You are on page 1of 755


Water Resources of Arid Areas
Edited by

Civil Engineering Department, University of Botswana,
Gaborone, Botswana
E.M.Shemang & T.R.Chaoka
Department of Geology, University of Botswana,
Gaborone, Botswana


Copyright © 2004 Taylor & Francis Group plc, London, UK
All rights reserved. No part of this publication or the information contained herein may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, by photocopying, recording or otherwise, without written prior permission from the
Although all care is taken to ensure the integrity and quality of this publication and the
information herein, no responsibility is assumed by the publishers nor the author for any damage
to property or persons as a result of operation or use of this publication and/or the information
contained herein.
Published by: A.A.Balkema Publishers, a member of Taylor & Francis Group plc and
This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2005.
“To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of
thousands of eBooks please go to”

ISBN 0-203-02340-4 Master e-book ISBN

ISBN 04 1535 913 9 (Print Edition)

Table of Contents
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson, Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN 04 1535 913 9

Preface xii

Keynote address

Sustainable water management in arid and semi-arid environments 3

W.Kinzelbach, P.Bauer, P.Brunner & T.Siegfried

Theme A: Problems in obtaining hydrological and geo-hydrological data

Slug tests in fractured rock formations: value, pitfalls and 21

P.D.Vermeulen & G.J.van Tonder
Flow simulation model performance assessment using entropy 29
A.M.Ilunga & D.Stephenson
Data collection experiences in water level monitoring, borehole 36
archive and research projects in semi arid Botswana
M.Magowe, T.Obakeng & P.Makobo
Rainfall characteristics in semi-arid Kitui district of Kenya 43
A.O.Opere, V.O.Awuor, S.O.Kooke & W.O.Omoto
Quantification of the impact of irrigation on the aquifer under the 60
Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme
R.G.Ellington, B.H.Usher & G.J.van Tonder

Theme B: Groundwater recharge: natural and artificial

Groundwater development—identification of artificial recharge 75

areas in Alla, Eritrea
K.S.Viswanatham, F.Tesfaslasie, M.Asmellash, A.Kumar &
Subterraneous injection of nutrient rich groundwater to the coastal 85
K.K.Balachandran & J.S.Paimpillil
A new method for the estimation of episodic recharge 92
J.Bean, G.van Tonder & I.Dennis
Prioritisation of the impacts of pollutants on groundwater flow 99
systems in South Africa
I.Dennis, B.Usher & J.Pretorius
Understanding problems of low recharge and low yield in 109
boreholes: an example from Ghana
A.J.E.Cobbing & J.Davies
Spatial variation of groundwater recharge in semi-arid 122
environment—Serowe, Botswana
L.M.Magombedze, B.Frengstad & M.W.Lubczynski
Quantification of artificial ground water recharge 133
The architecture and application of the South African Groundwater 145
Decision Tool
I.Dennis & G.J.van Tonder
The development of a groundwater management tool for the 156
Schoonspruit dolomitic compartment
B.H.Usher & S.Veltman
Effects of mining and urban expansion on groundwater quality in 168
Francistown, Botswana
B.Mafa & H.Vogel
In situ remediation potential for Southern African groundwater 181
S.Clarke, G.Tredoux & P.Engelbrecht
Coastal aquifers intrusion at semi-arid region of Turkey 191
Evaluation of groundwater recharge rates in the Kizinga catchment 198
in Dar es Salaam region
Y.B.Mkwizu & H.H.Nkotagu

Theme C: Socio-economic aspects

KNUST experiences in capacity building in the water and 213

sanitation sector
S.N.Odai, F.O.K.Anyemedu, S.Oduro-Kwarteng & K.B.Nyarko
Strategic partnerships for sustainable water education and research 221
in developing countries
S.N.Odai, K.A.Andam & N.Trifunovic
Assessing demand for clean and safe domestic water in eastern 227
E.Manzungu, M.Machingambi & R.Machiridza
The role of supplementary irrigation for food production in a semi- 240
arid country—Palestine
Conversion of priority water rights to proportional water permits 254
and conflict management in the Mupfure river catchment,
Impacts of water development in arid lands of Southern Africa: 262
socio-economic issues
Institutional challenges for small towns’ water supply delivery in 275
Socio-economic performance of Sepeteri irrigation project in 287
O.O.Olubode-Awosola & E.O.Idowu

Theme D: Application of geophysical, GIS, and remote sensing


Mapping vegetation for upscaling transpiration using high- 302

resolution optical satellite and aircraft images in Serowe, Botswana
Y.A.Hussin, D.C.Chavarro, M.Lubczynski & O.Obakeng
Gravity study on groundwater structure in Central Butana (Sudan) 313
K.M.Kheiralla & A.E.Ibrahim
Remote sensing and electrical resistivity studies on groundwater 330
structure zones in Central Butana (Sudan)
K.M.Kheiralla & A.E.Ibrahim
Monitoring and modeling of fluxes on Kalahari—setup and 346
strategy of the Kalahari Monitoring project. Serowe study case,
M.W.Lubczynski & O.Obakeng
Geoelectrical investigation for aquifer delineation in the semi-arid 357
Chad Basin, Nigeria
A.Iliya & E.M.Shemang
Monitoring of evapotranspiration on Kalahari, Serowe case study, 364
O.Obakeng & M.W.Lubczynski
Electro-seismic survey system 381
S.R.Dennis, M.du Preez & G.J.van Tonder
Borehole site investigations in volcanic rocks of Lolmolok area, 388
Samburu district, Kenya
Groundwater evaluation in a complex hydrogeological 406
environment—a GIS based approach
B.Mudzingwa, J.L.Farr, R.Gumiremhete & T.Kellner
Application of 2-D resistivity imaging combined with time domain 420
electromagnetic survey to map shallower aquifers in Kunyere
valley, northwest Botswana
E.M.Shemang, H.Kumar & J.Ntsatsi

Theme E: Climate change and its impact

Hydraulic studies in the design of sand dams 430

A.S.Nzaba, H.O.Farah, T.C.Sharma & C.W.M.Sitters
Designing and implementing an aircraft survey mission using high- 442
resolution digital multi-spectral camera for vegetation mapping for
upscaling transpiration of Serowe, Botswana
Y.A.Hussin, M.W.Lubczynski, O.Obakeng & D.C.Chavarro
Relevance of groundwater interaction with surface water to the 450
eco-hydrology of semi-arid regions
Impacts of climate change in water resources planning and 461
Turning a liability into an asset: the case for South African 467
coalmine waters
B.H.Usher & F.D.I.Hodgson
Environmental hydrogeology of the dolomite aquifer in Ramotswa, 479
M.Staudt & H.Vogel
Investigation of natural enrichment processes of nitrate in soil and 489
groundwater of semi-arid regions: case study—Botswana
S.Stadler, M.von Hoyer, W.H.M.Duijnisveld, T.Himmelsbach,
M.Schwiede, J.Böttcher & H.Hötzl
Hydroclimatological approach to sustainable water resources 505
management in semi arid regions of Africa
Impact of cultivation practices on multiple uses of water in the 514
Alemaya catchment, eastern Ethiopia
Y.E.Woyessa & A.T.P.Bennie
Geochemical evidence and origin of salinity in the shallow basinal 528
brine from the Makgadikgadi Pans Complexes, northeastern

Theme F: Vulnerability and risk

Decision support for optimal water system planning: a Wadessy 541

case study
A.A.Ilemobade & D.Stephenson
The importance of constructing a correct conceptual model for an 551
G.van Tonder, I.Dennis & D.Vermeulen
Water resources development and risk assessment in mountain 559
regions of Africa
Reliability, resilience and vulnerability for reservoir sizing and 572
Hydrological impact of dam construction in an arid area 580
D.Stephenson & Z.Chengeta
The geochemistry of fresh water supplies in Botswana 589
L.Molwalefhe & S.Vriend
Groundwater modelling with limited data: a case study of Yobe 600
River Basin, North East Nigeria
M.Hassan, R.C.Carter & K.R.Rushton

Theme G: Water resources management

Apple and grape vinegar application as c-source in water 613

Ş.Aslan & A.Türkman
Water resources management in the National 623
Park, central Australia
Integrated water resources management and agriculture in southern 634
M.McCartney, H.Sally & A.Senzanje
Challenges for managing water resources in semi-arid areas: a case 643
study from two rural communities in Zimbabwe
F.T.Mugabe & A.Senzanje
An Integrated Water Resources Management tool for Southern 650
Africa allowing low flow estimation at ungauged sites
M.J.Fry, S.S.Folwell, H.A.Houghton-Carr & Z.B.Uka
Organization of water services in Malawi and strengths and 661
weaknesses in implementing Integrated Water Resources
Management (IWRM)
Towards best water resources management practice in small town 666
water supply system in Tanzania
A.Mvungi & M.Makuya
Water management in the Mauritian textile wet processing industry 678
N.Kistamah & S.Roseunee
Analysis of the microbiological situation of the quality of domestic 685
water sources and identification of the microorganisms in them,
located in the semi-arid regions of the Eastern Cape, South Africa
M.Zamxaka, G.Pironcheva & N.Y.O.Muyima
Dry season Kalahari sap flow measurements for tree transpiration 693
mapping—Serowe study case, Botswana
M.W.Lubczynski, A.Fregoso, W.Mapanda, C.Ziwa, M.Keeletsang,
D.C.Chavarro & O.Obakeng
Heavy metals and radioactivity in the groundwater of Khartoum 702
State, Sudan
Impediments to the effective implementation of a groundwater 707
quality Protection strategy in Botswana
T.R.Chaoka, E.M.Shemang, B.F.Alemaw & O.Totolo
Spatial assessment of groundwater pollution vulnerability of the 718
Kanye wellfield in SE Botswana
B.F.Alemaw, E.M.Shemang & T.R.Chaoka
The effect of socio-economic activities on watershed management: 725
the case study of Gaborone Dam catchment in Botswana
G.S.Thabeng & D.B.Kemiso

Author index 737

Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson, Shemang & Chaoka
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN 04 1535 913 9

Africa’s water resources are threatened by population growth with the resultant increase
in water demand, the stresses of water use for various activities, desertification, global
warming and climate change, and other interventions in the water cycle by man. These
effects are more pronounced in the Arid and Semi-Arid regions of Africa in particular
and the world in general. It is therefore vitally important that the water resources in Arid
and Semi-Arid regions are developed and managed in a sustainable and integrated
Integrated management of water resources in the arid and semi-arid regions of Africa
requires a spectrum of efforts from local and community stakeholders to national and
transboundary river basin management. This conference aims at sharing the best practices
of water use and conservation around the globe.
The main objective of this conference was therefore to bring together educators,
researchers, practitioners, managers, policy makers and NGO’s from Africa in particular
and the world in general involved in various aspects of water resources in arid and semi
arid regions. The more specific objectives of the conference were to
(i) Assess the current state of the art of water resources management in arid and semi arid
regions with particular emphasis on African regions.
(ii) Address the future water stress due to limited water resources, population growth,
increasing demand and pollution and other related risks, resulting in insufficient water
(iii) Promote dialog and interaction between different disciplines and professions.
(iv) Forster insights into issues of global sustainable development and set concrete targets
to meet the need for drinking water and water borne sanitation in arid and semi arid
countries of Africa and the world in general.
We received an overwhelming response to our call for papers. We received over 120
abstracts and each abstract was reviewed and more than two thirds of the abstracts were
accepted. Authors were then requested to submit full text of papers. The full texts of the
papers were reviewed by the conference organizing committee and 68 papers were finally
accepted for conference.
The papers in this book “Water Resources of Arid and Semi-Arid Regions of Africa”
constitute the conference proceedings. This book is subdivided into seven sections.
Section 1 deals with problems in obtaining data. Section 2 deals with groundwater
recharge: natural and artificial; Section 3 deals with Socio economic aspects of water
demand management; Section 4 deals with geophysical, GIS and remote sensing
techniques for groundwater exploration; Section 5 deals with climate change and its
impact on water resources; Section 6 deals with vulnerability and risk assessment and
Section 7 water management.
This book will be of interest to researchers and practitioners in the field of surface
water hydrology, groundwater hydrology, environmental engineering, agricultural
engineering and earth sciences, as well as those engaged in water resources planning,
development and management in arid and semi arid areas. Graduate students and those
wishing to conduct research in hydrology, environmental science and engineering and
water resources will find the book to be of value.
Dr A.R.Tombale
Permanent Secretary
Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Botswana
Keynote address
Sustainable water management in arid and
semi-arid environments
W.Kinzelbach, P.Bauer, P.Brunner & T.Siegfried
Institute for Hydromechanics and Water Resources Management, Swiss
Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson, Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN 04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: Scarcity of water often leads to its non-sustainable use. The

globally most widely spread non-sustainable practices are overpumping of
aquifers, drying up of wetlands and soil salination on irrigated land. Only
with much more careful management of scarce resources sustainability in
the long term can be reached. Modeling is a valuable tool in the analysis
of management options and scenarios. New types of data from remote
sensing, airborne geophysics, and environmental tracers to name a few
allow reaching a new quality of prediction. Three field studies illustrate
the points.


