Conference Abstracts

All Abstracts were presented at the Groundwater Conferences

Displaying 51 - 100 of 575 results
Title Presenter Name Presenter Surname Area Conference year Keywords

Abstract

Saldanha Bay Local Municipality appointed Skytem to conduct an airborne geophysical 3D aquifer mapping survey. As part of improving the sustainable management of the groundwater resources and exploring the options of Managed Aquifer Recharge, a better understanding of the aquifers is required. The Skytem technology unlocked a rich understanding of the subsurface geology and the groundwater contained in it.

Before the main survey commenced, a trial survey was conducted to investigate the quality of the data that may be expected from the main survey. The trial survey was conducted over the existing water supply wellfield where there were existing groundwater data including borehole lithology from drilling and ground geophysics. Consequently, the main survey commenced and consisted of the following:
1) Magnetic survey providing information regarding bedrock composition and where it changes due to faults or deposition,
2) Time Domain Electromagnetic survey providing conductivity/resistivity of the subsurface,
3) Detailed elevation along flight paths, and
4) 50Hz signal to understand where interferences can be due to power lines.

The survey interpretation showed the following important aquifer characteristics that will be useful for future management of the aquifer system:
1) Bedrock elevation and paleo topography, 2) Areas with different bedrock composition, 3) Geological faults in the bedrock, 4) Bedrock below the surface, 5) Areas with thick dry sand, 6) Clay layer extent and area without clay, 7) Areas with different water quality, and 8) Areas with very high concentrations of salt.

The survey output and interpretations are regarded as very useful for the update of the conceptual models for the area. Data can now be used to update the numerical models and improve the management of the wellfields.

Abstract

Monitoring groundwater storage is conducted in the study. World Health Organisation estimates, about 55 million people affected by drought yearly. However, Surface water holds 0.3 percent of the freshwater, and groundwater holds 30.1 percent of the freshwater. Hence, monitoring groundwater storage is vital. Though the GRACE (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment) satellite provides global-scale groundwater data, but does not provide any information about changes in groundwater flow systems and has uncertainties, due to large noise produced. A correlation has to be established between gravity changes and groundwater storage variations through a program that simulates the flow of groundwater. The relationship between developed numerical models and data derived from superconducting gravity is imperative. This study is conducted in South African Geodynamic Observatory Sutherland (SAGOS) area at Sutherland, South Africa. The study aims to develop a numerical geohydrological model to monitor subsurface variations in water distribution through superconducting gravimeters (SG) records. The interpretation of the SG measurements to directly compare to one another at a higher resolution is considered in the study, through the correlation of the developed model and installed superconducting gravimetric residual data. A numerical groundwater flow model is developed using model muse on MODFLOW. Assigned boundary conditions, fractured rocks were activated by the model. Hydraulic conductivities were simulated for any layer, including storage coefficient. Hence, hydraulic conductivity is an important aspect of the study. In conclusion, gravity is an excellent tool for measuring groundwater recharge within the immediate vicinity of the SAGOS. This implies that gravity can aid in monitoring groundwater recharge and discharge in semi-arid areas. The application of the hydrological model at various scales comparing the Superconducting Gravimeter and GRACE satellite data is paramount to improve modelling groundwater dynamics. The consideration of developing numerical hydrological to monitor groundwater storage will add much value to missing information.

Abstract

Managed aquifer recharge (MAR), the purposeful recharge of water to aquifers for subsequent recovery, is used globally to replenish over-exploited groundwater resources and to prevent saltwater intrusion. Due to increased water shortage worldwide, there is a growing interest in using unconventional water resources for MAR such as reclaimed water or surface water impaired by wastewater discharges. This, however, raises major concerns related to pollution of our drinking water resources. MARSA is a new Danish-South African research project aiming at developing MAR technologies allowing a broader span of water resources to be used for MAR, including storm water, river water, saline water, and even treated wastewater. It is hypothesised that improved removal of organic pollutants, nitrogen species, antibiotic resistance, and pathogens can be achieved by establishment of reactive barriers or creation of different redox environments through injection of oxidizing agents to anaerobic aquifers during recharge. In MARSA we will carry out feasibility studies, as flow-through columns, first in Denmark and later in South Africa, to investigate the capacity of South African aquifer sediments to remove organic pollutants, nitrogen species, antibiotic resistance genes, and pathogens. Then, based on these studies, MAR options will be further investigated at field conditions in South Africa using real source water from MAR sites. For this presentation we will give an overview of the MARSA-project and show results from previous feasibility studies investigating the potential of reactive barriers to remove organic micropollutants and ammonium. These studies have shown that establishment of reactive barriers will cause oxygen depletion, but also more efficient ammonium and organic micro-pollutant removal. MARSA is funded by the DANIDA fellowship centre, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. Project no. 20-M03GEUS.

Abstract

It has become increasingly apparent that understanding fractured rock mechanics as well as the interactions and exchanges between groundwater and surface water systems are crucial considering the increase in demand of each in recent years. Especially in a time where long term sustainability is of great importance for many water management agencies, groundwater professionals and the average water users. Previous callow experience has shown that there is a misunderstanding in the correct interpretation and analyses of pumping test data. The fracture characterisation (FC) method software provides a most useful tool in the overall understanding of a fractured rock aquifer, quantification of the aquifer’s hydraulic (flow regime and flow boundary conditions) and physical properties, only if the time-drawdown relationships are correctly interpreted and when the theoretical application principles are applied. Interpretation is not simply a copy and paste of the aquifer test data into the software to get a quick answer (especially when project time constraints are considered), however, recent experiences with numerous field examples, required intricate understanding of the geological environment, intended use and abstraction schedules coupled with the academic applications on which the software was based for correct interpretation.

Through the application of correct interpretation principles, a plethora of flow information becomes available, of which examples will be provided in the presentation itself. By achieving this, flow can be conceptualised for inputs into a conservative scale three-dimensional numerical flow model and calibrated based on measurable data in a fraction of the time of a conventional regional model. Although higher confidence levels are achieved with these practical solutions, monitoring programmes are still required to provide better insight of the aquifer responses to long-term abstraction and recovery.

Abstract

Mabenge B; Famah FIB

Groundwater resources are under increased pressure from population growth, climate change and human activities, leading to widespread groundwater depletion and pollution. It is important, as groundwater professionals to communicate to the younger generation and the broader community, about this vital resource. The Groundwater Kids Educational Program was initiated in November 2020, to educate and share groundwater knowledge amongst primary and high school learners. The program consists of a series of 1 – 2 hour groundwater educational workshops held at schools throughout Gauteng Province. Each workshop comprises a short educational video clip on a selected groundwater topic, followed by an activity that involves the topic of the day, and distribution of groundwater awareness material. Lessons are prepared based on the age group and the level of comprehension of the learners. Learners get the opportunity to engage in activities designed to make learning about groundwater more exciting. These workshops provide a knowledge base for our children participate in efforts to save this resource in generations to come.

Abstract

Israel, S; Kanyerere, T

Globally, surface waters are severely unsustainably exploited and under pressure in semi-arid coastal regions, which results in increasing demand for groundwater resources. Currently, Cape Town and its neighbouring towns along the West Coast of South Africa are facing water shortage related problems. Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) is a nature based solution to improve groundwater security in drought prone regions such as the West Coast. The objective of this study was to design a groundwater monitoring network using a hybrid hydrochemical, geophysical and numerical modelling approach to assess and mitigate the potential impacts of MAR for the West Coast Aquifer System (WCAS). An Analytical Hierarchy Process method was used to perform a Multi-criteria analysis employed in GIS (ArcMap 10.3).

