Conference Abstracts

All Abstracts were presented at the Groundwater Conferences

Displaying 21 - 30 of 220 results
Title Presenter Name Presenter Surname Area Conference year Keywords

Abstract

In response to the serious 2015-2018 “Day Zero” drought, the City of Cape Town implemented large-scale augmentation of the Western Cape Water Supply System from deep groundwater resources within the Table Mountain Group (TMG) fractured aquifers. Several planned TMG wellfields target the Steenbras-Brandvlei Mega-fault Zone (SBMZ), the northern segment of which hosts the Brandvlei hot spring (BHS) – the hottest (~70°C) and strongest (~4 million m3/yr) in the Western Cape. Considering its possible “neohydrotectonic” origin, the BHS may mark the site of a major palaeo-earthquake, suggesting that SBMZ structures are prone to failure in the current crustal stress regime. Despite the “stable” intraplate tectonic setting, the SW Cape has experienced historic large (magnitude >6) earthquakes. Therefore, a better hydrogeological and seismotectonic understanding of the regional “mega-fault” structures is needed.

The South African TrigNet array of continuously recording Global Navigational Satellite System (GNSS) stations can be used to measure surface deformation related to confined aquifer depressurisation and vertical compression during groundwater abstraction. Time-series data from 12 TrigNet stations were used to establish a monitoring baseline for the SW Cape. Observed vertical motions range from slow subsidence to variable slow uplift with superimposed cyclical uplift/depression patterns of seasonal and multi-year variability. Baseline deformation/strain rates were calculated using 27 station pair lengths, ranging between compressive (-0.47 nanostrains/yr) and extensive limits (+0.58 ns/yr), indicating a rigid intraplate setting.

Anomalous high strain rates (> 10 ns/yr), associated with three stations, are probably due to station mount/foundation issues, rather than neo-seismic activity. Regional results show that seismo-geodetic monitoring is an important tool for understanding fractured aquifer compressibility and hydroseismicity, the latter of which may potentially be induced by large-scale TMG groundwater abstraction and/or natural earthquakes in the Western Cape. A local seismo-geodetic monitoring system is therefore being established at Steenbras Wellfield for further observations and analysis.

Abstract

Kanyerere, T

Groundwater contribution towards improved food security and human health depend on the level of contaminants in the groundwater resource. In rural areas, many people use groundwater for drinking and irrigation purposes without treatment and have no knowledge of contaminants levels in such waters. The reason for such lack of treatment and knowledge is due to the parachute type of research which emphasizes on scientific knowledge and records only and do not develop skills and outputs on groundwater quality for improved human health and food security in communities. This study argued that parachute research type exposes groundwater users to health hazards and threaten food security of communities. Concentration levels of contaminants were measured to ascertain suitability of groundwater for drinking and irrigation use. 124 groundwater quality samples from 12 boreholes and 2 springs with physiochemical data from 1995 to 2017 were assessed. This study found high concentration levels of contaminants such F-, NO3-, Cl- and TDS in certain parts of the studied area when compared to international and national water quality standards. In general, groundwater was deemed suitable for drinking purposes in most part of the studied area. Combined calculated values of SAR, Na%, MH, PI, RSC and TDS determined that groundwater is suitable for irrigation purposes. The discussion in this paper showed that scientific knowledge generated on groundwater quality is not aimed at developing skills and outputs for improved human health and food security but rather for scientific publication and record keeping leaving communities where such knowledge has been taken devoid of knowledge and skills about the groundwater quality. In this study, it was recommended that skills and outputs on groundwater quality should be developed and shared with groundwater users through various initiatives as it will enhance the achievement of SDG’s.

Abstract

Saldanha Bay is partially dependent on groundwater as part of their bulk water supply, as surface water resources in the area are extremely limited and fully allocated. Due to this, there is lots of pressure on the groundwater resources by industrial development and residential growth. Despite studies being conducted on these aquifer systems since 1976, they are still poorly understood especially with regards to their recharge and discharge processes. This study aimed at providing better insight and understanding on the natural groundwater recharge and discharge processes in order to assist in the better management of groundwater resources in Saldanha Bay. Recharge investigations included a Time Domain Electromagnetic airborne geophysical survey, the assessment of groundwater levels, infiltration tests, hydrochemical analyses as well as stable and radioactive isotope analyses. These methods allowed for the delineation of the geological layers and extent, determination different water quality spatially across the aquifer, determination of flow paths through the saturated and unsaturated zones, identification of inter-aquifer flow as well as different recharge processes in the area. The results of this study showed that is highly likely that the Saldanha Bay Aquifers are mainly recharged via deep flow paths from the Aurora Mountain Range and Moorreesburg region. Investigations also showed that it is unlikely that the Aquifer Systems are recharged by local rainfall due to thick unsaturated sands and low annual rainfall, except for runoff at the foot of granite hills through focused recharge processes. The Berg River, Langebaan Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean were identified as being the main discharge zones for the area. It is recommended that further hydrogeological investigations are conducted in the Moorreesburg region in order to get a fuller picture of the regional groundwater recharge processes and flow to Saldanha Bay.