Fresh water is a scarce resource on a worldwide basis. This becomes apparent when
looking at the basic items of the global freshwater balance (Postel et al., 1996). Of the
110,000km3/a of precipitation on the landmass of the earth, 50,000 are returned to the
atmosphere via evapotranspiration by the planet’s natural plant cover. Another 21,000 are
used by man-made ecosystems (18,000km3/a by rain fed agriculture and 3,000km3/a by
irrigated agriculture). This shows that agriculture and natural vegetation are already fierce
competitors for the available freshwater. Of the accessible runoff of 13,000km3/a about
4,000 are appropriated by mankind. 70% of those go into irrigated agriculture. This
means that a global water crisis would above all be a global crisis in food production.
Compared to the 13,000km3/a available the abstracted 4,000 appear small. One should,
however, not forget that these figures are averaged in time and space and therefore hide
the real problem, e.g. droughts and floods. One can still use the ratio a of withdrawals
and available renewable resources as an indicator. Due to the variability of the quantities
involved, it is the experience that a value of a>0.4 already reflects severe scarcity. On a
global scale a=0.31 is found (Alcamo et al., 2003). This indicates that scarcity on a global
level is a reality today, with the arid world already experiencing very severe scarcity
Water resources of arid areas 4


Sustainable water management is a practice, which avoids irreversible or quasi-

irreversible damage to the resource water and other natural resources linked to it, such as
soil and ecosystems. Such a practice conserves the ability of the resource water to
provide its services including ecological services. Water scarcity and poverty are often
the causes of non-sustainable behavior as they lead to overexploitation and depletion of
What are the relevant issues for global sustainability in the water sector? To identify
big and possibly existential problems for whole regions we have to look for ubiquitous
negative global trends. In that sense there are a number of non-sustainable practices,
which are of global importance. Above all, these are
– the overpumping of aquifers,
– the destruction of wetlands,
– the salination of soils, and
– the pollution of aquifers with persistent pollutants.
Globally about 800km3/a of freshwater are abstracted from aquifers. About one quarter of
this abstraction is non-sustainable in the sense that it is not replaced by recharge, i.e. it is
taken out of the available stock. On the Arabian Peninsula, in North Africa, China and the
arid Western United States for example, abstractions for large-scale irrigation have
withdrawn large quantities of fossil water, which under present climatic conditions are
not replenished any more.
The global area of wetlands has diminished by 50% since the year 1900. This has a
dramatic impact on species diversity. It is a consequence of the competition between
natural and man-made ecosystems for land and water resources. The tendency is
Of the 260 million ha of irrigated farmland in the world about 80 million are affected
by soil salination. Salination is a common phenomenon in hot climates. It occurs if in a
soil more salt is deposited by evapotranspiration than is removed by drainage. In irrigated
agriculture, the most common mechanism leading to salination is the groundwater table
rise due to seepage of irrigation water. Once a groundwater table is closer than 2m to
ground level, capillary rise leads to direct evaporation from groundwater and to fast
salination of the topsoil.
Finally, there is the deterioration of groundwater quality by persistent pollutants. One
might expect that among those chlorinated hydrocarbons are the most important. This is
only true for industrialized countries while globally the most prominent pollutant is salt,
especially in arid regions and coastal areas, where seawater intrusion occurs.
In principle, all these violations of sustainability are reversible. But the required time-
scales are on the order of several generations. For all practical purposes these damages
are irreversible.
In the following, three examples from projects of the Institute of Hydromechanics and
Water Resources Management are shown, illustrating the first three globally important
sustainability problems. The common features of these examples are that
– there is water scarcity (all three areas are in arid or semi-arid climate zones),
– a model is developed to analyze and understand the system,
Sustainable water management in arid and semi-arid environments 5

– the model is used for the testing of management strategies and/or for optimization, and
– the connection is made to the field of socio-economics.



The North Western Sahara is underlain by one of the world’s largest aquifer systems,
which covers approximately 1,000,000km2 and consists of two major aquifers, the deeper
Continental Intercalaire (CI) and the shallower Complexe Terminal (CT) (Fig. 1). Their
water resources are being utilized by the three countries Algeria, Tunisia and Libya
mainly for irrigation purposes. The system nowadays hardly receives any recharge. At
most 30m3/s are estimated as recharge

Figure 1. Overview of the North-

Western Sahara aquifer system and its
water balance.
along the southern flank of the Saharan Atlas where the aquifers strike out (ERESS,
1972). Compared to the size of the system, this recharge flux is—if at all—only of
importance locally. The system discharges mainly via the sink of the Chotts or salt lakes,
which are the topographic lows of the endorrheic basin. Here approximately 10m3/s
evaporate. A very small portion of no more than 5m3/s is thought to discharge to the sea
in Libya.
Until 1950 abstractions were small. Since then the population has tripled and with it
the amount of water pumped for irrigation. An estimated rate of 180m3/s is abstracted
today. As a consequence the large springs in the vicinity of the Chotts have run dry (Fig.
2). Artesianism has vanished over large areas and the water, which before flowed at no
energy cost, now has to be pumped.
Water resources of arid areas 6

The present situation is characterized by an abstraction, which is 6 times as large as

the recharge rate. This brings up the question whether a non-renewable resource should
be used at all. Looking at the size of the system and its storage coefficient, an enormous
amount of about 100000km3 of water is stored. About one tenth of that amount can be
accessed with an economically feasible drawdown of less than 250m. With a projected
future withdrawal rate of 500m3/s the total resource can still last for about 600 years. But
this water comes at a price. First, energy is necessary for its pumping and distribution and
investments in pipes and boreholes have to be made. Second, pumping can lead to
deterioration of water quality. Sources of pollution are various. Near the Chotts for
example, large drawdowns will reverse the hydraulic gradient, which under natural
conditions is always directed from the oases to the Chotts. A reversed gradient mobilizes
brine, which finally leads to degradation of the water quality pumped and contributes to
the die-off of oases. A similar phenomenon is observed along the coast, where
overpumping leads

Figure 2. Development of discharges

from springs in Southern Tunisia
(1887–1985) (Source: Mamou, 1990)
Sustainable water management in arid and semi-arid environments 7

Figure 3. Modeled head distribution in

CI, 1950 (heads from 530 mamsl to 70
in steps of 35m).

Figure 4. Predicted head distribution in

CI, 2050 for planned pumping (heads
from 530 mamsl to –250 mamsl in
steps of 55m).
Water resources of arid areas 8

to seawater intrusion. Salt water can also be mobilized from lower saline aquifers such as
the Turonian. With a reduced pressure overburden this confined aquifer can infiltrate at a
larger rate into the CT from below.
A numerical model of the system has been built which demonstrates that with the
required total pumping rate by 2050 large areas of the presently strongly pumped regions
will face a piezometric decline with economically infeasible drawdowns of more than
250m below ground level (area with sawtooth pattern in Fig. 4). At the same time the
constraints for water quality locally can no longer be fulfilled.
The groundwater model was then coupled with optimization algorithms to find
allocation patterns that conform to demand, drawdown and quality constraints in time
while minimizing overall provision costs. The wells in an optimal scheme spread out over
the area to equilibrate distribution cost with pumping cost, which depend on drawdown.
They further spread to the CI from the CT. Two variants were analyzed. In the first, the
existing pumping locations were used and the pumping rates at those constituted the set
of decision variables. At the Chott cells, gradient constraints were introduced to prevent
gradient reversal and thus preserve the productivity of the oases. On the whole the costs
are exploding over time, with the running cost of water increasing by a factor of about 30
in 50 years (Siegfried, 2003). In a second variant, pumping at any location was allowed
with the costs being the only criterion for choosing a specific cell. The results show that
compared to the first variant much better abstraction schemes are possible with
considerably lower running cost (and total costs) over the next 50 years. However
interesting such a scenario is, it would require a complete renewal of infrastructure.
Realistically, only a gradual transition from today’s pumping well distribution to a more
favorable one in the future will be feasible.
The model demonstrates that it is possible to minimize pumping cost to reasonable
levels and provide water for the next 50 years. This time however must be used to
develop alternatives. All optimization runs were carried out ignoring national borders in
order to assess benefits from cooperative management. As the results demonstrate,
cooperation between the three countries involved brings considerable advantage in the
exploitation of the resource. Nevertheless, in the long run the conservation of the oasis
culture requires heavy subsidies as the substitution between the production factors water
and capital progresses.


The Okavango River flows from the Benguela plateau of Southern Angola in south-
eastern direction through the northern tip of Namibia and then into Botswana, where it
forms an inland
Sustainable water management in arid and semi-arid environments 9

Figure 5. Satellite image of the

Okavango Delta (length from right to
left about 550km).
Delta in which it is consumed completely by evapotranspiration (Fig. 5). The Delta is one
of the largest wildlife areas in Africa and is an attraction for numerous tourists. The
yearly floods of the river turn a large area of the Delta into a seasonal swamp (Hutchins
et al., 1976; Scholz et al., 1976; McCarthy et al., 1986; Thomas and Shaw, 1991; Ellery
et al., 1993; McCarthy et al., 1993; McCarthy and Ellery, 1994; Modisi et al., 2000;
Gumbricht et al., 2001).
As the flood takes 3 months to propagate from the inflow at Mohembo to the distal
side at Maun, it is out of phase with the local rainy season and thus increases the water
availability over the year. The upstream countries are discussing plans to abstract water
from the river and/or build dams for electricity production or agricultural purposes. In
Botswana itself, various sectors of the economy have also proposed to make use of the
Okavango water, be it for agriculture or for mining purposes. All measures proposed
threaten the existence of the Delta as the unique ecosystems it is. Both abstraction of
water in the upstream and acceleration of the through-flow by dredging of channels etc.
will cause a decrease in the size of the seasonal swamp. In order to assess the impact of
hydraulic measures on the size and distribution of the flooded area a numerical model
was constructed which contains the surface water and the groundwater in two coupled
layers. In an innovative approach satellite data on the time-varying size of the Delta were
used to calibrate the model (McCarthy et al., 2003; Bauer et al., 2004). Further data used
in this approach are a high-resolution digital terrain model obtained from the flooding
patterns and the related vegetation patterns (Gumbricht et al., 2001, 2003), the inflow at
Mohembo, the precipitation from METEOSAT data (Herman et al., 1997), the
Water resources of arid areas 10

evapotranspiration from multi-spectral satellite data (Bastiaanssen et al., 1998a, 1998b),

and last not least local measurements which are routinely performed by the Botswana
Department of Water Affairs. The model is able to reproduce satisfactorily the seasonal
dynamics of the flooded areas both in total extent and in distribution over a period of 20
years for which data are available (Fig. 6). The sink of all water is essentially the
evapotranspiration by the plant cover. This process also governs the distribution of salts
in the Delta. Pronounced salt crusts indicate areas, which are natural disposal sites of
salts. Their continued functioning is of considerable importance to the conservation of the
Delta. This process will be incorporated in a future version of the model.
One example of measures with potentially serious impacts on the Delta is the
abstraction of water upstream of the inflow (Fig. 7). It is seen that an abstraction is
amplified i.e. the relative reduction in area is considerably larger than the relative
reduction in inflow. Dams have an effect on both inflow reduction and temporal inflow
distribution. Model calculations showed that the change in input distribution not
necessarily is detrimental to the size of the flooded area. A more stretched out flood will
bring water further downstream. Morphological changes such as dredging of channels
and removal of blockages by papyrus have also a pronounced effect, not so much on the
total flooded area as on the distribution of flooded areas within the Delta (Bauer et al.,

Figure 6. Observed and modeled

flooding frequency (%).
Sustainable water management in arid and semi-arid environments 11

Figure 7. Flooded area for different

abstraction scenarios in comparison
with the modeled development of the
last 20 years.
The local abstraction for household consumption, be it directly or from the aquifer, is so
small that it will at no stage be of relevance for the Delta. The tentative ranking of
different interventions according to their severity is as follows:
– abstractions larger than 2m3/s in the upstream,
– building of large dams in the upstream,
– change to a drier climate,
– morphological changes (dredging, cutting of vegetation, tectonics),
– local drinking water supply.
The model can provide a quantitative basis for the political debate between the three
riparian nations. It is clear that the conservation of the Delta must bring some revenue to
the upstream in exchange for the guaranteed inflow. The key parameter for an
administrable negotiated solution will be the minimum inflow at Mohembo and its
seasonal variability.