The factors of importance for optimized groundwater monitoring network design were based on available data and consultations with hydrogeologists and environmental scientist at stakeholder workshops. The factors which were considered included: elevation (m), geology, density of existing boreholes (wells/km2), electrical conductivity (mS/m), water rise (m), water level decline (m), transmissivity (m/day), saturation indices and lithological thickness (m). Factors were weighted based on their level of importance for the design of the groundwater monitoring network using Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP). Priorities were calculated from pairwise comparisons using the AHP with Eigen vector method. The Consistency Ratio (CR) calculated was 5.2% which deems the weighting coefficients statistically acceptable. The results show that high priority monitoring areas occurs in the areas where there are fresh groundwater, high borehole density, elevated topography, higher recharge rates and decline in water levels are found. The monitoring network will include boreholes from the low priority areas to ensure that hydrogeological conditions are monitored and impacts are not worsened. Geophysical, numerical and chemical modelling aspects of the methodological approach will be incorporated into the initial groundwater monitoring network design.

 

Abstract

With increasing population growth and a subsequently increased demand for food production, the agricultural sector has had to grow and develop continuously despite drought-stricken water resources in recent years. The expansion in this sector requires increasingly efficient water use management and increases in water supplies, which are often met through groundwater utilization. In the past several years the use of groundwater in the Western Cape has increased exponentially and thus has forced the sharing of resources. The question pertains to how an invisible water resource that is difficult to measure and quantify, can be shared. Issues of varying complexities can arise when submitting a water use licence application (WULA), such as historical water use debates, interactions between groundwater and surface water, seasonal stresses on resources, etc. In one case study in De Doorns, a WULA became side-tracked soon after initiation by a neighbour’s complaint that his production borehole was severely affected by the drilling of the applicant’s boreholes. In the second case study in the Hexriver Valley, a WULA was complicated by a gentleman’s agreement stating that no one in the valley is allowed to abstract groundwater from deeper than 6 m. This gentleman’s agreement stems from past disagreements regarding such practices. The final case study was not a WULA but arose out of concerns for dropping weir levels connected to a new borehole. The borehole was equipped with new casing to case off the alluvium; it was suspected to be the cause of the disturbance. The scientific method was used to evaluate the borehole’s impact on the weir. Case studies such as these will become more prevalent as the demand on water resources will increase. Hydrogeologists needs to more informed of the complexities that can and will arise in the future as a result of shared water resources.

Abstract

The impact of the future closure of the KROPZ phosphate mine in the West Coast on the various potential receptors including the underlying Elandsfontein Aquifer System (EAS), Langebaan Lagoon (RAMSAR-site) and wetlands were assessed. This abstract/paper describes the geochemical characterization and management options related to the waste streams from the mining activity, to assess the post closure contribution to groundwater flow from the mine towards potential receptors. The PHREEQC geochemical modelling code was used to predict potential mine water impacts. The input water quality parameters used in the model included: background groundwater quality, pit water and processed water generated from phosphate separation process at the mine. Various scenarios were simulated combining the different process water streams with the tailings and soft stockpile material at the mine. The geochemical predictions showed some management options that should be prevented, while also providing guidance to promising options where most of the chemical parameters does not exceed the WUL stage 1 thresholds. There is however, an increase in sulphate concentrations that need attending to before the mine goes into production phase. Currently there seems to be no immediate concern on the Lagoon relating to the prediction of mine water impacts post mine closure. Some of the management scenarios do however show low levels of potential impacts on SANParks property 100 years post closure. These predictions do however correlate to areas where limited calibration data is available. At the time of this abstract the sites for new boreholes have been selected and the initial boreholes are being drilled to confirm aquifer properties in areas with limited data.

Abstract

The study area is located in a Swiss alpine valley at the border between Switzerland and France and is situated in Valais. It is delimited by the hydrologic catchment of the river “La Vièze de Morgins”. The catchment area is situated in the Municipality of Troistorrents and of Monthey. Its population is approximately 4500 inhabitants. From the geological point of view, the valley “Val de Morgins” is mostly comprised of sedimentary rocks, amongst others breccia, schist, flysch, limestone, and quaternary sediments. The valley is affected by several natural hazards, such as landslides, rockfalls, and avalanches. Hydrogeologically, the valley contains few main springs that are outlets of porous and fissured aquifers. For this study, an inventory and monitoring of springs and rivers has been carried out since 2018 until April 2021. Particularly, more than 110 springs and rivers have been registered and observed during this time. The data includes GPS coordinates, photos, measurements of physical-chemical parameters and flowrates. Complementary to measurements, specific geological and topographical maps, and site information have been gathered. The analysis and interpretation of this huge set of hydrogeological data will be concluded with a new and innovative approach using different data science libraries that are implemented for the Python programming language. In this case study, groundwater sampling training is used to increase the understanding of the water quality. Four years of field measurements enable a better understanding of the parameter variability in relation to seasonality. Furthermore, new data analysis can aid the integrated resource management for the municipal water supply. The sampling and monitoring are key aspects to ensure water security, in terms of quality and volume. Additionally, it can also unlock prospective groundwater resources for municipal water supply. Case study data will also be compared with South African and other Swiss dataset of similar aquifer type.

Abstract

Ewart Smith, J; Snaddon, K; de Beer, J; Murray, K; Harillal, Z; Frenzel, P; Lasher-Scheepers, C

Various analysis techniques are available for assessing the groundwater dependence of ecosystems. Hydrogeological monitoring within the Kogelberg and greater Table Mountain Group (TMG) aquifer has provided various datasets from multiple scientific disciplines (hydrological, hydrogeological, geochemical, climatic, ecological and botanical). Using a variety of analysis techniques, and using the Kogelberg as a case study, this paper assesses the groundwater dependence of several ecological sites (wetlands and streams). The starting point is a sound geological and hydrogeological conceptualisation of the site. The approach involves conceptualisation and analysis within each scientific discipline, but also requires bridging between areas of specialisation and analysis of a variety of datasets. This paper presents the data and analyses undertaken and the relevant results as they pertain to several sites within the Kogelberg.

Abstract

Estimating pumping rates for the purpose of equipping boreholes with suitable pumps that will not over abstract either the boreholes or the aquifer(s) that are intersected is often assessed through test pumping of the boreholes prior to pump selection. While the South African National Standard has guidelines on the methodologies and durations of these tests (SANS 10299-4:2003), many production boreholes in the agricultural and industrial sectors are still equipped based upon so called Farmer Tests or Pump Inlet Tests (PIT), often of a short (6-24 hour) duration. These tests are also frequently and incorrectly confused with a Constant Head Test (CHT), both of which are different in methodology to SANS 10299-4:2003 testing, which relies to a high degree on data collected during a Constant Discharge/Rate Test (CDT or CRT) and recovery thereafter. The study will assess differences in test pumping methodology, data collection, analysis methodology and final recommendations made between Farmer Tests and SANS 10299-4:2003 methodology tests for 20 boreholes in which both tests were performed. The selected sites cover a variety of geological and hydrogeological settings in the Western Cape. Test comparisons include boreholes drilled into the Malmesbury Group, Table Mountain Group and Quaternary alluvial deposits, with tested yields ranging from 0.5 – 25 L/s.

Abstract

As populations, agricultural and industrial demands grow with time, increasing attention is placed on developing groundwater resources in a sustainable manner. At the small, local scale, this tends to involve exploration (scientific and otherwise) and test pumping (also subject to more and less scientific methods). While there can be some subjectivity in the analysis of scientific test pumping data (the selection of representative periods of drawdown stability, the inclusion of potential boundary conditions and the estimation of available drawdown), published methodologies such as the FC method (2001) and the Q20 (1959) and R20 (2006) concepts attempt to calculate sustainable abstraction rates based on these tests. At a larger catchment or aquifer scale, water balance estimates of inflows, storage and outflows are also used to estimate the effects of groundwater abstraction within such a “water budget”. This can be done conceptually, but is often also through a numerical model. A drawback of such methods is the difficulty in estimating representative annual inflow volumes, such as groundwater recharge. One such methodology is the Aquifer Firm Yield Model (2012) which assesses sustainable groundwater supplies based on threshold recharge inflows, baseflow and evapotranspiration outflows, and a 5 m aquifer saturated fluctuation limit. While this was intended for use at a preliminary stage of investigations, before sufficient hydrogeological data would be available for a numerical model, it nonetheless provides an estimate of the available groundwater for abstraction based on a water budget concept rather than test pumping data analysis. A comparison of the results of these two approaches is provided for several newly developed municipal production boreholes in the Karoo to compare where the assumptions inherent to each approach may be highlighted by noticeable differences in results.

