes situated on the farm properties in the vicinity of an underground coal mine. The investigation consisted of three phases.
Phase one was a hydrocensus on the farm properties.
Phase two consisted of borehole yield determination by conducting pumping tests on the boreholes (where possible) identified in the hydrocensus phase.
Phase three included a visit to the underground mine workings, where water samples were collected at different groundwater inflow locations (especially water flowing in at the ventilation shaft). The monthly groundwater monitoring data of the underground coal mine was also incorporated for interpretation purposes. It appears that the water levels of the boreholes outside the mining boundaries are not affected. The water levels of the monthly monitored boreholes stabilized or even started recovering over the last few years. It also seems as though the larger streams in the area drains the groundwater as most of the deeper water level areas coincides with the presence of the streams. Most of the boreholes have typical borehole yields that is to be expected from Karoo formations i.e. between 0.5 and 1.5 L/s. An interesting observation is that a number of the boreholes with deep water levels are situated along dolerite contact zones at the western side of the mine. This may also be a geological structure resulting from the impact of a meteorite? From the available data it appears that the boreholes along this structure have the same chemical character as the water flowing down the ventilation shaft, strengthening the belief that the water from the shaft originates from this structure (or structures).

To determine the origin of the water flowing down the ventilation shaft, a detailed study of the structure to the west of the shaft is recommended. The farmers in the area should carefully monitor their water use in the boreholes, as over-abstraction can result in total failure of some of the boreholes.

Abstract

Currently limited progress is made in South Africa (and Africa) on the protection of groundwater used for drinking water. To achieve the objective of water for growth and development and to provide socio-economic and environmental benefits of communities using groundwater, significant aquifers and well fields must be adequately protected. Groundwater protection zoning is seen as an important step in this regard. Till today, limited case studies of groundwater protection zoning exists in Africa. A case study at the Rawsonville research site is conducted in this research project. Generic protection zones can be delineated at the site using published reports and database data. However, due to the complexity of the fractured rock at the research site, these would be of limited value and would not provide adequate protection for the well field Baseline data was collected by conducting a hydro census and through aquifer tests. An inventory of the activities that can potentially impact water quality was done and aquifer characteristics such as transmissivity and hydraulic conductivity were determined through various types of aquifer testing. Fracture positions were identified using fluid logging and fracture flow rates were also measured using fluid logging data. A conceptual model and preliminary 3D numerical model were created to try to understand groundwater movement at the research site. The knowledge gained will be used to guide information gathering and monitoring that can be used to build a more detailed numerical model and implement a trustworthy groundwater protection plan at a later stage. The expected results will have applicability to groundwater management in general. The protection plan developed during this project can be used as a case study to update and improve policy implementation. {List only- not presented}

Abstract

Modelling of groundwater systems and groundwater-surface water interaction using advanced simulation software has become common practice. There are a number of approaches to simulate Lake-aquifer interactions, such as the LAK Package integrated into MODFLOW, the high conductivity and fixed stage approaches. LAK and the high conductivity approaches were applied and compared in simulating Lake- aquifer interaction in the Lake Sibayi Catchment, north-eastern, South Africa using the finite difference three-dimensional groundwater flow model, Visual MODFLOW Flex under steady state conditions. The steady state model consisted of two layers: an upper layer consisting of the Sibayi, KwaMbonambi, Kosi Bay and Port Durnford Formations which have similar characteristics, and a lower model layer representing the karst, weathered and calcareous Uloa Formation. The bottom model boundary is constrained by the impermeable Cretaceous bedrock. The model area covers the surface and groundwater catchments of Lake Sibayi which is constrained in the east by the Indian Ocean. A no-flow boundary condition is assigned to the northern, western and southern sides and a constant head boundary is assigned to the eastern side. The Mseleni River and neighbouring plantations were modelled using the River and Evapotranspiration boundary conditions respectively. Input parameters for the various boundary conditions were obtained from the previously developed high resolution conceptual model, including recharge

Abstract

Until 1998 groundwater was managed separately from surface water and was seen as a private resource. The National Water Act of 1998 (Act 36 of 1998) (NWA) was forward thinking in that it saw groundwater as an integrated part of the water resource system and as a common resource to be managed by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) as custodian. Various tools had been provided to manage the water resources equitably, sustainably and efficiently. A limited understanding of groundwater and the prevalence to revert to engineering principles when managing water resources had led to an Act that is mostly written with surface water in mind. The tools and principles that had been tested for surface water was used directly for groundwater without considering the practicalities in applying and enforcing the NWA. This did not provide too many problems, as groundwater was not considered a viable, sustainable water resource, and the use of groundwater was mostly limited to private use for garden irrigation, in agriculture for irrigation and for bulk supply in a number of small towns where surface water was not available. This has changed drastically during the recent drought that affected the whole country, but especially the Western Cape. Groundwater was suddenly seen as the solution to the problem of water availability. The problem was that the understanding of groundwater has not increase sufficiently over the years, and water resources management is still skewed to hydrology principles that apply to surface water. Groundwater sustainability is at the heart of the questions of scale and measurements. The Department has been flooded by the large number of water use licence applications that have been submitted by municipalities, industries and agriculture as a result of the drought. This article will look at groundwater resource assessment and allocation methodology in a South African context.