The third example studies a region in China’s arid west. The Yanqi basin is formed by
the lowlands of the Kaidu River and Lake Bostan (Fig. 8). The area has been used
intensively for agriculture over the past 50 years. The main products are grapes, cotton
and red peppers.
Water resources of arid areas 12

Figure 8. Satellite map of the Yanqi

basin showing the irrigation areas
along the Kaidu River, Lake Bostan
and the Kongque River.
As precipitation is only 70mm/a and thus negligible compared to the potential
evaporation of 1800mm/a, no agriculture is possible without irrigation. The last 50 years
have seen a tremendous growth of the population. This has led to a strong increase in
agricultural production. The intensive irrigation with river water caused a water table rise,
followed by serious soil salination. To maintain production, over-irrigation is required to
push salt from the surface beneath the root zone. This practice increases the amount of
water used per unit crop and contributes again to water table rise. A vicious circle is
triggered, leading to higher and higher salinity in the water flowing off the irrigation area
both in the subsurface and in the drains. One could argue that the applied irrigation
techniques and efficiencies in the Yanqi Basin are sustainable, as a steady state has been
reached (the amount of salt transported out of the Yanqi Basin is equal to the amount of
salt imported by the Kaidu) and production stabilized on a level still profitable. This of
course cannot be called sustainable because only the needs of the farmers in this
particular irrigation system are satisfied. With the rising groundwater table and the
increased non-productive evaporation of water the salinity in the lake has increased and
the lake level has fallen. The amount of water available for the downstream of lake
Bostan, carried by the Kongque River, has decreased thus limiting natural vegetation
growth and agriculture in the so called Green Corridor. The Green Corridor is a
landscape, which extends down to Lop Nor and is characterized by the riverine desert
poplar forests. Today, no water reaches Lop Nor due to the high consumptive use in the
upstream irrigation systems.
In order to improve the situation of the system as a whole, a number of measures in
the upstream have been proposed (Dong, 2001). They include
Sustainable water management in arid and semi-arid environments 13

– the reduction of irrigation area,

– substitution of irrigation water from the river by groundwater thus guaranteeing that the
groundwater table stays below critical levels,
– changes in the crop mix and irrigation techniques (e.g. drip irrigation for grapes),
– the transfer of water directly from Kaidu river to the Kongque river bypassing the lake,
– the lowering of the lake level in order to reduce non-productive evaporation of the lake
and others.
In an integrated modeling approach all these options will be investigated. Again, some
relevant data can be obtained using remote sensing techniques. In this case we
constructed a digital terrain model from stereo images of radar satellites based on
methods described by Zebker and Goldstein, 1986. The absolute elevations were obtained
from single point DGPS measurements (Fig. 9).
The ground surface elevation is of particular interest in salination problems as
evaporation from groundwater is a function of the distance to groundwater table. Hence
salinity observed at the

Figure 9. Digital terrain model of the

Yanqi basin.
Water resources of arid areas 14

Figure 10. Correlation between

measurements at ground control points
(GCP) of soil conductivity and spectral
match to salt pixel.
ground level is a data type, which allows the regional verification of the groundwater
model. The distribution of surface salinity was obtained from multispectral ASTER data
and measurements in the field. Based on the spectral response of a completely salinized
pixel, the closeness of any pixel to this reference is determined yielding an uncalibrated
salinity map. To convert these values into salinity or its physical measure of electrical
conductivity, a calibration with ground truth is required. The ground truth was obtained
both by single core samples and less time-consuming geophysical measurements. A good
correlation between ground truth and the uncalibrated salinity map was found (Fig. 10).
Of course, this correlation only holds for the non-irrigated areas.
The salinity map (Fig. 11) clearly shows the salt accumulation in the paths between
fields while in the irrigated fields themselves no increased salinity is visible due to over-
While a coupled groundwater-surface water model is still under development,
preliminary estimates are already available on the basis of a multi-box approach with the
irrigation area, the aquifer and the lake being the respective boxes. Despite the fact that
the box approach is a major simplification, it demonstrates that steady states for
groundwater tables as well as salt concentration exist. Depending on how water in a
steady state is exported from the system, reaching a steady state salt concentration can
take a very long time compared to reaching a steady state in groundwater tables (Fig. 12).
The steady state salt concentration is directly determined by
Sustainable water management in arid and semi-arid environments 15

Figure 11. Salinity map obtained from

a multispectral satellite image.

Figure 12. Steady state for

groundwater tables (hss, m below
surface) and salinity (css, g/l) in the
Yanqi basin aquifer as functions of
applied irrigation water (in 107m3/a).
the ratio of the flux of water draining from the aquifer into the lake and the groundwater
recharge. Furthermore, the box approach shows that the rate of accumulation of salt
increases rapidly as soon as direct evaporation from the aquifer occurs.
Pumping groundwater for irrigation purposes would not only reduce the need for over-
irrigation, but also directly contribute to the water availability downstream. This solution
is more expensive as groundwater comes at about 10 times the price of surface water.
However, if the water table can be kept low by pumping groundwater, the conservation of
soil and the increased availability of surface water in the downstream might strike the
balance with a higher price of water.
Water resources of arid areas 16


In arid countries the problems of sustainability in the water sector are prominent. On a
worldwide basis the three subjects discussed are the most widespread. They show several
common features. Water management in the arid and semi-arid environment must include
salt management. Modern tools such as remote sensing, geophysics and modeling
hydrological science help even in regions with weak infrastructure to quantify the
implications of human interaction and to give advice to decision makers on the
sustainability of water management practices. Models summarize the state of affairs and
are the only means to make predictions. They are bound to be crude and simulations will
always be idealized. Still, they can serve as points of reference. A further common
feature is that sustainable solutions require the system boundary to be taken sufficiently
large, often transgressing political boundaries. While science can give some decision
support, the decisions for or against sustainability are made in the political arena.


Alcamo, J., Doll, P., Henrichs, T., Kaspar, F., Lehner, B., Rosch, T. & Siebert, S. 2003.
Development and testing of the WaterGAP 2 global model of water use and availability.
Hydrological Sciences Journal-Journal Des Sciences Hydrologiques, 48(3):317–337.
Bastiaanssen, W.G.M., Menenti, M., Feddes, R.A. & Holtslag, A.A.M. 1998a. A remote sensing
surface energy balance algorithm for land (SEBAL). 1. Formulation. Jnl. of Hydrology, 212–
Bastiaanssen, W.G.M., Pelgrum, H., Wang, J., Ma, Y., Moreno, J.F., Roerink, G.J. & van der Wal,
T. 1998b. A remote sensing surface energy balance algorithm for land (SEBAL). 2. Validation.
Jnl. of Hydrology, 212–213:213–229.
Bauer, P., Gumbricht, T. & Kinzelbach, W. 2004. A large-scale coupled surface water/ground
water model of the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Water Resources Research, submitted.
Dong, X., Jiang, T. & Jiang, H. 2001. Study on the pattern of water resources utlilsation and
environmental conservation of Yanqi Basin. In: G.Li (Ed.), Development, Planning and
Management of Surface and Groundwater Resources. IAHR congress proceedings. Tsinghua
University Press, Beijing, China: 333–340.
Ellery, W.N., Ellery, K., Rogers, K.H., McCarthy, T.S. & Walker, B.H. 1993. Vegetation,
hydrology and sedimentation processes as determinants of channel form and dynamics in north-
eastern Okavango Delta, Botswana. African Jnl of Ecology, 31:10–25.
ERESS 1972. Etude des Ressources en Eau du Sahara Septentrional. Rapport sur les Résultats du
Projet, Conclusions et Recomm endations, UNESCO, Paris.
Gumbricht, T., McCarthy, T.S. & Bauer, P. 2003. Microtopography of the Okavango Delta using
correlation between land cover and elevation. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, in press.
Gumbricht, T., McCarthy, T.S. & Merry, C.L. 2001. The topography of the Okavango Delta,
Botswana, and its tectonic and sedimentological implications. South African Jnl. of Geology,
Herman, A., Kumar, V.B., Arkin, P.A. & Kousky, J.V. 1997. Objectively Determined 10 Day
African Rainfall Estimates Created for Famine Early Earning Systems. International Journal of
Remote Sensing, 18(10):2147–2159.
Hutchins, D.G., Hutton, L.G., Hutton, S.M., Jones, C.R. & Loenhert, E.P. 1976. A summary of the
geology, seismicity, geomorphology and hydrogeology of the Okavango Delta, Geological
Survey Botswana, Gaborone.
Sustainable water management in arid and semi-arid environments 17

Mamou, A. 1990. Charactéristiques et evaluation des resources en eau du sud Tunisien.

Dissertation, Université de Paris-Sud, Centre d’Orsay.
McCarthy, J., Gumbricht, T., McCarthy, T.S., Frost, P.E., Wessels, K. & Seidel, F. 2003. Flooding
Patterns of the Okavango Wetland in Botswana between 1972 and 2000. Ambio, 32(7):453–457.
McCarthy, T.S. and Ellery, W.N. 1994. The effect of vegetation on soil and ground water chemistry
and hydrology of islands in the seasonal swamps of the Okavango fan, Botswana. Journal of
Hydrology, 154: 169–193.
McCarthy, T.S., Ellery, W.N., Rogers, K.H., Cairncross, B. & Ellery, K. 1986. The roles of
sedimentation and plant growth in changing flow patterns in the Okavango Delta. South African
Journal of Science, 82: 579–584.
McCarthy, T.S., Green, R.W. & Franey, N.J. 1993. The influence of neo-tectonics on water
dispersal in the north-eastern regions of the Okavango swamps, Botswana. Journal of African
Earth Sciences, 17(1): 23–32.
Modisi, M.P., Atekwana, E.A., Kampunzu, A.B. & Ngwisanyi, T.H. 2000. Rift kinematics during
the incipient stages of continental extension: Evidence from the nascent Okavango rift basin,
northwest Botswana. Geology, 28(10):939–942.
Postel, S.L., Daily, G.C. & Ehrlich, P.R. 1996. Human appropriation of renewable fresh water.
Science, 271(5250):785–788.
Scholz, C.H., Koczynski, T.A. & Hutchins, D.G. 1976. Evidence of incipient rifting in Southern
Africa. Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 44:135–144.
Siegfried T. 2003. Management of internationally shared groundwater resources in semiarid and
arid region s: the Northern African Aquifer System. In E.Servat et al. (eds), Hydrology of
Mediterranean and Semiarid Regions, IAHS Publ. No. 278, 2003.
Thomas, D.S.G. & Shaw, P.A. 1991. The Kalahari Environment. Cambridge University Press,
Zebker, H.A. & Goldstein, R.M. 1986. Topographic Mapping from Interferometric Synthetic
Aperture Radar Observations. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth and Planets,
Theme A:
Problems in obtaining
hydrological and geo-
hydrological data
Slug tests in fractured rock formations: value,
pitfalls and misinterpretations
P.D.Vermeulen & G.J.van Tonder
Institute for Groundwater Studies, University of the Free State,
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson, Shemang & Chaoka
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN 04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: Currently slug tests in South Africa are used with two
objectives in mind: (i) to get a first estimate of the yield of a borehole
(relationship obtained by Viviers et al., (1995) and (ii) to estimate the K-
value (or T-value) of the aquifer in the vicinity of the borehole. The paper
shows that the use of currently available slug test interpretation methods
to analyse slug tests in fractured rock aquifers to estimate a T or K-value
is problematic. The estimated value is dependent on the flow thickness
(thickness of the part of the aquifer in which flow occurs due to the slug
input). If this thickness of flow is known, the estimated K-value is more
representative of that of the fracture zone. By using the total thickness of
the formation for the estimation of the K-value in slug test analysis, the
estimated K-value (and thus KD-value) does not represent the T-value of
the formation.


In performing a slug test, the static water level in a borehole is suddenly lowered or
raised. This is usually done by lowering a closed cylinder into a borehole. The cylinder
replaces its own volume of water within the borehole, thus increasing the pressure in the
borehole. As the equilibrium in the water level is changed, it will recover or stabilise to
its initial level. If the rate of recovery or recession of the water level is measured, the
transmissivity or hydraulic conductivity of the borehole can be determined (Kruseman
and De Ridder, 1994).
In South Africa slug tests are conducted for the following two reasons:
● To estimate the hydraulic conductivity (K) of the aquifer in the vicinity of the borehole
● To get a first estimate of the yield of a borehole (Vivier et al., 1995).
Water resources of arid areas 22

Vivier et al. (1995) performed slug tests on 32 boreholes, of which the maximum yield
was known and they then derived empirically the following formula (there is a 93%
correlation between the actual yield and the yield estimated with the formula):

where: Q=yield of the borehole in l/h and

t=recession time of the slug test in seconds (90% recovery).
Usually the Cooper method (Cooper et al., 1967) or the Bouwer and Rice method
(1976) is used to estimate the K-value (or T-value in the case of the Cooper method).
In the following section slug test results, as well as pumping and tracer test results for
borehole UO5 on the well-known Campus Site of the University of the Free State, South
Africa (Figure 1) will be discussed to illustrate the problems associated with the
interpretation of slug tests in a borehole drilled in a fractured aquifer.