Abstract

Maphumulo B; Mahed G

Disastrous droughts sweeping across South Africa has led to the population turning towards groundwater as their primary source of water. This groundwater movement has increased the need for proper groundwater management in terms of both quality and quantity. Groundwater sampling is a crucial, and yet often overlooked, component of water quality assessment and management. This thesis evaluated the various groundwater sampling methods used within fractured rock aquifers in the Beaufort West region. Each sampling method was evaluated in terms of their precision and accuracy according to their hydrochemical results. Historical hydrochemical data from past reports was utilised to determine how various groundwater sampling techniques influence results. This helped gained a better understanding of the requirements required to correctly and accurately sample different water sources such as boreholes and windmills. These requirements include the importance of purging in order to remove stagnant water from windmills. By understanding these sampling techniques, it is possible to create a groundwater sampling protocol which should be followed when sampling fractured rock aquifer in order to ensure best possible results.

Abstract

Approximately 982 km3 /annum of the world’s groundwater reserve is abstracted, providing almost half of all drinking water worldwide. Globally, 70% is used for agricultural purposes while 38% for irrigation.

Most water resources of South Africa are threatened by contamination caused by industrial, agricultural, and commercial activities, and many parts of the country face ongoing drought with an urgent need to find alternative freshwater sources, such as groundwater. Groundwater constitutes approximately 15% of the total volume consumed, hence it is an important resource that supplements insufficient surface water supplies across South Africa.

Very little attention has been afforded to understanding the anthropogenically altered vadose zone as a potential source or buffer to groundwater contamination. This is evident from few research studies that has applied multiple isotopic tracers to characterise this zone. Most subsurface systems in South Africa are characterised by fractures, whereby flow and transport are concentrated along preferential flow paths.

This study aims to evaluate the performance of different tracer classes (environmental and artificial) with one another, and create a better understanding of the hydraulic properties, mean residence time and transport mechanisms of these tracers. The influence of unsaturated zone thickness on recharge mechanisms will also be evaluated.

Site visits will be conducted for the proposed study areas, and the neighbouring sources of contamination will be assessed. The matric potential and unsaturated hydraulic conductivities will be measured using various techniques. Water samples will be collected and analysed for the various tracers from the vadose zone using gravity lysimeters including suction cups. Several tracers will also be injected into boreholes where samples will be collected to calculate tracer residence times (BTC’s) and further constrain the hydraulic properties of the vadose zone. All samples will be analysed, interpreted, and simulated using the numerical finite-element modelling code SPRING, developed by delta h. The software derives quantitative results for groundwater flow and transport problems in the saturated and unsaturated zones of an aquifer.

The research is expected to provide more insight into the selection and use of environmental and artificial tracers as markers for detecting, understanding the transport processes and pathways of contaminants in typical altered South African subsurface environments. The impact derived improved characterisation of the pathways, transport, and migration processes of contaminants, leading to groundwater protection strategies and appropriate conceptual and numerical models. The output from this study will determine the vertical and horizontal flux for both saturated and unsaturated conditions.

Abstract

Stringent drinking water standards for constituents like chromium, arsenic, and nitrates, combined with continually higher demand for groundwater resources have led to the need for more efficient and accurate well characterization. Many boreholes are screened across multiple aquifers to maximize groundwater production, and since these aquifers can have different water qualities, the water produced at the wellhead is a blend of the various water qualities. Furthermore, the water entering a well may not be distributed equally across the screened intervals, but instead be highly variable based on the transmissivity of the aquifers, the depth of the pump intake, the pumping rate, and whether any perforations are sealed off due to physical, chemical, or biological plugging. By identifying zones of high and low flows and differing water qualities, well profiling is a proven technology that helps optimize operational groundwater production from water supply boreholes or remediation systems. This frequently results in increased efficiencies and reduced treatment costs. By accurately defining groundwater quantity and quality, dynamic profiling provides the data needed to optimize well designs. Conventional exploration methods frequently rely on selecting well screen intervals based on performing and analyzing drill stem tests for one zone at a time. Using dynamic flow and water quality profiling, the transmissivity and water quality can be determined for multiple production zones in a matter of one to two days. It also allows the location and size of the test intervals to be adjusted in the field, based on real-time measurements.

In this paper we discuss dynamic well profiling techniques with project case examples of characterization different types groundwater boreholes for a variety of applications and industries resulting in significant cost saving and sustainable water abstraction.

Abstract

Modie LT; Stephens M

Stable isotopes and hydrochemical analysis were undertaken to investigate groundwater-surface water (GW-SW) interactions and their possible implications on the quality and quantity of water in the karstified dolomite-dominated Notwane River Catchment (NRC) in semi-arid South East (SE) Botswana. Stable isotopes (δ18O & δ2H) and other hydrochemical parameters were analyzed from water samples (groundwater, river water and rain) collected in the upstream, middle stream and downstream of the Ramotswa Wellfields to investigate the potential GW-SW relationship in the study area. In addition field observation were also undertaken to support results obtained through stable isotopes and hydrochemical methods. Similarity in isotopic signatures taken during the dry and wet seasons respectively for groundwater (δ18O -1.4‰, δ2H -10.8‰; δ18O 1.4-‰, δ2H -10.9‰) and surface water(δ18O -2.04‰, δ2H -6.2 ‰; δ18O -2.56‰, δ2H -7.1‰) suggests groundwater recharge through the streambed at a site further downstream in the study area. In upstream study sites the average groundwater isotopic signature values of (δ2H -24.1,δ18O -4.1) suggests a more direct link to the Meteoric Water Line(MWL) indicating possibility of a rapid infiltration and quick watershed response to heavier rainfall events(δ2H -51.7, δ18O -8.6) rather than recharge through the riverbed. A further assessment on the GW-SW hydrochemistry was provided using Hierarchical Cluster Analysis (HCA) to investigate the influence of groundwater on stream water. The median EC values from the clusters are in an increasing order Cluster A-B2-B1 indicating cluster A(all river samples) as the most dilute samples with the shortest resident time relative to the groundwater clusters(B2 and B1). These results therefore rules out groundwater discharge through the streambed into the river as not a dominant process for GW-SW interaction in the study area. The study has concluded that GW-SW interactions in the NRC part under study vary from connected to no connection from one site to another.

Abstract

Sternophysingids are a group of stygobitic amphipods that inhabit groundwater networks characterised by large fractures, cracks and voids, as well as smaller pores, fissures, cavernous openings and interstitial spaces. Two species occurring in Gauteng, South Africa, Sternophysinx filaris and Sternophysinx calceola, were studied using morphological descriptions and molecular analyses to elucidate the distribution, evolutionary history, phylogeny and population structure. The population structure and distribution of stygobitic amphipods is a reflection of the physical structure of groundwater networks, and their evolutionary history can be used to understand the formation of groundwater bodies. S.filaris is a small and common inhabitant of aquifers in the northern regions of the country, while S. calceola occurs in many of the same locations but is much larger and rarer. No morphological differences were observed between individuals of different populations of S. filaris or S. calceola and detailed illustrations have been provided for each. This finding is not believed to be indicative of a high degree of connectivity within the subterranean groundwater network, lending to high rates of gene flow, instead, these morphological similarities are a symptom of cryptic speciation. Sternophysingids are likely to arise from an very ancient and widespread ancestor inhabiting much of Gondwanaland prior to its breakup. Using the COI gene, S. calceola collected from the type locality in Matlapitse Cave was successfully PCR-amplified and sequenced. Phylogenies were constructed using a limited variety of crangonyctoid sequences and the sternophysingids were confirmed to belong to the Crangonyctoidea superfamily, being most closely allied with the Western Australian paramelitids. The relationship between these groups is still distant and ancient; it is expected that the South African paramelitids would be more closely related, as well as other African, Madagascan and Indian crangonyctoids.