Abstract

A large number of groundwater investigations have been carried out in the Western Cape over the last decade or so. Most of them were related to water supply options for individuals, agriculture, businesses, industries, government departments and municipalities. Some of these developments have confirmed what we already knew about the groundwater characteristics and aquifers of the Western Cape, while others provided us with surprises - surprises so significant that we may have to re-write what we thought we knew. This paper will not be able to cover all the interventions and groundwater studies that have been done. Two case studies linked to the major geological structure in the Western Cape, namely the Colenso Fault (also known as the Franschhoek-Saldanha Fault), will therefore be used as an illustration of the lessons that were learnt by comparing them with our historical understanding of the associated groundwater characteristics. It will also show that there is a need for updated groundwater maps on smaller scale and a reassessment of the aquifers status.

Abstract

The main purpose of this paper is to present a case study where a water balance concept was applied to describe the expected groundwater safe yield on a sub-catchment scale. The balance considers effective recharge based on local hydrogeology and land cover types, basic human needs, groundwater contribution to baseflow, existing abstraction and evaporation. Data is derived from public datasets, including the WRC 90 Water Resources of South Africa 2012 Study, 2013-2014 South African (SA) National Land Cover and Groundwater Resource Assessment Ver. 2 (GRAII) datasets. The result is an attempt to guide a new groundwater user regarding the volume of groundwater that can be abstracted sustainably over the long-term.

Abstract

Climate change contributes to the way in which people live. Natural resources such as groundwater, wood and surface water form a great part of livelihood in rural communities and are used extensively in rural areas where basic services have not yet been provided. The effect of climate change to all these natural resource may impact the lives of those in rural communities. Climate change is already starting to affect some of the poor and most vulnerable communities around the world. The aim of the dissertation is to develop a framework to assess the vulnerability of rural communities to climate change, with a specific focus groundwater and issues relating to gender. A questionnaire and interviews were used to collect data about rural communities' level of awareness climate change, their attitudes toward coping with climate change impact, level of education, income scale and how does this affect their security. Hyrodocensus was taken around the village to determine the rivers, dams, boreholes, abandoned boreholes and wells. Water samples were collected and analysed. The response rate was higher in females than in male's stakeholders (54% vs 46%).the results show that woman were mostly doing the hard work to complete daily basic activities. Education was found to be of high school level and incomes were low. The framework was developed with basic need showed that the area was at risk of poverty .Boreholes was found and water quality was analysed to be adequate for drinking water purpose. More information will be discussed on presentation.

Abstract

Groundwater is a vital source of water for many communities in South Africa and elsewhere. Besides the changing climate, rapidly spreading invasive alien plants with deep roots e.g. Prosopis spp, pose a serious threat to this water source. Dense impenetrable thickets of Prosopis occur in the drier parts of the country mainly along river channels in the Northern, Eastern and Western Cape Provinces. Few studies have quantified the actual water use by this species outside of the USA where it is native. Consequently the impacts of Prosopis invasions on groundwater resources are not well documented in South Africa. The aim of this study was to quantify the actual volumes of water used by Prosopis invasions and to establish the effects on groundwater. Because deep rooted indigenous trees that normally replace Prosopis once it has been cleared also use groundwater, we sought to quantify the incremental water use by Prosopis over and above that used by indigenous trees in order to determine the true impacts on groundwater. The study was conducted at a site densely invaded by Prosopis at Brandkop farm near the groundwater dependent town of Nieuwoudtville in the Northern Cape. One in seven trees at the site is the Vachellia karroo (formerly A. karroo) which is the dominant deep rooted indigenous tree species. Actual transpiration rates by five Prosopis and five V. karroo are being measured using the heat pulse velocity (HPV) sap flow technique. Additional HPV sensors were installed on the tap and lateral roots to study the water uptake dynamics of the trees. Groundwater levels are being monitored in four boreholes drilled across the site while sources of water used by the trees (i.e. whether soil or groundwater) is being determined using O/H stable isotopes. For similar size trees, V. karroo had higher transpiration rates than Prosopis because of the larger sapwood to heartwood ratio in V. karroo than in Prosopis. However, at the stand level Prosopis consumed significantly larger amounts of water than V. karroo. This is because Prosopis invasions had a much higher tree density than V. karroo. From August 2013 to July 2014, annual stand transpiration for Prosopis (~ 372 mm) was more than 4 times higher than that of V. karroo (~ 84 mm). Tree water uptake was correlated to changes in groundwater levels (R2 ~ 0.42) with groundwater abstractions of ~ 2600 m3/ha/y by Prosopis compared to ~ 610 m3/ha/y for V. karroo. In addition, Prosopis showed evidence of hydraulic redistribution of groundwater wherein groundwater was deposited in the shallow soil layers while V. karroo did not. Results of this study suggest that clearing of Prosopis to salvage groundwater should target dense stands while less dense stands should be prevented from getting dense. {List only- not presented}