Figure 1. Map of the RSA.

Slug tests in fractured rock formations 23

Figure 2. Diagram of the geological

formation at the Campus Test Site
(relative thickness of the aquifers in


The Campus Test Site is underlain by a series of mudstones and sandstones from the
Adelaide Subgroup of the Beaufort Group of formations in the Karoo Supergroup (Figure
2). There are three aquifers present on the Site. The first, a phreatic aquifer, occurs within
the upper mudstone layers on the Site. This aquifer is separated from the second and main
aquifer, which occurs in a sandstone layer of between 8 and 10m thick, by a layer of
carbonaceous shale with a thickness of 0.5 to 4m. The third aquifer occurs in the
mudstone layers (more than 100m thick) that underlie the sandstone unit.
Water resources of arid areas 24

Figure 3. Acoustic scan of borehole

UO5 at a depth of 20m to 25m below
the surface.
Slug tests in fractured rock formations 25

Figure 4. Borehole video image of the

fracture zone in borehole UO5
showing a fracture-zone thickness of
about 200mm.

Figure 5. Constant rate pumping test

data of UO5.
Table 1. Hydraulic parameters estimated for UO5.
Water resources of arid areas 26

Parameter Value
T of formation* (m2/d) 19
K of fracture zone (m/d) 3600
T of fracture zone (m2/d) 576
K of matrix (m/d) 0.17
T of matrix** (m2/d) 3
*Average for fracture+matrix, obtained from
Cooper-Jacob fit to late drawdown values.
**For 20m thickness.

A major characteristic of the main aquifer is the presence of a horizontal fracture that
coincides approximately with the centre plane of the sandstone layer, and which
intersects all 11 boreholes with significant yields on the Site, of which UO5 is one. The
remaining 14 boreholes all have very insignificant yields. The fracture zone thickness is
approximately 10mm, but the adjacent 200mm of sandstone is also highly permeable.
Figure 5 shows a graph of the data from a constant rate test conducted on UO5 at a
rate of 1.25L/s. Measurements were also taken in the observation borehole UO6. These
pumping test data were analysed with a numerical 3D model (Van Tonder et al., 2001),
and the following parameters were estimated in Table 1.
The thickness of fracture zone (referred to in Table 1) was obtained from tracer tests
and the borehole video, and is 0.16m. The hydraulic parameters given in Table 1 are
regarded to be accurate (Van Tonder et al., 2001). It would now be interesting to analyse
the data of a slug test (Figure 6) conducted on borehole UO5 and compare the estimated
values with the values given in Table 1.
The 90% recovery occurred after about 9 seconds, and using Equation (1) the yield of
borehole UO5 is estimated as 5.3L/s. The tested blow yield of borehole UO5 was 6L/s
during drilling.
The Bouwer and Rice method (1976) was applied to the data in Figure 6. The Bouwer
and Rice equation reads:


where: rc=radius of the unscreened part of the borehole where the head is rising
rw=horizontal distance from the borehole centre to the undisturbed aquifer
Re=Radial distance over which the difference in head h0 is dissipated in the flow
system of the aquifer
Slug tests in fractured rock formations 27

Figure 6. Data collected during a slug

test conducted on UO5.
Table 2. Estimated K-values with the Bouwer and
Rice method (1976) for different values of the flow
Thickness open to flow K T
(m) (m/d) (m2/d)
30 12 360
20 17 340
10 32 320
1 231 231
0.16 541 86
0.001 3600 3.6

d=length of the borehole screen or open section of the borehole

h0=head in the borehole at time=0
ht=head in the borehole at time t
The estimated K-value of Bouwer and Rice is dependent on the thickness open to
flow, d, and Table 2 shows the different K-value estimates for different flow thicknesses.
Note that a flow thickness of 30m will indicate the depth from the water level to the end
of the borehole and that a thickness of 0.16m is the thickness of the fracture zone in
borehole UO5.


Comparison of Table 1 and Table 2 shows the following important issues:

● An incorrect K-value is obtained from the slug test if the thickness of the aquifer (total
formation) is used as the flow thickness. For a thickness of 30m, a K-value of 12m/d
Water resources of arid areas 28

(or T=360m2/d) is estimated from the slug test, which is neither the T-value of the
fracture zone nor the T-value of the matrix.
● For a flow thickness of 0.16m (i.e. the thickness of the fracture zone), a K-value of
541m/d is estimated with the Bouwer and Rice (1976) slug test method. This
estimated K-value is more representative of the K-value of the fracture zone.
● The average T-value of the formation, which is important for management purposes,
was estimated as 19m2/d from the constant rate pump test. It is impossible to estimate
the T- or K-value of the aquifer formation via a slug test.


The use of the current available slug test interpretation methods to analyse a slug test in a
fractured rock aquifer to estimate a T- or K-value is problematic. The estimated value is
dependent on the flow thickness (thickness of the part of the aquifer in which flow occurs
due to the slug input). If this thickness of flow is known, the estimated K-value is more
representative of that of the fracture zone. By using the total thickness of the formation
for the estimation of the K-value in slug test analysis, the estimated K-value (and thus
KD-value) does not represent the T-value of the formation.


Bouwer, H. & Rice, R.C. 1976. A slug test for determining hydraulic conductivity of unconfined
aquifers with completely pr partially penetrating wells. Water Resources Research, 12:423–428.
Cooper, H.H, Bredehoeft, J.D., & D Papadopulos, I.S. 1967. Response of a finite-diameter well to
an instantaneous charge of water. Water Resources Research, 3:263–269.
Kruseman, G.P. & de Ridder, N.A. 1994. Analysis and Evaluation of Pumping Test Data. 2nd ed.
International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement. Publication 47. Wageningen, the
Netherlands: 237–247.
Vivier, J.J.P., Van Tonder, G.J. & Botha, J.F. 1995. The use of slug tests to predict borehole yields:
correlation between the recession time of slug tests and borehole yields. In Conference
Proceedings: Groundwater’95: Groundwater Recharge and Rural Water Supply, Midrand, South
Van Tonder, G.J., Botha, J.F., Chiang, W.H., Kunstmann, H. & Xu, Y. 2001. Estimation of the
sustainable yields of boreholes in fractured rock formations, Special issue of Journal of
Hydrology: No 241.
Flow simulation model performance
assessment using entropy approach
Civil Engineering, University of the Witwatersand, South Africa
Civil Engineering, University of Botswana, Gaberone, Botswana
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: Hydrological data (e.g. rainfall, river flow, etc) are used in
water resources planning and management for planning reservoir and
operation. However, it happens sometime that the appropriate site where a
hydraulic structure (e.g. reservoir) should be built has no available data
due for example to inaccessibility to erect a flow gauging station, etc. This
is particularly a problem in arid areas. Very often hydrologists make use
of simulation models to estimate the flows data series at the very site from
the nearby stations and using some physical characteristics of the
catchment area. In this paper, a merely methodology is proposed to
evaluate the performance of simulation models in terms of entropy (e.g.
reduction of the uncertainty of flows) before and after applying a model to
the site. This reduction should be above a certain threshold value for the
model to be retained as performing well. An example is illustrated
through RAFLER model, which is used to simulate yearly flows at


For planning, management and effective control of water resources systems, a

considerable amount of data on hydrologic variables such as rainfall, streamflow, etc. are
required. It sometime happens that the appropriate site where a reservoir should be built
has no available data due for example to inaccessibility to erect a flow gauging station.
This is particularly a problem in arid areas. Physical models, semi-distributed models,
statistical models, conceptual model, embracing probabilistic, fitting curve, black box, etc
are often used to simulate/estimate flows. In this paper, a merely methodology is
proposed to evaluate the performance of simulation models in terms of entropy (e.g.
reduction of the uncertainty of flows) before and after applying a model to the site in a
similar way of Panu (1992). These authors used entropy approach for infilling
hydrological data problems (e.g. reduction of uncertainty before and after infilling the
Water resources of arid areas 30

data series), while in this paper the same approach is applied to cases where no data
series is available at all at the target site. In very recent paper (see, Ilunga and
Stephenson, 2003b) the methodology for evaluating the model performance was roughly
used but it was not explained systematically as done in this paper. It should be noted that
the reduction evoked above should be above a certain threshold value for the model at
hand to be retained as performing well. An example is illustrated through RAFLER
model, which is used to simulate yearly flows at Braamhoek.


Traditionally, the information content of a hydrological variable can be measured through

variance, which shows the variability of the hydrological variable with respect to its
mean. However this approach was criticized for cases where information available about
the hydrological variable is little (Singh, 1998).
Since 70’s hydrologists tried to find another way of measuring information by
theoretic entropy (a term borrowed from communication, see Shannon & Weaver, 1949).
Thus the concept has been applied in water resources (Singh & Florentino, 1992;
Amorocho & Espildora, 1973) and water related fields.
The entropy is considered as a measure of the amount of chaos or lack of information
about a system. The entropy can be viewed as a measure of ignorance about the system
described in classical sense by a probability distribution. Indirectly, it measures the
information about the system. Mathematically entropy of a system {xi} is defined in its
discrete form by the following expression


where K: is a function of the base used or the scale factor (bits for base 2, napiers for base
e, decibels for base 10), i=1, 2,…, n and pi is the probability of occurrence of the event i.
It can be shown that the value of H(X) reaches its maximum when all variate values xi
are equally likely, that is, when the outcome has maximum uncertainty (Amorocho &
Espildora, 1973). In this case the entropy becomes
Hmax (X)=log n

The theoretic entropy definition was extended to hydrology. Hence entropy is considered
as a measure of the degree of uncertainty of random variable hydrologic processes
(Amorocho & Espildora, 1973). Since the reduction of the uncertainty by means of
making observations is equal to the amount of information gained, the entropy criterion
indirectly measures the information content of a given series of data (Harmancioglu et al.,
It arises that the distribution of the variable can be unknown a prior although some of
its properties may be known, e.g. mean, variance, normality condition. These proprieties
(information) enable to determine the distribution of the variable, which maximizes the
entropy function. In this way the distribution is consistent with the available information,
Flow simulation model performance assessment using entropy approach 31

but retains maximum uncertainty within the feasible domain and thus ensures the least
bias; that is the principle of maximum entropy (POME) introduced by Jaynes in 1968.
This principle has been applied intensively in hydrology in the last two decades.



Amorocho and Espildora (1973) suggested that the mutual information (between the
observed values and the simulated ones) could be used as a criterion in the selection of
hydrological models; e.g. rainfall-runoff prediction. Note that the mutual information
concept is derived from entropy notion and for more details; the reader is referred for
example to the above-mentioned paper. Later the directional information transfer index
(DIT) appeared as a generalization of the mutual information Yang and Burn (1994) and
was used for dependency evaluation between streamflow gauging station pairs. Recently,
it is argued that since mutual information is used for model performance assessment, its
generalization i.e. DIT can be extended to model performance evaluation (Ilunga &
Stephenson, 2003a).
The above considerations are valid when the estimated values have to be compared to
the observed ones. In that respect statistical criteria such as root mean square error, etc
can be also used to crosscheck the results (Ilunga and Stephenson, 2003a). However it
becomes difficult to use these considerations when missing values are encountered in the
data series. Thus Panu (1992) introduced the notion of reduction of uncertainty of the
hydrological variable before and after infilling the data series. The reduction of
uncertainty Re d(%) at a given site as defined by Panu (1992) can be given as follows:


where Hcc and Hcomp are entropy values before and after infilling the data series
respectively. It should be noted that this concept was applied to cases of consecutive
missing data values, e.g. hydrological data exist before and after the missing values.