Abstract

Governing groundwater in a way that does not deplete the source of water, nor cause any form of degradation is a global challenge. In South Africa, scholarship shows an extensive history of groundwater governance doctrines. Yet, the country’s groundwater remained a poorly governed resource. A recent regulatory regime change culminated in the National Water Act 36 of 1998 (NWA), which was specifically promulgated to ‘provide for fundamental reform of the law relating to water resources’. While the NWA provided an ideal opportunity for the judicious governance of South Africa’s groundwater, groundwater governance remain problematic. The regulatory focus is still very much on surface water. In fact, up to date, no regulations have been made to specifically protect vulnerable aquifers, or aquifers on which communities depend as a source of water supply, or aquifers that supports large scale agriculture. This paper sets out to achieve three objectives: to assess South Africa’s existing regulatory approach to the protection of groundwater; to identify gaps in the regulatory framework; and to explore regulatory opportunities to strengthen groundwater governance. The discussion follows a focussed approach, and hinges on the case of the dolomitic aquifer of Delmas. The Delmas case study is expected to show why policy makers and planners need to be more concerned about groundwater. It will also introduce, explain and propose an established international or foreign legal measure that may be incorporated to strengthen the regulatory status of the Delmas aquifer. The paper concludes with recommendations for strengthening South Africa’s groundwater regulation.

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

The National Water Act, 1998 (Act 36 of 1998) requires water resources management be driven at a local level, in keeping with the local nature of water systems. Polokwane Local Municipality (PLM) as the Water Services Authority, is responsible for supplying adequate domestic water to 16 Rural Water Schemes and Groundwater Schemes. The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) Masterplan highlighted that the DWS, Catchment Management Agencies and Water Boards need to develop wellfields and management plans to ensure sustainable use of aquifers. The Aquifer Management Plan (AMP) for the Polokwane Urban Complex (PUC) within the Olifants-Sand Water Supply Scheme was developed with an overall aim of achieving integrated and adaptive management of the aquifer. This is to assist in confronting climate change challenges and water security at local level. The AMP forms part of the Integrated Water Resource Management and should be seen in the context of other related guidelines and activities, such as catchment management, water conservation and demand management, waste water management, and water resource planning and management. Extensive consultation with PLM and various other stakeholders as part of the Aquifer Management Plan was meant to foster a groundwater management relationship between the Department, PLM and other stakeholders to create an enabling environment for implementation of the Aquifer Management Plan. A set of goals, targets and actions were developed for the Aquifer Management Plan These goals and targets serve as steps that allow for ‘zooming’ into the more specific actions. During consultations with the PLM, relevant Professional Service Providers, the DWS Limpopo Provincial Office and numerous other stakeholders, 75 actions within the 10 goals were identified. Ultimately, an Aquifer Management Plan had to identify actions that can improve groundwater resource management within the Polokwane Urban Complex and develop a supportive cross-institutional relationship in which to pursue them.

Abstract

More often these days we hear concerns from water users regarding “how much water is the newly drilled borehole of a neighbor extracting from “their” river water”. These are serious question with serious repercussions for sustainable use and economic development. No one wants to lose what they have invested in. On the other hand, from a groundwater perspective, this is very one sided.

Numerical modelling solutions are often proposed to clients as a more accurate method of determining the groundwater surface water interaction, with the addition of volumes removed from the modelling domain, to present to decision makers the changes in volumes of discharge into streams or volumes of infiltration of stream water into the aquifer. However, this is an expensive and time-consuming exercise, and will most likely incur additional costs to accumulate sufficient meaningful data sets for input into these detailed models. A robust combination of analytical and numerical solutions is proposed, while keeping aquifer assumptions conservative, where a lack of regional data exist. This is useful in quantifying this interaction and associated volumes better without the full time and cost associated with calibrated regional flow and transport models. Analytical calculations assist in the quantification of the aquifer’s hydraulic and physical properties and is used to conceptualize flow better and determine the inputs for a conservative well field scale numerical model, in which the change in flow between groundwater and surface water system are also evaluated. The well field scale model is calibrated in a fraction of the time as a conventional flow model (less than 20%), while volumes derived is defendable and based on measurable data. This combination is viewed to be a critical step in providing time effective solutions

Abstract

Because the quality of groundwater is influenced by the host rock through which it moves, it differs on a site-specific basis, and is often naturally brackish or even potentially harmful to people. In spite of this, many practitioners incorrectly use the SANS 241 Drinking Water Standard as “compliance requirement” to compare groundwater quality against. This standard only applies to water that has been purified to be suitable for potable purposes at a water treatment works in terms of regulations made under the Water Services Act 108 of 1997. The only circumstance in which it could be used to compare the quality of natural groundwaters against, is where such groundwater is (to be) used, for potable purposes (with or without treatment), and then only to provide guidance on the level of treatment required to facilitate suitability for such domestic use, and not to determine possible ‘unacceptable’ levels of contamination. Therefore, the comparison of groundwater quality results against the SANS 241 Drinking Water Standard is not only a scientifically flawed practice, it has no basis in law. It is furthermore a scientifically flawed practice to refer to groundwater quality as ‘good’, ‘bad’, or ‘poor’, as it reflects a judgemental anthropocentric perspective that has no place in modern discussions on judicious environmental management and monitoring.

 This then raises the question, what are, or should the limit values be against which groundwater quality results should be compared to determine if it has been negatively affected by anthropogenic activity to such an extent that a scientifically substantiated claim can be made that the groundwater has been ‘polluted’, an allegation with criminal liability implications?

This paper aims to answer this question in the context of South African Framework law and policy, and propose a methodology to determine appropriate site-specific limit values for groundwater quality.

Abstract

Siloam, a village in the Northern province of South Africa (SA) has groundwater reportedly characterised by concentration of fluoride greater than the permissible limit of 1.5 mg/L by the World Health Organization (WHO). In response to reported high incidences (80%) of dental fluorosis in Siloam, sources of fluoride in the groundwater of Siloam village was investigated. Earlier hypothesis suggest that the source of fluoride could be fluorite. Physicochemical parameters were determined using a combined multimeter; while total fluoride (TF) was determined using Ion Chromatograph and Fluoride Ion Selective Electrode. Mineralogy of the rocks and soil in the village was determined using X-ray Fluorescence and X-ray diffraction, respectively. Results revealed that groundwater fluoride concentration ranged from 3.92 to 4.95 mg/L, which are far above the WHO permissible limit and South African National standard. Na-Cl water type was found to be dominant in the water samples which could be due to the heavy weathering of plagioclase present in the parent rocks. TF content of the rocks and soils of the village ranged from 10 to 2000 mg/L. Leachates were obtained by soaking the pulverised rocks and soil in de-ionized water over a period of 24 hours. TF in leachates ranged from 0.27 to 14.88 mg/L and 0.05 to 10.40 mg/L at induced, and non-induced temperature, respectively. Although, previous research hypothesize fluorite to be the possible source of fluoride in the village, this research shows that the main contributors of fluoride to groundwater in Siloam were smectite clays and the muscovite present in the sandstone, Investigation also revealed that the geothermal temperature of groundwater in the area is also a major factor enhancing the release of fluoride from the clay material into the groundwater.

