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(KSA 1) Water Resource Management

THRUST 4: Water Resource Protection

Scope: Reliable supply of good quality water is required for the health, environmental, social and economic wellbeing of the country. The National Water Act of 1998 recognises that protection in relation to a water resource means:  (1) maintenance of the quality of the water resource to the extent that the water resource may be used in an ecological sustainable way; (2) prevention of the degradation of the water resource, and (3) the rehabilitation of the water resource.  There are significant gaps in our knowledge on how to protect our water resources in an integrated manner. While Thrust 3 will look mainly at the quality of the water within our systems this thrust focuses on protecting the water resources, by reducing the quantity of harmful materials reaching the water resources, within a broader framework for all uses. Broadly, research in this thrust focuses on the generation of knowledge and understanding of the catchment processes and land use activities that influence the quality and quantity, negatively or positively, of the water resources. Scientific, technological and institutional approaches that will help to characterise and address these problems include: (1) assessment, monitoring and prediction; (2) tools and control strategies; (3) innovation to assist with prediction and control; and (4) implementation and technology transfer options. The following programmes support this thrust:

Programme 1: Source water protection

Scope: Source water protection refers to protecting source water (water from dams, wetlands, rivers, aquifers, etc.) from contamination and overuse. Specific driving forces, or a combination thereof, which have an impact on water resources will be researched. Integrated protection strategies and approaches will be researched and tested. The development of source water planning, control and response strategies, to minimise adverse impacts on source waters by reducing pollution risks and securing water availability, is a key component of this programme. The source water protection approach will look at, among others, land use (see Programme 2 below), vulnerability assessments and catchment plans and strategies (for both surface and groundwater).

Programme 2 : Land-water linkages

Scope: This programme will enhance our knowledge on the interaction of water and land at various scales.  This programme will focus on the driving forces (new developments, emergency spills, erosion, leaks, soil enhancements, etc.) that can impact water resources from land-based activities. The aim is also to research, evaluate and develop common regulatory tools to overcome the challenge of different technical and procedural approaches for water resource and land use management, in order to enhance our water resource protection capabilities. Techniques to delineate, protect and remediate areas, and/or the activities occurring within these areas, will be researched. Research will also be bi-directional where potential impacts on water resources from land-based activities or processes are investigated as well as the impact of water resources on land-based activities (e.g. floods and droughts).

 

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