Panu (1992) used expression (3) for infilling data problems, in other words some data
exist before infilling process. In this paper the same expression (3) is proposed for cases
where no available flow data exist at all at the site. It is more natural to say that a case
where no data is available, the uncertainty is higher than a case where data exist. Thus it
is assumed that the uncertainty should be maximum (e.g. if all hydrological events would
occur equally likely) at a site where no data is known. Thus, in this case expression (3)
can be re-written as (Ilunga & Stephenson, 2003b):

Water resources of arid areas 32

Where Hmax is defined by expression (2)

The following are the different steps for evaluating the performance of a flow
simulation model for cases where no data exist at all at given site.
1. Having the physical parameters of the catchment area and information (e.g. rainfall)
from the nearby sites, compute the simulated flows.
2. Compute the frequency (probability) distribution of the flows.
3. Compute the marginal entropy of the site using formula (1) and set the entropy before
simulating flows to its possible maximum value, e.g. see formula (2).
4. Compute the reduction of entropy at the site using expression (4) and set a threshold
reduction of entropy to an arbitrary value. If the computed value for the reduction is
greater or equal than the threshold value, the model is considered as performing well.
Otherwise, the model performs poorly. Terminate.


RAFLER is an acronym for Rainfall Flow Erosion. A model (RAFLER) is a

deterministic model based on the physics of runoff, soil infiltration and soil transport and
which converts rainfall data to runoff over a length of time, e.g. years. The model uses
monthly rainfall figures to reproduce monthly stream flow series and soil erosion. Some
simplification is made to enable the model to be run with a minimum of data. And the
rainfall period each month is estimated from the number of rain days to enable true flow
rates to be calculated. This model requires a number of modules including catchment,
channels and reservoirs. The general theoretical background of the model can be traced in
Stephenson (2002).


Braamhoek is situated in the Free State, in South Africa. The catchment area is about
62km2. Neither rainfall data nor stream flow data is available at this particular site. Thus
it was possible to simulate flows at Braamhoek using rainfall data from the nearby sites;
viz at Van Reenen (MAP=1002mm/month); at Moorside (MAP=839mm/month) and at
Flow simulation model performance assessment using entropy approach 33

Figure 1. Simulated yearly frequency

(probability) distribution at
Table 1. Model performance evaluation at
Marginal Reduction of
entropy uncertainty (%)
(Napiers) at at Braamhoek
Before 4.47 −
Applying 1.65 63.06

(MAP=887mm/month). The monthly rainfall data (1916–2002) were obtained from the
Weather Bureau, South Africa.

6.1 Application of the methodology to Braamhoek

The application of the model, i.e. RAFLER to simulate the total annual flows (from
1916–2002, e.g. 87 data points) at Braamhoek site gave the following results. Figure 1
from which the entropy calculations were possible shows the probability (frequency)
distribution estimated from the model. The threshold value of the reduction of uncertainty
was set to a value of 50% napiers.
Table 1 shows the results of entropy calculations before and after applying RAFLER
models. It is therefore concluded that the reduction in uncertainty of the yearly flows at
Water resources of arid areas 34

Braamhoek was 66.06% by this model. This value is the equivalent of information
inferred about the site using RAFLER model. This model could be thought to perform
well. Thus RAFLER model could be used for flow prediction at Braamhoek with regard
to the total yearly flows. Nonetheless the model needs to be tested on other flow regimes
for that specific site.


The focus of this paper was to give a methodology for evaluating the performance of
simulation models using entropy approach. The methodology has been tested with
RAFLER model on Braamhoek site where records were simulated. Recall that this
methodology was roughly used in Ilunga and Stephenson (2003a), but without presenting
systematically the steps involved as been done in this paper. The computations from the
entropy criterion showed that RAFLER model could be used for simulating the total
yearly flows at Braamhoek when a threshold value of 50% is considered for the reduction
of uncertainty before and after simulation. Investigation should also be done on other
flow regimes.


Amorocho, J. & Espildora, B. 1973. Entropy in the assessment of uncertainty in hydrologic systems
and models. Water Resources Research, 9(6):1511–1522.
Harmancioglu, N.B., Alpaslan & Singh, V.P. 1994. Assessment of the entropy principle as applied
to, water quality monitoring network design. Stochastic and Statistical Methods in Hydrology
and Environmental Engineering., 3:135–148.
Ilunga, M. & Stephenson, D. 2003a. Performance of hydrological data infilling techniques using
entropy approach: Expectation maximization algorithms. 11th South African National
Hydrology Symposium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa: 6.
Ilunga, M. & Stephenson, D. 2003b. Entropic measures for comparing flow simulation models at
Bedford site. Paper submitted to the J. Hydrology, Elsevier.
Panu, U.S. 1992. Application of some entropic measures in hydrologic data infilling procedures. In:
Singh, V.P. & Fiorentino, M. (Eds) Entropy and energy dissipation in water resources, Kluwer
Academic Publishers, The Netherlands: 175–192.
Shannon, C.E. & Weaver, W. 1949. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. University of
Illinois Press Urbana, Chicago, London.
Singh, V.P. 1998. Entropy as a decision tool in environmental and water resources. J. Hydrology ,
Indian Association of Hydrologists, 21(1–4):1–12.
Singh, V.P. & Florentino, M. 1992. A historical perspective of entropy applications in water
resources. In: Singh, V.P. & Fiorentino, M. (Eds) Entropy and energy dissipation in water
resources, Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands: 21–61.
Singh, V.P. & Krstanovic, P.F. 1987. A stochastic model for sediment yield using the principle of
maximum entropy. Water Resources Research, 23(5):781–793.
Stephenson, D. 2002. “Modular kinematic model for runoff simulation”. In: V.P.Singh, &
D.K.Frevert (Eds). Mathematical models of small watershed hydrology and applications. Water
Resources Publications, LLC, pp. 183–218, Chapter 7.
Yang, Y. & Burn, H. 1994. “Entropy approach to data collection network design”. J. Hydrology,
Flow simulation model performance assessment using entropy approach 35

Yevjevich, V. (1972). Probability in hydrology. Water Resources Publications, Colorado, U.S.A.:

Data collection experiences in water level
monitoring, borehole archive and research
projects in semi arid Botswana
Magowe Magowe, Thothi Obakeng & Paul Makobo
Department of Geological Survey, Hydrogeology Division, Lobatse,
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: The Department of Geological Survey (DGS) of Botswana

has been carrying out water level monitoring of non-operational wellfields
since 1983 and various research projects throughout the country. This
involved intense collection of data on water levels and rainfall manually
and later on automatic data collection instruments were introduced. This
data was stored as hardcopies without quality assurance. Problems
experienced with this data collection encompass logistical, equipment and
human input. The logistical problems include poor accessibility due to the
country’s hostile environment such as dust and extensive ponding during
heavy showers. This hostile environment leads to reduction of the lifespan
and the poor performance of these instruments. Poor handling of data,
equipment failure, lack of the right set of equipment and local operational
knowledge also poses problems. Therefore, as a consequence, valuable
data is normally lost. In 2003, a quality assurance process was resumed
for the 1999–2003 water level monitoring and rainfall records. Common
problems that were encountered are data gaps which could be explained
by the above causes. During the quality assurance of 1999–2002 data for
the ten (10) monitoring network areas, data gaps or unavailable data
constituted 80% of all recorded problems (DGS, 2003). This paper
discusses the experience of the DGS in collecting hydrogeological data in
Botswana semi arid environment.


The DGS Hydrogeology division has been collecting data in the areas of monitoring,
borehole archive and research projects. Data collection in monitoring started in 1983 and
since then boreholes from various groundwater projects have been added to the
Data collection experiences in water level monitoring, borehole archive and research projects 37

monitoring network. The data serves various purposes such as establishment of

benchmarks and parameters of various systems. Monitoring is comprised of water level
and rainfall measurement for establishing the natural piezometric surface. Knowledge of
the natural piezometric surface is also needed as an input in water resources modelling
and groundwater recharge estimation efforts. National Borehole Archive acts as storage
for all borehole data whereas Research projects collects data on various hydrogeological
parameters. This data collection is wrought with problems that are of logistical,
equipment and human nature.


Water level measurement by manual dipping and change of rainfall charts are done on
monthly basis in selected boreholes. The problems recorded in the data collection sheets
of ten monitoring networks are depicted in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Distribution of problems as

recorded in water level records for
1999–2002 period.


However, this schedule is not followed due to several problems such as poor accessibility
due to the country’s hostile environment and its vastness. Since the present monitoring
network is determined by the groundwater potential projects carried out, most of the
monitored areas are in remote areas far from the main office and are laden with heavy
Water resources of arid areas 38

sands and muddy soils from heavy thunderstorms. This means that a four wheel drive
vehicle is a necessity. However, in some cases these vehicles are not available and this
results in data gaps for some months. The other problem is late availability of transport
which results in the late changing of water level/rainfall charts and water sampling. This
renders the data useless as it results in the superposition of more than one line on the
charts making it difficult to read. In some cases, other stakeholder dealing with water
connect these monitoring boreholes to water supply out of emergency to supply people
with water and this creates data gaps in the records as the borehole will not be accessible
and cannot be used. In other cases, other water authorities drill production boreholes
adjacent to these monitoring boreholes and the pumping creates interference and as such
the borehole will be taken out of the network. Some of the boreholes are in private
property and in some cases there is no access as the gates are locked. In other situations
the dipper is reported to be stuck for the whole year such as in borehole 6736 in
Lethakeng/Bothapatlou monitoring network.


4.1 Recording
One of the major problems is the recording system. There are several problems associated
with data recording and these include the following:
– Unclear or no comments, this include things such as reporting same borehole dry and
blocked/ collapsed for different months or reporting “no hole for dipper”
– Water level taken from a borehole with unknown number
– Incorrect entry of measured values
– Measured values being different from the chart recorded value.
This unclear recording resulted in data being discarded hence creating data gaps.

4.2 Quality check

All the collected data between 1999 and 2002 was just filed without being checked and
the lack of quality check was evident by a lot of problems encountered during the quality
assurance of this 1999–2002 data. This lack of timely quality checking resulted in some
data points being thrown out as it was difficult to know the exact reasons for these
discrepancies/anomalies. This included problems such as recording problems.

4.3 Data storage

Until 2003, all the collected hard copy data was not being digitised and it was not filed
properly. The records/charts were either misfiled in different binder or thrown in drawers.
This resulted in some of the records missing and these added to the issue of unavailable
Data collection experiences in water level monitoring, borehole archive and research projects 39

4.4 Equipment
Lack of proper preparation for the field also creates data collection problems. In some
cases, it is reported that dipper or its light was not working and this results in partial or no
data collection. Due to lack of timely quality check it becomes difficult in ascertaining
the source of the mal/non-functioning of the equipment, whether it is the sensor or the
batteries. The other problem was from the mechanical water level recorders being used,
these were perceived as a better replacement of manual dipping, and however, they came
with their own shortcomings. In most cases, the monitoring equipment used was designed
and manufactured in Europe where the environment is completely different from the semi
arid conditions of Botswana. This has lead to tremendous reduction of the lifespan and
the poor performance of these instruments. Some of the problems experienced include
– Stuck pens rendering the data
– No marking on the chart resulting in blank chart.


5.1 Knowledge
In most cases, the personnel operating some of the equipment such as water level
recorders, dippers, sampling pumps and rain gauges lack the technical know-how
necessary to implement first line maintenance. This result in late or no acquisition of data
and hence data gaps develop while the equipment is sent for maintenance or replacement.
The lack of knowledge sometimes results in the equipment not being calibrated or set up
properly and this indicated off scale water level and rainfall curves.

5.2 Availability
The personnel used for data collection are at technician and artisan level. In most cases
these personnel are shared among the various on going research projects and the normal
monthly monitoring. This results in one of these activities suffering due to non-
availability of the personnel for a certain period and as such data gap will be inevitable.


NBA records borehole data on daily basis. This includes registering privately drilled
boreholes; entering borehole data in the database including plotting boreholes on
hardcopy maps and storing rock chip samples.

6.1 NBA Logistical issues

There are several logistical problems associated with NBA. One of these problems is the
running out space for rock chip samples storage. The lone core shed is full and this has
resulted in the new and reliable samples being piled without proper storage. The other
Water resources of arid areas 40

problem is the use of outdated topographical maps for plotting boreholes which results in
difficulty in borehole location verification. The lack of physical verification of registered
boreholes is also one of the problems. This is due to the fact that boreholes are drilled
almost daily all over the country and due to its vastness; it is difficult to cover all the
drilled boreholes.

6.2 NBA Quality check

Since the NBA is the storage for all drilled boreholes in the country, the issue of data
quality check is very important. However, until recently it has been neglected especially
on the privately owned boreholes. As an authority responsible for registration of private
boreholes, one of the main tasks is to verify the location of the boreholes as provided by
the owner/driller so that the borehole could be plotted correctly in the map. However, this
has not been done adequately and as such a lot of boreholes have uncertain location.

6.3 National Borehole Archive Human Resources issues

6.3.1 Availability
The personnel used for data collection are at technician and artisan level. In some cases
these personnel is shared between NBA and the normal monthly monitoring. This results
in one of these activities being suspended for a certain period and creating backlog.