Abstract

Groundwater flow system responses have been understood using derivative analysis. The argument is that the use of derivative analysis derived from pumping test data improves the understanding of aquifer types and curve matching in a hydrogeologic setting. The different aquifer systems encountered in Western Cape Government Business Continuity Programme (WCBCP) of South Africa was used as case study where the analysis of the time versus draw-down derivative plots were applied to validate the aquifer characteristics to explaining the groundwater flow systems. Key findings showed that analysis from the time versus draw-down derivative plots can be used to infer conditions within the wellbore, groundwater flow to boreholes and boundary conditions within the aquifer to provide insights. In addition, results confirmed that the archetypal time vs draw-down responses enabled characterizing the aquifer types and such analysis showed unique responses to the pumping. Lastly, long term operation of boreholes for water supply were ascertained when the analysis was interpreted. The analysis was enhanced when the geological information that was collected during drilling operations, were added to the conceptual understanding of groundwater flow studied aquifer system. However, due to costs implications of conducting long-term aquifer hydraulic pumping tests, deviations from the conventional draw-down responses are expected. In this study, it is suggested that due to complexities associated with heterogeneous flow in aquifer types, it is essential to combine derivative analysis with pumping methods to improve interpretation and assessing long term operation of boreholes for water supply

Abstract

The hydrological cycle consists of several components, with two of the major processes being that of surface water flows and groundwater flows. It has been proven before that these two components interact with each other and are often critical to the survival of the associated users and ecosystems, especially in non-perennial river systems. Non-perennial river systems have a limited number of studies, especially on its link to groundwater and the management of the system. Surface water and groundwater individually contribute to the quality, quantity and distribution of water available and the effect on down gradient users. Understanding these processes would help greatly in managing the non-perennial river/groundwater catchment systems along with its respective ecosystem. The aim is, therefore, to provide an understanding of the groundwater and surface water interactions in the research catchments of Agulhas, Touws and Tankwa-Karoo, and to understand the influence of management decisions related to groundwater use. To achieve this aim, conceptual models will be formulated for the different sites using borehole, geophysics, hydraulic and geochemical data collected in the research catchments. Prediction of the effects of groundwater use on the river systems, and river modifications on groundwater levels, will be done using numerical models to simulate the flow processes and the interactions. With the often strong reliability on groundwater in semi-arid and arid regions to support ecosystems and surface water pools, it is expected that the results will indicate a decrease in river flows (and existence of pools) with an increase in shallow aquifer groundwater abstraction. However, the regional flow of groundwater and surrounding faults and springs may have an influence large enough to counter the expected result.

Abstract

The quality of groundwater is, in part, controlled by the character of the rock in which it is stored and the water - rock contact time. Rainfall (or recharge) is also a contributing factor as the mineralisation of groundwater increases from east to west across South Africa. It is well established that groundwater is more mineralised than surface water, and with most of South Africa's domestic supplies being sourced from dams, municipal water supplies are generally of low salinity. The exception to this is where water supplies are sourced from groundwater - such as in the Karoo and along the West Coast. The assessment of water potability is based on both the South African National Standard 241 and the Department of Water and Sanitation guidelines, with the former being a legal requirement. Previously, SANS 241 had two classes of water with the lower class only being allowed for a limited period. In 2015, Class II water was done away with and only a single class of water is now specified. While this may have been done to conform to World Health Organisation standards, it disregarded the realities of a resource-strapped South Africa where in large parts the municipal water supplies simply cannot meet the SANS241 standard. This paper examines the implications of the SANS 241 standard on efforts to establish emergency groundwater supplies during the drought impacting the Western Cape Province.

Abstract

The mitigation of groundwater impacts related to gold mining tailings disposal within the Orkney-Klerksdorp region was assessed and presented as a case study. The most pressing concern for the facility owners is the potential for pollution of water resources in the vicinity of the mines, especially after mine closure. The key focus of this paper is to describe how methods were applied to characterise the aquifer and keeping the source-pathway-receptor principles in mind. Characterisation also involves lessons learn by comparing pre-tailings deposition and post-tailings deposition aquifer bahviour. Ultimately the process followed in this paper has led to the development of a logical approach to estimate groundwater liability costs in a typical tailings environment. The link between hydrogeology, geotechnical engineering and civil engineering was identified as a critical foundation for the development of a successful groundwater management strategy

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the optimal sampling methods for the analysis of radioactive material in fractured rock aquifers. To achieve this a number of data sets were used which span a 40 year period in and around Beaufort West. Well purging requires the pumping out of stagnant water. This step is crucial as the idle well water may not be representative of the entire aquifer. This step was found to be critical in the studies analysed and had a direct impact on the results. It is necessary to pump out the entire well volume and recommended to pump out at least two well volumes before sampling commences. Samples may also be taken prior to well-purging as a means of checking the effects of purging. Another important aspect for sampling is that of multi-level sampling, particularly in the case of boreholes which feature multiple fracture or aquifer interception points. Prior to sampling, sampling containers should be well washed and cleaned using HCl and rinsed with deionised water. This is done to remove any contaminants which may hinder laboratory analysis. It was found that the multilevel sampling method yielded the best results. Furthermore, the samples stemming from windmills also had good results. The evolution of sampling as a science has improved over the past 40 years, but a fundamental understanding of sampling as a science needs to be incorporated

Abstract

Groundwater monitoring, especially from the end users' point of view, is often considered an add-on, or even unnecessary overhead cost to developing a borehole. Simply measuring groundwater level over time can however tell a story on seasonal rainfall fluctuations as well as the response of an aquifer to the removal of an abstracted volume of water. In this case an artesian borehole of high yield and exceptional quality was drilled in an area of minimal groundwater use because of known poor quality and low yields. The borehole was drilled in two stages with the deeper drilling resulting in significantly higher yields and the artesian flow. Sediment free water, deep artesian water strikes and a lack of flow around the casing led to the conclusion that capping at surface would control the visible artesian flow of 4 L/s. A slight drop in pressure indicated that subsurface leakage may however be occurring. Neighbouring boreholes with automated water level monitoring provided data showing a correlation of drop in water level to the second deeper drilling event. The artesian borehole was yield tested and this too was visible in the water level monitoring data. Hereafter it became apparent that each activity performed at the artesian borehole had an impact on the monitoring boreholes, and that a subsurface leak was causing local depressurization of a semi-confined to confined aquifer. An initial attempt to save the artesian borehole was unsuccessful, resulting in the necessary blocking and abandonment of a high yielding, superior quality borehole. If monitoring data was not available the local drop in water level would never have been noticed with disastrous effect and no evidence for the cause. Simple water level monitoring has averted this and kept neighbourly relations and ground water levels intact

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

Due to the recent drought in the Western Cape province of South Africa, surface water can no longer meet our current demand of water and as a result groundwater usage has increased. High iron concentration in groundwater is a problem which results in iron encrustation and iron clogging. This results in decreased borehole yields, decreased water quality and expensive treatments to remove iron encrustation or the drilling of entirely new boreholes. From both international and local literature there are two common factors which stand out which is that high concentration of iron in groundwater is a global issue, the second common factor is that the occurrence and influencing factors of high iron concentrations are site specific. Boreholes drilled for drought relief in health facilities across the Western Cape have reported increased concentrations of iron. Understanding of the geology, hydrogeology and hydrogeochemical conditions that cause the increased iron concentrations in groundwater at these specific locations is required. The objectives of this research project are to: 1) Assess spatial and temporal variations in iron and manganese concentrations; 2) Establish site specific processes that control the concentration of iron in groundwater; and 3) model the geochemical processes that impact iron levels in groundwater. These objectives will be achieved through historical groundwater quality data analysis, geochemical modeling, field work where samples will be collected and laboratory analysis of the samples collected. The information provided from this research project will allow for the effective management decisions to be made in terms of iron removal from groundwater and early preventative measures that can be made to ensure iron clogging and encrustation does not occur. The study is currently ongoing and there are currently no results available at this point however, at the time of the conference there will be information ready to share.