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 South African government is actively pursuing unconventional oil and gas (UOG) extraction to augment energy supplies in South Africa, but it risks damaging water quality. The Department of Water Resources and Sanitation recently released regulations to protect water resources during UOG extraction for public comment.

Regulations are one of the main tools that can be used to minimise UOG extraction impacts on water resources and enhance an environmentally sustainable economy. This tool must however be used correctly. Many states in the US and Canada have extensive regulations to protect water resources during UOG extraction but they are often ineffective, either because they were poorly drafted or because they are not properly enforced. Since South Africa is a water-scarce, groundwater-dependent country, we asked South African groundwater experts what regulations are needed and how to enforce them. Focusing on the interface between science and public policy, we critically analyse and recommend the most appropriate fracking regulations to protect groundwater resources. Additionally, we consider the enforcement mechanisms required to ensure the proper regulation of fracking.

The results from this study can assist the government in ensuring that regulations that they are currently drafting and finalising, are appropriate to protect groundwater resources, and that they would be able to enforce them effectively.

Abstract

A Case study done in the heterogeneous Tygerberg shales underlying the northern section of the Cape flats aquifer. A well field consisting of five boreholes within a 1.6 Ha area was test pumped to determine aquifer parameters and sustainable yields for the well field. The wellfield located in a highly heterogeneous geological setting, proved to be an interesting scenario for wellfield analysis and determination of sustainable borehole yields. A variety of analytical methods were used to analyse the test pumping data including the Advance FC analysis and the Cooper Jacob Wellfield analysis, both producing different results. Through the test pumping data analysis, the wellfield could be divided into sub wellfield clusters based on drawdown interconnectivity during testing. Sub wellfield clusters were confirmed using groundwater chemistry, providing higher confidence in limiting uncertainty in long term cluster connectivity.

Abstract

In response to the drought which started in 2017, the Western Cape Government set about securing water supplies to key facilities across the province, including the Knysna Hospital. Drilling and testing of two boreholes at the facility indicated it to be viable to establish a groundwater supply of 66 KL/d from the underlying Table Mountain Group Aquifer. Iron concentrations were low and the initial water chemistry analyses pointed to concentrations below the SANS 241 aesthetic limit. However, further to the implementation and operationalization of the groundwater supply schemes, significantly elevated iron concentrations of up to 6 mg/L were observed. This contributed to the difficulty in getting the Knysna Hospital’s alternative water supply operational. Best practice requires that as little oxygen as possible gets introduced into the groundwater system; and this can be achieved by pumping the borehole continuously at the lowest rate possible. It is not always possible to do this under operational conditions when the water demand varies. To counter the iron problem in the potable water and to prevent or retard an increase in the iron concentration in the abstracted groundwater, iron treatment was added to the treatment train and a dual pumping regime was adopted. Using the variable speed drives that had been installed with the pumps, two pumping rates were adopted – with the rate controlled by the level in the treated water storage tank. When the tank level is low, the borehole is pumped at a rate of 0.9 L/s. However, when the level fills to 70%, the pumping rate is reduced to 0.35 L/s and continues pumping even if the tank is full. The modified system was brought into operation in August 2019 and has continued to meet the water demand of the hospital.

Abstract

Van Rooyen J

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

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

Iron biofouling in boreholes drilled into the Table Mountain Group has been documented, with groundwater abstracted for the Klein Karoo Rural Water Supply Scheme and irrigation in the Koo Valley hampered by clogged boreholes, pumps and pipes. A similar phenomenon has been experienced at some boreholes drilled and operationalised by the Western Cape Government in response to the onset of the crippling drought in 2017. Monitoring of groundwater levels and pumping rates has yielded data showing a gradual decrease in groundwater level as the pumping rate reduced in response to the pump becoming biofouled, with possibly the same negative impact on the borehole itself. Methods are available to rehabilitate the boreholes (mechanical scrubbing, chemical treatment and jetting), but it seems difficult to destroy the bacteria and re-occurrence of biofouling appears inevitable. In the absence of better solutions, current experience suggests an annual borehole maintenance and rehabilitation budget of R 100 000 per borehole is required. This paper presents three case studies of boreholes drilled into the Malmesbury Group and Table Mountain Group and explores possible triggers of biofouling and its manifestation in the monitoring data.