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(KSA 1) Water Resource Management

Thrust 2: Water Resource assessment and planning 

Scope: This thrust focuses on developing a scientific understanding of the hydrological cycle (and inter-linkages) in order to promote systematic water assessment and planning. The thrust will promote better understanding of the variability of the quantity and quality of water available for use and development in South Africa. Recent changes in national water resource infrastructure management, the awareness of the poor state of water resource infrastructure and increased knowledge of water resource planning needs are expected to receive attention, through the support of competent and sustainable solutions. Sound water resource assessment and planning can only be achieved with reasonably accurate and consistently recorded and processed data and information. The following programmes are addressed:

Programme 1: Catchment data and information systems

Scope: This programme will support the provisions of Chapter 14 of the National Water Act, especially Part 2: National Information Systems on Water Resources.  This programme is focused on supporting the national initiative for improving the available water resource information, better management of the information and improved information dissemination to stakeholders.  It will establish direct linkages to the national information systems as well as identifying and resolving water resource information gaps. In this programme researched water resource information will be integrated into the national information system that is being established by DWA.  The programme will also support the process of decentralising identified water resource data and information from broader national perspectives to detailed and highly-resolved local and catchment scales.

Programme 2: Surface Water /ground water hydrology 

Scope: This programme focuses on developing and utilising integrated hydrological approaches in surface water and groundwater assessments, water resource explorations, planning and management.  It will take advantage of gains made in improved understanding of groundwater and surface water hydrological processes as well as the availability of better hydrological data, especially the various forms of more accurate remotely-sensed data with better coverage. Through this programme, strategic partnerships with international expertise in both groundwater and surface water hydrological research will be encouraged to flourish. Hydrological tools that have been developed in the past are expected to be upgraded, redeveloped or replaced by tools that are more suited to the current data availability, the improved knowledge and the recent technological advances in hydrological modelling. In this programme, the continued deterioration of hydrological gauging processes and other installed earth measurement devices will be addressed through the intensive use of new data sources from remote sensing coupled with the limited earth-based measurements

Programme 3: Water resource  Planning

Scope:  This programme will focus on identifying, characterising, and understanding (i) the changes in the state of water quality in our water resources associated with either point or non-point pollution sources, and (ii) the associated impacts of such compromised water quality.

 Programme 4 : Water resource infrastructure

Scope: There is an increasing need to develop systems for the efficient maintenance of the aging water infrastructure as the demand for the development of new and expensive water resource infrastructure is increasing due to the growing economy and population growth. This programme will seek to develop strategies and priorities for water resource infrastructure development and management to address the uncertainties and risks associated with climate change. While built infrastructure development such as dams, reservoirs, irrigation and flood barriers, are important options for addressing these issues, this programme will also explore the potential use of natural infrastructure such as wetlands, floodplains, artificial recharge (to aquifers), etc., to complement built infrastructure (but with an added advantage of healthy ecosystems). 

Programme 5: New water and water security
Scope:  Secure and sustainable access to water is essential for a wide range of critical uses such as human health, economic growth, food security, etc. However, in semi-arid environments such as South Africa convential water sources are not sufficient to meet the ever growing demand. Therefore, the understanding and assessments of alternative sources of water such as fog water, desalination, water transfers, etc is essential. The programme will also promote research on the transboundary water issues (water quantity and quality) to ensure water security for South Africa. Other issues to be researched include cooperation on the shared surface water and groundwater resources, as well as the integration of social, economic, and environmental considerations as key components of sustainable water resource development.
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