Abstract

Brackish groundwater resources could become an option to diversify the water supply-mix in the future when coupled with desalination or other evolving and cost effective water treatment technologies. This paper discusses regulatory and management responses dealing with brackish groundwater in international jurisdictions to form a basis for decision-making in groundwater management in South Africa. Recent literature and research on brackish groundwater was reviewed to reflect on efforts by other jurisdictions (California, Texas - USA) to regulate and manage brackish groundwater and to formulate desirable goals for brackish groundwater management for South Africa. The regulatory responses in international jurisdictions include pollution prevention, permitting, underground disposal control and differentiated groundwater use. The groundwater management responses include adaptive management, optimized groundwater abstraction, demand management approaches, managed aquifer recharge and alternative technologies. Based on the review the following strategic objectives are defined for South Africa: (i) implement responsible brackish groundwater use in areas with low salinity groundwater; (ii) promote brackish groundwater supplies for desalination; (iii) establish rules for the protection of brackish aquifers from activities in the subsurface; and (iv) create regulatory certainty about the use of brackish groundwater resources. There are several beneficial uses of brackish groundwater resources. In the USA and Canada, brackish groundwater is now the norm in unconventional gas development whereas in water-scarce areas, drinking water is being produced by desalination of brackish groundwater. In Texas - USA, municipalities choose to pay for the cost of advanced treatment rather than incur the cost of building additional water transportation infrastructure (dams, canals, and pipelines) or securing additional water rights. Some industries may use brackish groundwater with minimum or no treatment. Untreated, low-salinity brackish water may be used for irrigation, and higher-salinity waters may be used for the cooling of power plants. Groundwater is a public good in South Africa which requires an authorization for its sustainable abstraction, and It is therefore important to stipulate the correct licence conditions for sustainable brackish groundwater. Critical are the conditions for discharging brine concentrate resulting from desalination processes. It is unlikely that apart from the coastal areas, there may be deep saline aquifers to dispose the brine and these areas require detailed hydrogeological studies - this knowledge is currently not available.

Abstract

The groundwater risk map for the Karoo aquifers has been developed by incorporating the major geological, hydro-geological and uranium concentration factors that affect and control the groundwater contamination using GIS-based DRIST model. This work demonstrates the potential of artificial intelligence to produce a map by using various spatially geo-referenced digital data layers that portray cumulative aquifer sensitivity ratings across the Karoo Uranium Province, South Africa. This provides a relative indication of groundwater risk to uranium contamination. The pollution index used in this analysis was the uranium concentration (expressed as ?g/L). The selection of this index was based not only on the fact that it constitutes the main contaminant that occurs naturally in the geology of the study area but also because it is a prime health hazard and its presence in concentrations that exceed the drinking water guidelines is a representative indicator of groundwater quality degradation. The methodology used for assessment of groundwater risk was based on an approach which was modified specifically for assessment of Uranium pollution at a regional Karoo Uranium Province, where the five DRIST maps were integrated to form an intrinsic vulnerability map. The results show that the high risk for contamination of groundwater by uranium covers the central and northern parts of the study area. The southern part is slightly less risky due to a combination of parameter settings which tend to favour attenuation as compared to transport of uranium in the subsurface. This parameter includes; rocks with good chemical attenuation properties, deeper groundwater table, and less yielding aquifers. The results were validated using the area under the curve approach and a high validation value of 0.737 was obtained. Thus, the groundwater risk map developed can be used for regional environmental planning and predictive groundwater management

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

The Reconciliation Strategy for the Olifants River Water Supply System (ORWSS) indicated that the surface water resources in the Olifants Water Management Area are already overallocated, and recommended that the potential of the Malmani Subgroup dolomites along the Limpopo and Mpumalanga escarpment as an additional water resource be investigated. The Feasibility Study for Groundwater Resource Development of the Malmani Dolomites within the ORWSS considered among other aspects the hydrogeology, hydrology, artificial recharge potential, groundwater - surface water interaction and wellfield design options. A key aspect of the analysis and study findings was determining the amount of water that can be provided additionally, as the groundwater development was conceived as impacting on and reducing the ORWSS system yield. Hence, the implementation strategy was designed to address this mistrust in the groundwater potential and to allow for increasing the confidence in the yield estimates over time. The implementation strategy identified several possible recipients of the water, influencing the prioritisation of wellfield development. The scheduling of implementation should first address community water supply shortfalls in the area, followed by releases to the Olifants River to cater for environmental requirements and then direct development for bulk water supply schemes. Out of the twelve identified wellfield target zones (WFTZ), eleven are recommended for potential wellfield development. Seven Malmani Subgroup dolomite aquifer WFTZs have high groundwater development potential with proven high borehole yields (>10 l/s) and are recommended for priority full-scale wellfield development, through a phased monitor-model-manage approach. The total proposed groundwater development comprises 48 wellfields with a combined yield of >40 million m3/a. Although several organisations are suitable for implementing the scheme, or parts thereof, the DWS should maintain oversight function to ensure that the several parts of the scheme development are implemented in a coherent manner and in accordance to the implementation strategy.

Abstract

With an increasing population, development of the country and a changing climate, an increased demand for fresh water, coupled with negatively impacted natural water resources, are observed. One impacted component of the water resource may have an impact on another, due to the interaction between water resource components in the water cycle. All water resource components need to be well-managed and protected to ensure their availability and sustainability. Studies on water quantities, flow dynamics, quality, and contamination are essential in this regard. Isotopes are used as a tool in these studies to define the interconnection between different water resource components. The information gained from isotope studies is valuable in the planning of activities in areas where interacting water resource components may potentially be affected. A study in Middleburg comprised a literature review and field investigations at and around a cemetery, as part of a Water Research Commission project on impacts on the water resource from large scale burials. A seasonal wetland is located downgradient of the cemetery, between the cemetery and a stream that flows past the cemetery. In order to assess possible flow pathways from the cemetery to the stream, monthly monitoring of surface and groundwater quality and level fluctuations was carried out on the stream, as well as existing and newly installed boreholes at the site. The water samples were analysed for inorganic constituents, tritium, and stable water isotopes. The isotope results - revealed the comparative influence of rainfall and shallow groundwater contributions to streamflow, while groundwater provides base-flows as the stream levels recede. The depth to groundwater reduced with increasing rainfall, indicating direct recharge. The difference in concentrations of some inorganic parameters in the stream compared to the groundwater at the cemetery revealed the effect of natural attenuation and the wetland acting as a filter to improve the water quality of the shallow interflow.

Abstract

In the following study, the soil and groundwater regime of the Rietvlei wetland near Cape Town are characterised. This has been done by means of logging the subsurface material during the construction of 8 shallow wells, complimented with field observations, and surveying the dug wells. The water stemming from these wells was sampled and analysed for Oxygen 18 and Deterium. Downhole salinity logs of the wells were also undertaken and rainfall samples were analysed for the aforementioned stable isotopes. Results indicate a distinct relationship between elevation and soil structure. Through the use of the water table method, it was found that the relationship between elevation and soil moisture had a direct impact on spatially distributed groundwater recharge on an event basis. Furthermore, higher salinities were found with depth in groundwater in the same wells which had higher recharge values. Isotopic results indicate that groundwater all stems from rainfall, with the exception of Well 8 is influenced by the river due to its proximity to the surface water body. The various water chemistries and soil profiles have a direct impact on the type of flora and its distribution throughout the study area. This study managed to conceptualize the relationship between groundwater, soil profiles and the various plant types surviving in the Rietvlei wetland. Future studies can focus on computer based approaches in order to predict how changes in groundwater characteristics caused by natural or anthropogenic factors would affect other ecohydrological processes within the wetland. These findings can be incorporated in decision making processes concerning groundwater management.

Abstract

The hydrochemical, water stable isotopes of groundwater have been determined around Evander Goldfields Mine in Mpumalanga. Based on the stratigraphy of the study area four major aquifer systems can be identified namely Karoo Supergroup, Transvaal Supergroup, Ventersdorp Supergroup and Witwatersrand Supergroup. Hydrochemical and isotope in groundwater were assessed for Karoo and Witwatersrand Supergroup aquifer systems. The results show that in Karoo, groundwater chemistry evolve in two ways: the shallower recently recharged groundwater depicts Ca-Mg-HCO3 water type and the relatively deeper circulation and older governed by ionic exchange present Na-HCO3 water type. In the study area boreholes around tailing facilities constructed to monitor groundwater in the immediate vicinity of these structures show Na-Cl and Ca-Mg-Cl, and this is highly mineralized groundwater. Water samples collected underground mine workings between 1500 and 2080 mbgl in Wtwatersrand Supergroup aquifer system present Na-Cl water type. All groundwater samples analysed for isotopes ?18O and ?2H plot on and/or close to the Global Meteoric Water and Pretoria Meteoric Water Lines. However, groundwater from the deeper part of the underground workings in the Evander mine plot shifting toward negative values of ?18O in relation to the rest of the groundwater in this study. This fraction of groundwater may originate from precipitation isotopically different from the present day rainfall as suggested by deuterium excess values which are above 21.75?. However, the probability that the shifting of ?18O signature may result from groundwater exchange with CO2 gas has to be considered. Hence, analysis of ?18O and ?13C in groundwater CO2 gas has to be performed in order to clarify the hydrochemical processes evolving groundwater in the study area.

