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Water-Use of the Dominant Natural Vegetation Types of the Eastern Shores Area, Maputoland
Expanded Title:The health and future conservation of Lake St. Lucia is strongly dependent on the water level and the salinity of the water within the Lake, which is controlled, in part, by freshwater inflows. During droughts, the rivers to the west (Mkuze, Mzinene, Hluhluwe and Nyalazi) provide limited inflow into the lake. Freshwater seepage from the groundwater mound of the Embomveni ridge on the Eastern Shores area into the Nkanzana and Tewate Rivers and other seepage zones along the shoreline become the most important contribution to the lake. This groundwater seepage from the Eastern Shores area has significant ecological importance and provides refuge sites where localised freshwater inflows enable many species to survive during periods of high salinity, preventing extinction and loss of biodiversity. For improved management of the system, accurate water-balance studies were required but were impossible without reliable estimates of Evapo-transpiration (ET). IT was proposed to apply the most appropriate and up-to-date methods to determine the long-term ET for this key strategic wetland and to use these results to verify existing meteorologically-based models for future use. This would not only reduce uncertainty in the water-balance study of the Mfabeni Mire, but also provide guidance in terms of seasonal ET rates over wetlands, and lead to an improved understanding of the processes that define how the surface energy balance in wetlands is partitioned. This study clearly showed the invaluable contribution that can be gained from field based measurements. Prior to this study, there was no ET information for the five dominant landscapes of the Eastern Shores area, which is now provided in this report. This will certainly assist in the future management of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park water resources to ensure the sustainability of the invaluable ecosystem. The study has also shown that the different vegetation types have significantly different water-use. This implies that changes in land-use brought about by climate change or management of the system (by fire for example) will impact the water-balance of the area. The implications of land-use and climate change should therefore be a consideration in the management plans.
Date Published:01/08/2012
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Water Resource Management/IWRM - Planning and development, Water Resource Management/IWRM - Water Governance, Ecosystem - Biodiversity protection
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Standard
WRC Report No:1926/1/12
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0308-6
Authors:Clulow AD; Everson CS; Jarmain C; Mengitsu M
Project No:K5/1926
Originator:WRC
Organizations:School of Bioresources Engineering and Environmental Hydrology University of KwaZulu-Natal
Document Size:6 709 KB
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