The Hydrogeology division has been running various projects ranging from groundwater
potential survey to hardcore research projects such as Groundwater Recharge Evaluation
Studies (GRES) and the Kalahari Research Project. These projects are multi-disciplinary
and use different equipment and collect different data sets. In most cases these projects
are carried out jointly with external partners and therefore timely bound. These projects,
especially those run in-house experience a lot of problems.

7.1 Research Projects logistical issues

In most cases these projects are carried out in remote areas and several problems are
experienced in the field. This includes transport problems such as vehicle breakdown
which takes a long time to fix due to the long process to be followed. In some cases there
is a need to seek permission from other stakeholders and these requests can result in
extension of the program while waiting for approval. This includes funds approval and
changing the scope of the study. For example, the approval of funds and changing of
project scope may take three (3) to four (4) months of valuable field activity time. This
negatively affects projects that require time based data.
Data collection experiences in water level monitoring, borehole archive and research projects 41


8.1 Knowledge
In most cases these projects use specialised equipment that requires special operating
level. However, most of the personnel have never been exposed to this equipment and
this can result in loss of data or collection of unreliable data. For, example various
software used to operate Skye data loggers are still unknown to a good number of
hydrogeological technical personnel within Hydrogeology Division.

8.2 Availability
The personnel used for data collection are at technician and artisan level. In most cases
these personnel is shared among the various on going research projects and the normal
monthly monitoring. This lack of technical level staff impacts negatively on the running
of these projects. This results in the project using unqualified staff to fill the gap;
however, that has serious implications on the quality of the collected data. In other
situations, there is a need to have specialised personnel such as a welder to develop a
specialised piece of equipment on site. This can result in delays especially if that person
is unavailable or is occupied with other departmental work.

8.3 Equipment
Some of this necessary specialised research equipment needs special care and due to
harsh conditions prevailing in these remote areas, a lot of time is lost when the equipment
breaks down since it must be sent overseas to be fixed. This also results in loss of data
especially temporally dependent data.


On the basis of this experience, we conclude that the following aspects are vital for a
successful and reliable hydrogeological data collection effort in the semi-arid Botswana
– Routine analysis of the archived data should be a must rather than an option, in order to
eliminate useless data before it accumulates in large amounts within records.
– Routine training programmes for technicians on field equipment should be designed to
enable technicians to keep abreast with the changing technology that is specific for
hydrogeological applications.
– Increasing manpower capacity by recruiting personnel with basic hydrogeological
monitoring and database knowledge in order to facilitate data collection and reduce
data losses arising from lack of knowledge. This will increase the reliability of the
collected data.
– The general public and other stakeholders need to be informed about the importance
and relevance of hydrogeological research, borehole archiving and monitoring
Water resources of arid areas 42

activities, so that they can allow such activities in their private properties such as
– Manufacturers must be encouraged to design field equipment suited to the hostile semi
arid and saline conditions of Botswana, so that the durability of the field equipment
can be guaranteed.
– Periodical inspection of water level monitoring boreholes should be a must in order to
curtail issues of “dry” or “blocked” boreholes, hence maintain a continuous and an
accurate water level record.
– A comprehensive process map of water level monitoring program which include
recording of the environmental status or changes in the vicinity of the monitoring
borehole such as new pumping borehole.
– Conduct a routine water sampling of observation boreholes.
Currently the Hydrogeology Division is engaged in improvement of data collection and
archiving through implementation of the following programs.
– Acquisition of digital water level and rainfall recorders and accessories to replace
mechanical ones and manual dipping. This will reduce human errors and improve data
– Development of proper databases and checking data immediately from the field to
ensure that issue of unclear comments and data anomalies are reduced hence
maintaining good quality data.
– Development of process maps to improve the quality of the data being collected and
being entered into the databases. This will ensure that all factors are considered before
a inexplicable conclusions such as “dry” boreholes are reached.
– Field programs are being carried out to review borehole location maps. This is to ensure
that borehole locations are correct and indeed the plotted boreholes do exist.
Regular data collection even if it is not part of a specific study, helps to build a picture of
the general behavior of the system. The data collected provides valuable comparisons and
context when the system is studied in more detail. However, all this will not be possible if
the data collected is wreaked with a lot of problems.


Department of Geological Survey. 2003a. Groundwater Monitoring of Non-Operational Wellfields

and Other areas of Development Interest, compiled by T.Kellner, vol. 1b–1d.
Department of Geological Survey (2003), Groundwater Monitoring of Non-Operational Wellfields
and Other areas of Development Interest, compiled by T.Kellner, vol. 2b, 2d–2f, 2h–2k.
Rainfall characteristics in semi-arid Kitui
district of Kenya
A.O.Opere, V.O.Awuor, S.O.Kooke & W.O.Omoto
Department of Meteorology, Nairobi, Kenya
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: Variable semi-arid climate characterized by precipitation

patterns unfavorably distributed in space and time and high evaporation
rates reaching up to 100% of the incoming monthly precipitation is a
challenge facing water resources management in arid and semi-arid lands
(ASALs). Kitui district in Kenya is an example of an ASAL environment
where water resources management issues are particularly important and
sensitive. Sources of water are nearer to the people in the wet season, but
as the seasonal rivers dry up, distance to water points get as far away as
25–30km. There is, however, great potential for rainwater harvesting. This
is dependent on proper understanding of the patterns of precipitation both
in space and time. This would be useful in understanding drought
characteristics in order to develop strategies to capture, store and
redistribute the available water. The spatial characteristics were
determined through principal component analysis (PCA). Season lengths,
drought severity and frequency were determined. The results indicated
that, on average, the onset for the long rains (March–May) was centred on
day 82.36 while cessation was on day 126.3. The longest season was 107
days during the long rains while the shortest lasted 7 days during the short
rains (October–November). Severe droughts in the district were
experienced in 1980, 1985, 1990 and 1995. The largest seasonal total for
the long rains was 768mm with a return period of 25.9 years while the
smallest total was 81.1mm with a return period of 1.0 years. For the short
rains, the largest total was 1022.0mm with a return period of 15.7 years
and the smallest total was 205.4mm with a return period of 1.0 years.


Efficient and sustainable use of available water resources is paramount for a peaceful,
sustainable and equitable development of any region.
Some of the challenges to integrated and sustainable water resource management
Water resources of arid areas 44

Changing land use, land degradation by erosion, deteriorating water quality and
competing water demands by stakeholders.
There exists, therefore, a strong demand for an integrated water allocation and
decision support system. The backbone of such a system must be scientifically sound to
be accepted and trusted by stakeholders. Efforts to improve catchment management and
to impose a sustainable water resources management are of economic and political
importance for any country.
Variable semi-arid climate characterized by precipitation patterns unfavorably
distributed in space and time and high evaporation rates reaching up to 100% of the
incoming monthly precipitation is a challenge facing water resources management in arid
and semi-arid lands (ASALs).
Kitui district in Kenya is an example of an ASAL environment where water resources
management issues are particularly important and sensitive. Sources of water are nearer
to the people in the wet season, but as the seasonal rivers dry up, distance to water points
get as far away as 25–30km.
The main problems in water development and management in this district include:
● unreliable rainfall and inadequate supply to meet the demand,
● the available water resources are unevenly distributed and inaccessible to all,
● traditional farming methods lack water conservation principles,
● most of the water projects have since been abandoned, and
● High rates of potential evaporation on the available water resources.
There is great potential for rainwater harvesting. This is dependent on proper
understanding of the patterns of precipitation both in space and time. This would be
useful in understanding drought characteristics in order to develop strategies to capture,
store and redistribute the available water.
Droughts have been the phenomena of great concern throughout the continent of
Africa, because of the devastating effects they have inflicted on the economies of some of
the countries in the continent. Kitui District located in Eastern Kenya is no exception and
is an example of one of the most vulnerable areas to the effects of drought.
Droughts are usually classified as meteorological, hydrologic or agricultural
depending on the variable under investigation. Definition of droughts has also been given
on the basis of theory of runs and stationary structure of time series, Yevjevich (1967).
The most important variable in meteorological drought is rainfall, in hydrological
drought is availability of water in rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and ground water resources;
and in agricultural drought is the soil moisture content to sustain the crop growth.
Drought analysis involves investigation of duration, magnitude or severity, frequency
and regional spread of the event. There have been limited investigations on
meteorological droughts in Kenya. However, substantial work exists on the drought
characteristics for the various agro-climatic regions of South Africa; Dyer and Tyson
(1977), Zucchini and Adamson (1984), Dent et al. (1987).
The study investigates the duration, magnitude or severity as well as frequency aspects
of drought within Kitui District.
Rainfall characteristics in semi-arid Kitui district of Kenya 45


2.1 Data: types, sources and problems

2.1.1 Historical data

Historical data from thirteen rainfall stations within and around the project area were
analyzed. The first part of this analysis was to determine the onset and cessation dates of
rainfall in each year for the short and long rains. The duration for each season was then
derived. Filling in missing records

Many rain gage records are incomplete. It is necessary to estimate the missing data in
order to utilize partial records, especially in data sparse areas.
The methods used include:
● Arithmetic average method
● Normal ratio method
● Correlation method
● Inverse distance method
The problem of filling data at un-gauged location involves transmitting data at the nearby
index gages to the un-gauged location.
The missing data can be formulated as


ai is the weighting factor of the ith gage with record Pi and N is the number of index
gages while Px is the rainfall to be estimated at x.
The different methods differ in their methods of estimating ai’s where i=1,

2.1.2 Data quality control

One of the sources of error in rainfall measurement is the location of the gage in relation
to obstructing objects such as trees and buildings.
In the progress of time, trees grow and buildings come up. This means raingages must
be moved. This may affect the consistency of the records from the raingage i.e. the
records before and after the movement might be different.
In addition, change in observational procedure might also affect the consistency.
Water resources of arid areas 46

Inconsistency in a rainfall record may be detected by graphical or statistical methods

such as double mass analysis, the Vonn Neumman ratio test, cumulative deviations,
likelihood ratio test and runs test.

2.2 Methods

2.2.1 Principal component analysis (PCA)

The method of PCA involve the transformation of a greater number of unorthogonal
(manifest) variables into smaller number of orthogonal variables, which present common
causes of manifest variable changes. It can therefore reduce the dimensionality of a
problem by replacing the measured variables and the inter-correlated variables by using a
smaller number of uncorrelated variables. This can be useful in reducing the amount of
basic data to be processed. Depending on the data, it is possible to interpret the
orthogonal functions in terms of some underlying physical processes. Castell (1966)
proposed a method of retaining significant factors in PCA solutions.
Similar methods have been used by Ogallo (1988a,1989) and Basalirwa et al. (1995)
for East Africa and Tanzania respectively.
This method was used to group rainfall records from the study catchment into
homogeneous zones.
Mathematically, a variable Z may be transformed in terms of m common empirical
orthogonal function (factors) and n unique factors as below:


Zi is variable i in the standardized form
Fi represents the common orthogonal vector (factor)
ui is the unique factor for variable i
ai1=standardized multiple regression coefficient of the variable i on the common factor
1 (factor loading). The unique term diui=0 since principal component analysis does not
consider the unique component of the variance.
Details of this method are available in many referencesincluding Drosdowsky (1993),
Ogallo (1989) and Basalirwa (1991) among others. Identification of representative rainfall station

Principal component analysis (PCA) solutions were used to identify the most
representative station in the area of study. This formed the basis for further analyses
including onset/cessation of rainfall, dry spell lengths and frequency. Two stations from
the thirteen stations were chosen for detailed analyses. These were Kitui Secondary
School (identified as station with highest communality from PCA results); thus is a
representative station based on communality concept. Kitui Water Office was also used
for comparison of results.
Rainfall characteristics in semi-arid Kitui district of Kenya 47

2.2.2 Drought indices

Drought duration is a crucial component particularly if one has to plan for storage that
can last certain duration of drought for given water demand. The duration portrays the
season lengths hence the potential success or failure of a water supply scheme that can be
put up.
At each of the stations, the onset and cessation dates were determined for each year
and for each season i.e. long and short rains. The actual, earliest and latest onset and
cessation dates was the basis of deriving average, shortest and longest duration at each of
the stations. Mhita (1990) has made similar attempt in Tanzania.
Two methods used were the water balance technique and pentad method. Both
methods are based on preset hydrological conditions, to determine the onset and cessation
of rainfall. Details of these methods are briefly discussed in the following sections.