Abstract

This study developed operating rules for groundwater supply from a probabilistic (risk-based) approach. Groundwater supply systems are often operated without relating groundwater yield/availability to demand which makes groundwater resource planning and management challenging and unpredictable. Risk-based approaches for developing groundwater operating rules comprehensively incorporate assurance of supply and also account for uncertainty due to model inputs, model structure and climate variability. A groundwater resource unit (GRU) was delineated and its hydrogeological conceptual model developed. A program for generation of monthly groundwater levels for the GRU was coded in FORTRAN based on the GW-PITMAN model. The model was calibrated using groundwater levels from a neighbouring borehole due to lack of observed representative data for the GRU. Validation was done by establishing the realistic nature of simulated runoff, recharge and groundwater levels. A Variable Length Block (VLB) bootstrapping model was used for simultaneous generation of stochastic inputs (rainfall, evaporation and groundwater levels) of the operating rules model. Operating rules were developed from statistical analysis of 100 base yields for the GRU simulated from 5-year long stochastically generated inputs. The hydrogeological conceptual model indicated presence of faults and diabase dykes which influence preferential flow paths and storage of water in the aquifer. Majority of the historical statistics were mostly well preserved by VLB, except for skewness. Superimposing the cumulative demands on the base yield curves and analysis of percentages of water demands that can be supplied indicated that the groundwater system could not meet the water demands at all times. The operating rule curves indicated that if priority classification is used all water demands are met up to a maximum groundwater level of 25 m. The operating rule curves are therefore expected to improve water supply to both domestic and productive water uses, if they are adequately implemented and hence improve livelihoods.

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

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been used in a variety of problems in the fields of science and engineering in particular automation of many processes due to their self-learning capabilities as well as their noise-immunity. In this paper, we describe a study of the applicability of one of the popular branch of AI (Artificial Neural Network (ANN)) as an alternative approach to automate modelling of one-dimensional geoelectrical resistivity sounding data. The methodology involves two ANNs; first one for curve type identification and the other one for model parameter estimation. A three-layer feedforward neural network that was trained from geoelectrical resistivity data taken at boreholes with geology logs was used to predict earth models from measured data without the need to guess the initial model parameters or use synthetic data as is done with most conventional inversion approaches. The motivation for using the ANN for geophysical inversion is that they are adaptive systems that perform a non-linear mapping between two sets of data from a given domain. For network training, we use the back-propagation algorithm. An example using data from southern Malawi shows that the ANN results outperforms the conventional approaches as the results after adequate training, produce reasonably accurate earth models which are in agreement with borehole log data.

Abstract

Burning of coal for electricity production has resulted in vast amounts of ash being deposited in ash dumps. Rain water and ash water conditioning results in the wetting of ash dumps and if the water retention capacity is exceeded there is a possibility of leaching to soil and underlying aquifers. In this study two different coal ash are used to determine the water retention as excess amount of process water at power stations ash dumps can lead to impeding the desired water balance, which can be critical for maintain various plant processes. The nonlinear relationship between soil water content and matrix suction of a porous material under unsaturated conditions is described by the soil water characteristic curve (SWCC). The SWCC for a given material represents the water storage capability enabling the determination of varying matric suction such as prediction of important unsaturated hydraulic processes including soil permeability, shear strength, volume change with respect to the water content changes. This paper presents an alternative, cost effective and rapid method for measuring and subsequent estimating of the soil-water characteristics of any soil type. Several methods are available to obtain the measurements required for defining soil-water characteristics. However, obtaining the required measurements for a SWCC is generally difficult since there is no laboratory or field instrument, capable of measuring a typical complete plant available water suction range accurately. Due to high methodological effort and associated costs of other methods, a simplified evaporation method which was implemented in the HYPROP (Hydraulic Property analyzer, UMS, 2012) becomes a possible alternative. It relies on the evaporation method initially proposed Schindler (1980). A typical work range for a HYPROP system is 0 to 100 KPa as read out from the two high capacity tensiometers installed at different heights within a saturated sample column. For a dry coal ash dump to be optimally used as sinks, input water applications should be matched with evaporation rates and capillary storage. This will ensure the moisture storage of the ash dump is not exceeded and consequently avert leachate generation at the base of the ash dump. The field capacity of waste materials is of critical importance in determining the formation of leachate in landfills which in this case is the coal ash dump facility. It is the field capacity limit when exceeded which give rise to leachate generation consequently promoting a downward movement of generated leachate.he study found that it is possible to use the Hyprop together with an empirical based fitting model to define a complete SWCC along a dewatering path. The study found the Brooks-Corey model as the suitable representative of the Hyprop measured data, confirmed by AICc and RMSE analysis. The Brooks-Corey estimated retention function parameters within +/- 1% error. A mean value of 35.3% was determined as the water retention or field capacity value for Matimba Coal ash. If the ash dump is operated in excess of this value, chances of groundwater pollution are high.

Abstract

Drilling of five shallow (300m) boreholes was undertaken by the Council for Geoscience at Beaufort West. This was to characterise shallow aquifers and to determine the possible deeper aquifers linked to dolerite sills respectively. Furthermore, to determine the interconnectivity between shallow and deep aquifers. The five shallow boreholes B01H_BW, B02H_BW, B03H_BW, B04H_BW and B05H_BW have depths of 151m, 169m, 151m, 169m and 169m respectively. B02H_BW is currently used as a municipal production borehole and has produced volume of more than 134ML since inception February 2018, whilst the others are used for monitoring. Additionally, the two deep monitoring boreholes, R01-BW and R02-BW have depths of 1402m and 517m respectively. The seven boreholes drilled intersected the Poortjie Member, Abrahamskraal Formations (deep boreholes), Waterberg Formation and Tierberg Formation (R01_BW). An east-west striking dolerite sill that is dipping northwards was encountered during the drilling of the deep boreholes. Boreholes closer to this sill showed more brecciation and generally have a high yield, however, during drilling and pumping test there was no indication of water inflow related to the sill. Water strikes in brecciated rock were concentrated in borehole B03H-BW and reduce northward in borehole B02-BW and more rapidly southward in borehole B04H-BW. All the drilled boreholes except R01-BW that was not yielding enough were tested for aquifer parameters and sustainable yields. Interconnectivity between R02-BW and B04H-BW was confirmed when a drawdown response was observed in B04H-BW during pumping of R02-BW. The flow rate encountered in the boreholes indicates a strong yield in boreholes associated with the brecciated rock (B02H-BW, B03-BW, B04H-BW and R02-BW). Findings indicated that these boreholes are drilled in the same unconfined aquifer where the main water strikes are encountered on the contact between the Poortjie Member and the Abrahamskraal Formation.

Abstract

In the wake of the ongoing water restrictions in South Africa, the issue of groundwater potential for drought relief has been debated on many environmental and socio-economic platforms, nationally. Consequently, the development of groundwater and its related vulnerabilities has become a key topic to the decision makers and stakeholders. Currently, the recruitment of water professionals into government and private water sectors adds substantial value to understanding the importance of protecting this precious resource. This has allowed the monitoring of groundwater to gain ever increasing momentum. Groundwater monitoring has become an essential scientific tool for role-players to achieve robust and verifiable data used for modelling aquifer potential and vulnerability to pollution and over-abstraction. The data is generally sourced from various hydrogeological and environmental investigations which include groundwater development, vulnerability assessment and remediation projects. Groundwater and environmental consulting firms are tasked with imperative roles for implementing groundwater monitoring programmes to the ever growing industrial, commercial, agricultural and public sectors in South Africa. However, groundwater monitoring data, especially in the private sector, are reliable but remains mostly inaccessible due to confidentiality clauses. This does limit our accuracy and comprehensive understanding for determining aquifer potential and vulnerability risks at large. The conceptualisation and modelling of vast monitoring datasets has been recognised as an important contributing factor to enhance groundwater sustainability. This research emphasises the significance of groundwater monitoring for development, protection and remediation of aquifers. Comparing monitoring results from typical sites and methods, provides scientific validation to support good governance of water. Deterioration of groundwater potability in the sight of an existing drought can have irreversible environmental and economic implications for South Africa.