Abstract

Geochemical investigations for a planned coal mine indicated that the coal discard material that would be generated through coal processing would have a significant potential to generate acid rock drainage. A power station is planned to be developed in close proximity to the coal mine, and the potential for co-disposal of coal discard with fly-ash material required examination. Fly-ash is typically highly alkaline and has the potential to neutralise the acidic coal discard material. In order to investigate whether this was a viable option, the geochemical interaction between the coal discard and fly-ash was investigated. Geochemical data, including acid-base accounting, total chemical compositions, leach test data and kinetic test data, were available for the coal discard material and the fly-ash. Using these data as inputs, a geochemical model was developed using Phreeqci to predict the pH of leachate generated by mixing different ratios of coal discard and fly-ash. The ratio of coal discard to fly-ash was established that would result in a leachate of neutral pH. Using this prediction, a kinetic humidity cell test was run by a commercial laboratory for a total of 52 weeks using the optimal modelled ratio of discard and fly-ash. Although leachate pH from the kinetic test initially reflected a greater contribution from fly-ash, the pH gradually decreased to the near-neutral range within the first 20 weeks, and then remained near-neutral for the remainder of the 52-week test. During this period, sulphate and metal concentrations also decreased to concentrations below those generated by either the fly-ash or coal discard individually. The addition of fly-ash to the coal discard material provided sufficient neutralising capacity to maintain the near-neutral pH of the co-disposal mixture until the readily available sulphide minerals were oxidized, and the oxidation rates decreased. At the end of the test, sufficient neutralising potential remained in the humidity cell to neutralise any remaining sulphide material. The results of this investigation suggested that, under optimal conditions, co-disposal of fly-ash with coal discard is a viable option that can result in reduced environmental impacts compared to what would be experienced if the two waste materials were disposed of separately.

Abstract

The provision, usage and discharge of water resources are major concerns for coal mines, both underground and opencast. Water resources in a coal mining environment will often account for a significant portion of the daily operational cost. In order to cut costs, the mine will often collect as much runoff as possible to recycle for future use. This on-going recycling of site water and management of the resource demands a complete site water balance model in order to understand the dynamics of the resource within the boundaries of the mine. To improve the understanding of the dynamics of the resource on a much larger scale, and the effect it will have on recharge in an open cast coal mine environment, one must consider alternative modelling approaches which can compensate for such conditions. This amounts to describing recharge as a modelling component in a physically based distributed model. The main goal of this project is to calculate recharge into the main pit at this specific colliery by applying parameters on a quaternary catchment scale. The colliery is located just west of the town of Ogies, Mpumalanga on the peripheral region of the quaternary catchment B20G. The physiography of the quaternary catchment B20F is described as a central Highveld region gently sloping to the north. The geohydrological modeling application MIKE SHE (developed by DHI) was used to develop a fully integrated catchment model. The model was created mainly to simulate the impact of human activities on the hydrological cycle and hence on water resource development and management. Different modules of MIKE SHE that was used during the modelling stage include saturated- and unsaturated flow and a small degree of overland flow.

Key words: Mpumalanga, MIKE SHE, recharge

Abstract

Annually, UNICEF spends approximately US$1B in water, sanitation and hygiene programming (WASH), approximately half of which is spent in humanitarian contexts. In emergencies, UNICEF supports the delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene programming under very difficult programming contexts – interruptions to access, power supply and a lack of reliable data. Many of these humanitarian situations are in contexts where water scarcity is prevalent and where the demand and competition for water are increasing, contributing to tension between and within communities. While water scarcity is not new to many of these water-scarce areas, climate change is compounding the already grave challenges related to ensuring access to safe and sustainable water services, changing recharge patterns, destroying water systems and increasing water demand. Incorrectly designed and implemented water systems can contribute to conflict, tension, and migration. Ensuring a comprehensive approach to water security and resilient WASH services can reduce the potential for conflict and use water as a channel for peace and community resilience. This presents an enormous opportunity for both humanitarian and development stakeholders to design water service programmes to ensure community resilience through a four-part approach: 1. Groundwater resource assessments 2. Sustainable yield assessments (taking into consideration future conditions) 3. Climate risk assessments 4. Groundwater monitoring/early warning systems UNICEF promotes this approach across its WASH programming and the sector through technical briefs, support and capacity building.