Abstract

The hydraulic parameters of heterogeneous aquifers are often estimated by conducting pumping (and recovery) tests during which the drawdown in a borehole intersecting the aquifer is measured over time, and by interpreting the data after making a number of assumptions about the aquifer conditions. The interpreted values of the hydraulic parameters are then considered to be average values that represent the properties of the bulk aquifer without taking into account local heterogeneities and anisotropies. An alternative and more economic approach is to measure streaming potentials in the vicinity of the borehole being tested. The streaming potential method is a non-invasive geophysical method that measures electrical signals generated by groundwater flow in the subsurface through a process known as electrokinetic coupling. This method allows data to be recorded at a high spatial density around the borehole. The interpretation of streaming potential data in terms of aquifer hydraulic parameters is facilitated by a coupled flow relationship which links the streaming potential gradient to the hydraulic gradient through a constant of proportionality called the electrokinetic coupling coefficient. In the current study, field measurements of streaming potentials were taken during the pumping and recovery phases of pumping tests conducted at two sites with dissimilar geological and geohydrological conditions. The recorded streaming potential data were interpreted by calculating the hydraulic head gradient from the streaming potential gradient, and by using the potential field analytical solution for the transient mode, which relates the streaming potential field directly to the average hydraulic conductivity. Hydraulic conductivity values estimated from the streaming potential method were of the same order as values determined from the analysis of drawdown data, with a relative error of 0.2. This study demonstrates that the streaming potential method is a viable tool to compliment pumping tests and provide a spatial representation of the hydraulic parameters.

Abstract

The aim of the following study was to characterise the soils of Sutherland, located in the Northern Cape of South Africa. This was completed in order to shed light on possible pathways for infiltration and understand the ultimate impact on groundwater resources. Therefore, the relationship between the soil characteristics and infiltration was explored. To achieve this, field work was conducted whereby soil profiles were exposed in order to examine the subsurface characteristics of the soil and map the soil types. Thereafter, infiltration tests were taken randomly across the terrain in order to determine the in-situ properties of the soils in the region. Dye tracer tests were conducted on two plots of 1m2 within the study area, to determine the preferential flow paths and heterogeneities within the area. Field observations, as well as dye tracer tests, indicate a low clay content at the surface. This could be attributed to high wind velocity. Finally, it is shown that local river beds are hydraulically conductive due to the coarse nature of the underlying gravel. Therefore these strips of land need to be protected in order to avoid possible contamination of the already limited groundwater supplies in the region.

Abstract

The complexity of real world systems inspire scientists to continually advance methods used to represent these systems as knowledge and technology advances. This fundamental principle has been applied to groundwater transport, a real world problem where the current understanding often cannot describe what is observed in nature. There are two main approaches to improve the simulation of groundwater transport in heterogeneous systems, namely 1) improve the physical characterisation of the heterogeneous system, or 2) improve the formulation of the governing equations used to simulate the system. The latter approach has been pursued by incorporating fractal and fractional derivatives into the governing equation formulation, as well as combining fractional and fractal derivatives. A fractal advection-dispersion equation, with numerical integration and approximation methods for solution, is explored to simulate anomalous transport in fractured aquifer systems. The fractal advection-dispersion equation has been proven to simulate superdiffusion and subdiffusion by varying the fractal dimension, without explicit characterisation of fractures or preferential pathways. A fractional-fractal advection-dispersion equation has also been developed to provide an efficient non-local modelling tool. The fractional-fractal model provides a flexible tool to model anomalous diffusion, where the fractional order controls the breakthrough curve peak, and the fractal dimension controls the position of the peak and tailing effect. These two controls potentially provide the tools to improve the representation of anomalous breakthrough curves that cannot be described by the classical-equation model. In conclusion, the use of fractional calculus and fractal geometry to achieve the collective mission of resolving the difference between modelled and observed is explored for the better understanding and management of fractured systems.

Abstract

A geoscientific research project is underway in the Western Karoo Basin near Beaufort West, South Africa. This area has been earmarked for possible gas exploration. The aim of the project is to improve the understanding of the deeper aquifer systems of the Karoo Basin to better predict potential impacts of geo-resource exploration activities on the deep groundwater systems. This paper reports on the airborne and ground geophysical surveys that were conducted in the study area to gain insight into the deep structural geology and its possible association with aquifer systems. Geophysical methods that were used in the investigations include: 1) the airborne magnetic method was employed to detect and delineate non-outcropping dolerite sills and dykes, as well as to map geological structures of regional extent, and 2) the deep-probing magnetotelluric (MT) technique was used to map conductivity contrasts at large depths that could be associated with prominent geological structures. The results of the geophysical surveys showed that the airborne magnetic method was very effective in mapping intrusive magmatic bodies and other major geological structures. The magnetotelluric results indicated the presence of very resistive layers that appear to be associated with dolerite intrusives. Furthermore, the vertical displacement of a conductive zone indicated the possible presence of large-scale faulting. Based on the results of the airborne geophysical investigations, two investigative boreholes were drilled at selected positions to depths of 516 m and 1 402 m to obtain information on the subsurface geological and geohydrological conditions, and to constrain the interpretation of the airborne geophysical data. Downhole geophysical surveys were conducted on these boreholes to obtain in situ geotechnical and structural information. The results of this project show that the combined use of airborne and deeper probing geophysical methods can greatly contribute to the understanding of the deep geological and geohydrological conditions in the Karoo Basin. The approach can be further utilised for similar investigations of other Karoo satellite basins in South Africa and neighbouring countries

Abstract

The Western Cape region in South Africa is currently experiencing its worst drought since 1904. As a result, the City of Cape Town (CoCT) implemented emergency response projects to augment water supply through desalination, re-use of treated effluent and groundwater abstraction from several groundwater systems. Amongst the targeted aquifers, the Cape Flats Aquifer (CFA) presents unique challenges and opportunities for abstraction and managed aquifer recharge (MAR). The CFA is a coastal unconfined primary aquifer within the urban and peri-urban environment. As such it is well situated to take advantage of enhanced recharge from treated effluent and urban stormwater. MAR is currently being tested and implemented with a three-fold purpose: (1) create hydraulic barriers against seawater intrusion and other contamination sources, (2) protect groundwater dependent wetlands and RAMSAR sites and (3) increase storage to enhance resilience to drought. Due to local hydrogeological characteristics and a high demand for open land, in the short term, high quality treated effluent will be injected directly through boreholes. Numerical modelling has supported siting and quantifying necessary injection rates. Current estimates indicate that available treated effluent will increase sustainable yields from the aquifer two-fold, as well as providing an additional storage volume equivalent to 2 to 3 years abstraction. In the future this is expected to be complemented with the re-design of urban water drainage to further enhance the recharge of stormwater. Given the time-constraints of an emergency response project, long-term testing and study of the system to support design and implementation have been significantly reduced and had to be replaced by a 'learn by doing' approach. We aim to present the on-going challenges of implementing MAR to complement an emergency response, as well as an overview of the scheme, new data and insights gained through the process.

Abstract

A hydrogeochemical analysis of multiple samples stemming from two fractured rock aquifers in the Karoo geological formation of South Africa was undertaken. The samples were taken using various sampling methods in numerous locations over varying time frames. The ion error balance for the groundwater samples from the previously mentioned secondary aquifers is further analysed. Graphical representation of the data, which includes a piper plot, gives insight into the groundwater geochemistry. Conclusions drawn highlight the precautionary measures to take into account when sampling in fractured rock aquifers in a South African context. The future recommendations include suggestions related to the entire chain of sampling in the context of the theory of sampling and measurement uncertainty for fractured rock hydrogeology in particular.