2.2.3 Pentad method

Definition of the start of the rains that is used is based on preset hydrological conditions.
The first occasion after March 1st and October 1st that the running 5 day total exceeded
25mm and there being no dry spell exceeding 7 days in the next 21 days (Successful start,
threshold of 1mm). In a nutshell, the pentad method involves computing a 5-day total
rainfall for each year. The cumulative values of the 5-day total are divided by the annual
total for each year and expressed as a percentage, that is, ΣPi*100/Annual total. These are
plotted against pentad numbers. The onset and cessation dates are then determined from
the plots.

2.2.4 Water balance technique

The first occasion after March 1st and October 1st for the long and short rains
respectively when the water balance goes to zero (capacity 100mm, daily evaporation
6mm). A water balance approach was used with a threshold of 1mm of rainfall.
Evaporation rate for the area is taken to be 6mm per day on average. The soil moisture
capacity was taken to be 100mm (i.e. average soil moisture during dry days). No runoff is
generated since the rainfall amounts cannot even satisfy the evaporation demand.

2.2.5 Determination of season duration

The maximum duration for each season was obtained using the earliest onset and latest
cessation for the period of study in each of the two stations. The longest and shortest
duration for each season was also determined for the two stations.


The results of the PCA, onset/cessation of rainfall, dry spell lengths and frequency are
presented in the following sections.
Water resources of arid areas 48

3.1 Results of the principal component analysis

From the results, three Eigen vectors were retained based on the Scree method (see

Figure 1. Scree test of Castell.

Kitui Sec. School had the highest communality and was thus picked as the most
representative station for further analysis.
Results from PCA can be seen in Table 1 and Figure 2. The spatial map was obtained
by mapping the factor loadings at the station locations.
Three homogeneous regions were delineated from these results indicating complex
rainfall variability within the study area.
Table 1. Rotated loading matrix.
Variable (rainfall 1 2 3
9137012 0.212 0.288 0.325
9137010 0.0373 0.119 0.656
9137003 0.164 0.154 0.643
9138000 0.458 0.122 0.549
9137020 0.191 0.786 0.171
9137028 0.385 0.293 0.396
9137045 0.757 0.179 0.331
9137058 0.274 0.531 0.251
9137073 −0.027 0.141 0.770
Rainfall characteristics in semi-arid Kitui district of Kenya 49

9137076 0.796 0.196 0.056

9137094 0.063 0.792 0.082
9138003 0.848 0.129 0.106
9138013 0.546 0.147 0.256
Variance explained 2.908 1.876 2.290
% of total Variance 22.37 14.429 17.612

Figure 2. Homogeneous rainfall zones

of Kitui.
Table 2. Examples of onset/cessation dates.
Average Earliest/shortest Latest/longest Std.
(Day (Day no.) (Day no.) dev.
no.) (Day
LR onset 96.9 76 123 11.84
LR 131.4 115 141 8.19
LR 35.45 7 56 11.37
SR onset 307 280 335 12.89
SR 342.2 333 366 8.483
Water resources of arid areas 50

SR 36.18 11 69 17.31
LR onset 82.35 0 122 25.21
LR 143.1 124 163 10.04
LR 62 18 149 30.68
SR onset 306.9 287 319 9.462
SR 349.4 328 366 12.45
SR 46.17 14 76 19.04
LR onset 93.7 64 129 16.35
LR 138.4 122 152 6.905
LR 46.05 11 83 20.02
SR onset 307.8 289 324 10.26
SR 342.3 336 361 8.42
SR 37 16 71 15.02
LR onset 97.92 78 144 14.44
LR 124.5 99 172 16.38
LR 27.63 8 47 12.15
SR onset 316 296 341 12.51
SR 353.8 336 366 11
SR 41.13 6 60 15.66
Rainfall characteristics in semi-arid Kitui district of Kenya 51

Figure 3. Water balance for Kitui

Water Office.

Figure 4. Pentad for Kitui Water

Office 1989.
Water resources of arid areas 52

Figure 5. Water balance for Kitui Sec.


3.2 Onset and cessation dates of rainfall

Some results for onset/cessation dates and season duration are given Table 2.
A few examples of the results from pentad method for the two stations are given in
Figure 4 and Figure 6. The annual water balance plots from the water balance technique
is also given in Figure 3 and Figure 5.

Figure 6. Pentad for Kitui Water

Office 1988.
Rainfall characteristics in semi-arid Kitui district of Kenya 53

Table 3. Dry spell lengths for Kitui Sec. School and

Kitui Water Office.
Kitui Sec. School Kitui Water Office
Year L S Year L S
1975 22 18 1981 11 12
1976 31 23 1982 10 17
1977 27 39 1983 23 25
1978 24 155 1984 8 67
1979 35 18 1985 13 30
1980 27 79 1986 56 13
1981 84 23 1987 31 72
1982 18 14 1988 43 28
1983 36 169 1989 18 47
1984 66 9 1990 22 17
1985 32 17 1991 70 72
1986 81 149 1992 46 64
1987 69 83 1993 20 28
1988 70 41 1994 5 26
1989 33 18 1995 7 31
1990 8 12 1996 114 23
1991 55 15 1997 7 107
1992 61 27
1993 37 140
1994 12 11
1995 14 13
1996 23 114
1997 7 107
1998 16 26

The two methods were found to be comparable. For example, Kitui Water Office:
Average onset of long rains is on day 82.36 and cessation on day 126.3 using the two
On the other hand onset is on day 84.37 and cessation on day 137.5 using the pentad
method. These results are also presented in Table 2.
Water resources of arid areas 54

Figure 7. Dry spell lengths during long

rains—Kitui Sec. School.

Figure 8. Dry spell lengths during

short rains—Kitui Water Office.

3.3 Season lengths/duration

Some of the results of the season lengths for Kitui Water Office and Kitui Sec. School are
given in Table 4 and presented in Figure 7 to Figure 10. From the results in Table 4, for
instance, Kitui Sec. School shows the longest long rains duration in 1997 (107 days). The
same year also shows the shortest short rains duration (7 days). The result is confirmed in
Kitui Water Office for the year 1997.
Rainfall characteristics in semi-arid Kitui district of Kenya 55

3.4 Drought severity

This was based on the anomalies of the seasonal totals for each year for the two stations.
A normal expectation was taken to be ±0.5 s.d. For Kitui Water Office, 1985, 1990 and
1995 were severe in terms of the long rains totals. The same years are also severe for the
short rains. In Kitui Sec. School, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995 were severe during the long
rains as well as during the short rains. The seasonal totals for the very dry years can be
used as a basis for planning for a water storage facility. Examples of the anomalies are
given in Figure 11 and Figure 12.

Figure 9. Dry spell lengths during long

rains—Kitui Water Office.
Water resources of arid areas 56

Figure 10. Dry spell lengths during

short rains—Kitui Sec. School.

3.5 Drought frequency

Gamma distribution was used to fit the seasonal totals for the period of study. The results
are shown in Figures 11–12 and Table 4, while Figure 13 indicates the gamma
In Kitui Water Office (KWO), the largest seasonal total for the long rains is 768.3mm
and has a return period of 25.9 years. The smallest seasonal total is 81.1mm with a return
period of 1.0 years. For the short rains, the largest total is 848.6mm with a return period
of 20.1 years and smallest total is 98.76mm with a return period of 1.0 years.
In Kitui Sec. School (KSS), the largest seasonal total for the short rains is 1022.0mm
with a return period of 15.7 years while the smallest seasonal total n is 205.4mm with a
return period of
Table 4.
Values expected frequency
Gamma dist. Gamma dist. Gamma dist.
Mean 344.1 & Mean 441.2 & Mean 578.1
k of 2.929 k of 4.133 & k of 4.799
<=98.760.23 <=205.40.73
<=81.1 0.71 98.76 to 205.4 to
167.10.98 244.50.57
81.1 to 167.1 to 244.5 to
106.60.64 175.80.19 261.20.30
106.6 to 175.8 to 261.2 to
122.30.49 198.60.57 319.31.30
Rainfall characteristics in semi-arid Kitui district of Kenya 57

122.3 to 198.6 to 319.3 to

178.52.15 244.11.40 333.30.37
178.5 to 244.1 to 333.3 to
183.80.23 257.40.46 338.30.14
183.8 to 257.4 to 338.3 to 402
192.60.38 306.31.82 1.85
192.6 to 306.3 to 402 to
197.10.20 424.90.72 537.14.21
197.1 to 20 324.9 to 537.1 to
1.70.20 325.40.02 571.41.01
201.7 to 325.4 to 571.4 to
286.63.72 342.30.66 583.50.34
286.6 to 333 342.3 to 583.5 to
1.86 405.32.40 592.30.24
333 to 344.50.43 405.3 to 592.3 to 626
417.70.45 0.90
344.5 to 417.7 to 626 to 69 1.9
391.81.61 427.20.34 1.56
391.8 to 427.2 to 477.2 691.9 to
425.91.00 1.66 727.30.73
425.9 to 477.2 to 727.3 to 791
459.70.87 507.60.91 1.13
459.7 to 507.6 to 51 791 to
465.10.13 10.10 848.50.82
465.1 to 511 to 848.5 to
546.81.59 540.70.80 909.50.70
546.8 to 540.7 to 909.5 to
594.80.68 570.40.72 979.30.61
594.8 to 570.4 to 979.3 to
658.20.67 632.61.25 10220.29
658.2 to 632.6 to <10221.21
768.30.72 672.10.64
>768.30.73 672.1 to Maximum
690.70.26 T=15.7
Maximum 690.7 to Minimum
T=25.9 723.80.41 T=1.0
Minimum T=1.0 723.8 to
724.2 to
T=20.1 Min
Water resources of arid areas 58

Figure 11. OND seasonal anomalies—

Kitui Water Office.
1.0 years. For the long rains, the totals are 757.1mm with a return period of 29.8 years
and smallest total is 73.22mm with a return period of 1.0 years.


Three rainfall regions were delineated. The longest spell is in 1997 (107 days) during the
long rains. The same year also showed the shortest spell (7 days) during the short rains
Average onset for long rains is on day 82, cessation was on day 126.
The years 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995 were severe during long rains as well as during
short rains.
Average onset for long rains is on day 82, cessation was on day 126 using the two
The largest seasonal totals had return periods ranging between 15–25 years while the
smallest seasonal totals had return period on average of 1 year, and indication of frequent
This information is crucial if water management and planning is to meet a particular
demand in a specified duration of water stress.


Basalirwa, C.P.K. 1991. Raingauge network designs for Uganda, Ph.D Thesis, Univ. of Nairobi,
Basalirwa, C.P.K. et al. 1995. The climatological zones of Tanzania based on rainfall
characteristics. Water Resources Engineering Research Report, University of Dar-es-Salaam.
Castell, R.B. 1966. The Scree test for the number of factors. Multivar. Behav. Res., 1:245–276.
Rainfall characteristics in semi-arid Kitui district of Kenya 59

Dyer, T.G.J. and Tyson, P.D. 1977. Estimating above and below normal rainfall periods over South
Africa. Journal of Applied Meteorology 16(2):145–147.
Dent, M.C., Schulze, R.C., Wills, H.M. & Lynch, S.D. 1987. Spatial and temporal analysis of the
recent drought in the summer rainfall region of Southern Africa, Water SA, 13(1):37–42.
Drosdowsky,W.1993. An analysis of Australian seasonal rainfall anomalies 1950–1987I: J climat.
Mhita, M.S 1990. The onset and cessation of rains andr importance for cropping strategies in
Ogallo, L.A. 1988a. The spatial and temporal clusters of the East African Seasonal Rainfall
anomalies derived from Principal component analysis. J.Climatol. 6:1–23.
Ogallo, L.A. 1989. The spatial and temporal patterns of East African Seasonal Rainfall derived
from Principal component analysis. J.Climatol. 9:145–167.
Yevjevich, V. 1967. An Objective Approach to Definitions and Investigations of Continental
Hydrologic Droughts. Hydrol. Paper 23, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Zucchini, W. and Adamson, P.T. 1984. The occurrence and severity of droughts in South Africa.
WRC Report No.91/1/84, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Stellenbosch, South
Quantification of the impact of irrigation on
the aquifer under the Vaalharts Irrigation
R.G.Ellington, B.H.Usher & G.J.van Tonder
Institute for Groundwater Studies, University of the Free State,
Bloemfontein, South Africa
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: The Vaalharts is the largest irrigation scheme in the

country, with water imported from the Vaal River to supplement to
rainfall in the area. Approximately 30000 hectares of land is currently
being irrigated. The salinity of the irrigated water has steadily increased
over time. Several previous research projects have been undertaken to
determine the fate of the added salts. The conclusion in these reports is
that a very large proportion of the salts added to the subsurface due to
irrigation are not returned to the surface water. The underlying aquifer
was postulated as sink for these salts, with limited storage capacity. Once
this capacity has been exceeded, a flow reversal was postulated to occur.
This process is likely to add a tremendous salt load (estimated to be
approximately 100000t/year) to the Harts river system. The adverse
effects of such an addition would be catastrophic to the irrigation scheme,
and all downstream irrigation schemes and water users.
Investigations into the hydrogeology and hydrochemistry were
conducted to quantify the impact of irrigation on the groundwater
resources. This included drilling, aquifer testing, groundwater monitoring
and empirical and numerical modeling. Findings included a water and salt
balance for the area and the understanding of the underlying lithology as
fractured rock aquifer.


The Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme was initiated approximately 55 years ago. It is the
largest irrigation scheme in South Africa at approximately 32000ha. Vaal River water is
transferred via an extensive canal system from Warrenton into two subsequent canals,
namely the North Canal and West Canal.
This research entailed a detailed groundwater investigation including drilling of
additional boreholes, aquifer parameter determination from slug, pump and tracer testing,
Quantification of the impact of irrigation on the aquifer 61

groundwater monitoring of water levels and water quality for more than a year, and the
construction of water and salt balances using empirical and numerical modelling

1.1 Overview of the study area

The geology within the Vaalharts valley is largely sedimentary of Karoo age, although
the pre-Cambrian basement geology appears igneous. The Vaalharts valley is largely
overlain by aeolian Kalahari sands. Also of Quaternary age are calcretes and alluvial
gravels. Below these Quaternary sediments lie shales, tillites and mudstones. The pre-
Cambrian igneous lithologies form the lower boundary of the system.
Natural drainage has been found to be poor. This is attributable to the flat
topographical gradient, and typical soil profiles found in the area. The upper, generally
impermeable calcretes are found at depths varying between 0m and 5m (Gombar &
Erasmus, 1976). According to Streutker (1977) the water table was found to be lying at
approximately 24m below ground level (mbgl) for the period between 1935 and 1940,
although it seems that no comprehensive borehole drilling to determine the water levels
in the irrigation area was undertaken across the entire scheme (Herold & Bailey, 1996).
No extensive measurement of the water levels seems to have been undertaken during the
period of 1940’s to 1970’s.
To combat waterlogging, a comprehensive network of 240 subsurface drains was
installed between the years 1976 and 1979 at an approximate depth of 1.8mbgl. The
drains were found to successfully control the water table, and in so doing, improve the
crop yields. In 1976, prior to the drains’ installation, approximately 3000ha of soils were
saline or saline-sodic to a depth of 0.3mbgl. The end of 1977 had reduced this reduced to
approximately 1500ha, while in 1980 there remained approximately 1000ha of salt-
affected soils (Herold & Bailey, 1996).

1.2 Previous investigations

Research has been conducted in the Vaalharts since the 1960’s addressing increasing
water levels and salinisation within the irrigation area. Most recent was a report by
Herold & Bailey (1996) discussing the long-term salt balance for the Vaalharts Irrigation
Scheme. This report stated an annual loss of 100000t of salts to groundwater, and
predicted that, as these salts were not being measured in the Harts River, that they would
be seen in the form of a sudden salt reversal to the Harts River, thereby adding a massive
strain to an already stressed river system. The basic hypothesis for this to occur was the
existence of a “perched” aquifer below the irrigation scheme, which in turn is underlain
by a deep aquifer. This deep aquifer would be the sink of these excess salts. Once the
postulated deep aquifer’s storage was exceeded, these salts would be added to the Harts
River, causing a water quality deterioration in the downstream Spitskop Dam. The
irrigation schemes in the lower Orange River such as those at Douglas would be
negatively impacted on.
In another study Gombar & Erasmus (1976) sampled various boreholes in the North
Canal area. The average TDS at the time was determined to be 1005mg/l.
Water resources of arid areas 62


2.1 Hydrocensus
An initial field recognisance study was undertaken. Literature indicated that 41 diamond-
prospecting boreholes had been drilled during the 1970’s. It was hoped that these
boreholes could provide access to the aquifer. During a hydrocensus inspection to locate
these boreholes, all were found to either be destroyed by farming practices, or have been
blocked by stones.
A second hydrocensus across the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme to obtain an indication
of the groundwater response was conducted. The boreholes located during this
hydrocensus were equipped with mono-pumps, and had been encased in concrete. In
total, 22 boreholes were discovered. Only pumped samples were possible from these

2.2 Field investigation

The need for drilling was made evident by the relative lack of accessibility to open
boreholes, as the majority of boreholes are covered by cement blocks fitted with mono-
pumps. The drilling method used was air percussion, with the boreholes drilled to a
diameter of 0.165m, using a drill rig provided by the Department of Water Affairs and
A total of 17 boreholes drilled across the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme, of which three
were located on the riverbanks of the Harts River, and the remaining 14 were drilled on
the plots. In order to determine the hydrogeologic variation over the extent of the
lithology, the first seven boreholes were drilled to random depths until they reached the
lava bedrock, while the remaining 10 boreholes were drilled to a depth of approximately
The boreholes were predominantly cased with a 4mm steel casing, although three of
the boreholes drilled on the banks of the Harts River were cased with Johnson screens.
Furthermore, three of the seventeen boreholes drilled during this research were equipped
with piezometers. In all boreholes, casing and screens used for the borehole construction
were slotted to allow free flow of groundwater through the boreholes and accurate
groundwater investigation. The boreholes were slotted from a metre below the depth of
the Kalahari sands to prevent clogging of the borehole from these sands. Piezometers
were installed in three boreholes across the North Canal area. The boreholes used are
believed to present an accurate representation of the general geology in the Vaalharts.
The piezometers were installed to test the conceptual model of Herold & Bailey (1996),
where they assumed there to be two aquifers in the Vaalharts—an upper, perched aquifer
relating to the calcretes, and a deeper aquifer.

2.3 Aquifer testing

Three types of aquifer tests were undertaken to obtain the hydraulic parameters of the
aquifer underlying the irrigation scheme.
Quantification of the impact of irrigation on the aquifer 63

2.3.1 Slug tests

A slug test is a method used to measure the hydraulic conductivity or transmissivity of a
borehole. This is done by measuring the rate of recovery or recession in the borehole,
following a sudden addition into the borehole or extraction of water from the borehole of
a known volume. The Bouwer and Rice (1976) equations were used to analyse the slug

2.3.2 Pumping tests

Multi-rate and constant discharge rate pump tests were undertaken on selected boreholes.
Use was made of traditional analysis methods such as the Bisroy-Summers (1980)
method for multi-rate tests, the Cooper-Jacob method for constant rate tests and the more
recent suite of methods based on the Flow-Characteristics methodology (van Tonder et
al., 2002).

2.3.3 Tracer tests

Tracers are identifiable substances that, from the examination of their behaviour in a
flowing medium, may be used to infer the general behaviour of the medium (Riemann,
2002). Leap and Kaplan first described the single-well Injection Withdrawal Tracer test
for the estimation of groundwater flow velocities in 1988. The single-well Injection
Withdrawal Tracer test is conducted by injecting a known volume of tracer solution into
the test borehole, allowing the tracer to drift under the influence of the natural hydraulic
gradient for a period, and then removing the tracer by pumping the test borehole to
recover the tracer. Adopted methodologies as described by Riemann (2002) were used,
with NaCl and NaBr as artificial tracer.

2.4 Groundwater monitoring

Groundwater monitoring has been ongoing since inception of the drilling program. Six
groundwater-monitoring runs have been undertaken in the period April 2003 to March
2004. Groundwater levels have been measured using electronic contact dip meters.
Sampling of the boreholes has been undertaken with depth-specific sampling equipment.
Hydrochemical profiling using YSI- Sonde 6000 multi-parameter probe which measures
pH, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen and redox potential with depth, was done at
three occasions.

2.5 Numerical and analytical methods

Empirical and numerical methods were employed.

2.5.1 Analytical methods

Darcy’s law was used to determine an expected flux to the river.
Salt loads were calculated using the Ogata equation. The salt load estimation in the
GW reserve program uses the Ogata equation (from Freeze and Cherry, 1998):
Water resources of arid areas 64

l=distance along the flow path, v=the average linear water velocity, t=time,
C=concentration at time t, C0=initial concentration and D=the coefficient of molecular
diffusion, for the solute in the porous medium.
The expected salt leaching from the irrigation scheme was obtained from du Preez et
al., (2000), who used the Aragues model and the Soil Water Balance to determine salt
leaching from the scheme. These values were used as input in the empirical and
numerical models for salt balance calculations.

2.5.2 Numerical models

The numerical model used to simulate the aquifer system in the Vaalharts irrigation area
was Modflow. Modflow is a modular two- or three-dimensional finite difference
groundwater flow model that was developed by McDonald and Harbaugh of the United
States Geological Survey for the purpose of computation of hydraulic heads in saturated
porous medium with uniform water temperature and density (Harbaugh & McDonald,
1996). The Modflow mass transport program used during the Vaalharts transport
modelling was MT3D.
The Vaalharts numerical groundwater model is, as all groundwater models, a
representation of the naturally occurring conditions. Certain assumptions therefore had to
be made, while certain limitations also persisted in representing natural conditions. The
following assumptions were made:
● The rivers in the area were treated as fixed heads.
● As there is no significant groundwater extraction in reality due to the water allocation
from the Vaal River, no discharge was included.
● As there are large volumes of water being applied by irrigation, a higher volume for
recharge was applied.
● The basic lavas in the stratigraphy were accepted as being the lower boundary within
the stratigraphy due to their relatively impermeable nature.
The model was assigned 320 rows and 152 columns with a cell size of 250m×250m. This
equates to a model area of 3040km2. The model area’s co-ordinates are −3120000, −2000
(lower right corner) to −3040000, −40000 (upper left corner).
The Vaalharts model constructed during this project made use of a two-layer model.
Confined conditions were applied to these layers. The layer depths were based upon
geology encountered during literature reviews of Vaalharts specific data and drilling that
took place during the course of this project. The upper layer was assigned values for the
sands, according to geological logs drilled during this and other projects, averaged at
approximately 6m. The lower layer was assigned average values for the calcretes, clays,
gravels and shales due to their relatively similar range of depths, and depths of the
geological strata from borehole logs. The various pre-determined areas therefore each had
Quantification of the impact of irrigation on the aquifer 65

separate hydraulic conductivities applied to them, based upon knowledge of the geology
and tested aquifer parameters. For instance, areas with a higher degree of gravels were
assigned a higher hydraulic conductivity for that area. In other areas, where fractures with
significant yields were encountered, an increased hydraulic conductivity was assigned.
The drain package in MODFLOW was applied to the North Canal and West Canal
areas during the simulations. The drains applied in the model accurately represent the
processes occurring naturally in the Vaalharts system. The subsurface drains were
positioned 2mbgl to simulate natural conditions.
For the mass transport simulations, an initial concentration of 500mg/l TDS was
assigned, while the input concentration from irrigation was obtained from the salt
leaching models described by du Preez et al., (2000).


3.1 Geology
From the drilling a consolidated geological model was constructed using the Rockworks
(Version, Rockware Incorporated) program. The geology model shows thicker
shales to the northern side of the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme, with thinner shales in the
south of the scheme. In addition, while the model indicates calcretes throughout the
scheme, the calcretes are more pronounced in the southern half of the scheme. The
southern half of the scheme’s geology is represented more by gravels and clays. This may
be due to possible erosion and deposition as the Harts River meandered during the
Vaalharts’ geological history.

3.2 Aquifer parameters

The aquifer parameters obtained through pump and tracer testing show the underlying
strata to be heterogeneous, with high transmissivity values where fracture zones are
The tracer test results indicate a similar range of values, with high velocities occurring
wherever fracture zones exist.

3.3 Water levels

The water level variation over the time of measurement was not significant, with minor
summer and winter levels observed. Apart from a few exceptions, the water levels in the
area are very similar, varying between 1.6–2.0m below surface. This level coincides with
the depth of the installed drainage systems prevalent in the area. Water levels in
piezometers installed within the same borehole exhibited less than 1cm variation between
piezometers installed to different depths.
Water resources of arid areas 66

3.4 Water quality

The groundwater quality in the area varied spatially and is dependent on the geology and
position relative to the irrigation. The majority of the electrical conductivity values are
between 100mS/m and 270mS/m. The average TDS in the irrigation area was determined
to be 1350mg/l.
The two boreholes illustrating the highest and lowest electrical conductivities
respectively, are interestingly enough both present on the same plot, and are within a 50m
distance of each other. Borehole 6L16-1, illustrating the lowest conductivity of the
samples obtained, is drilled within 10m of a canal, which seems to be leaking water into
the groundwater system via cracks in the concrete. Borehole 6L16-2 is however located
within 10m of irrigated land. Several of the groundwater samples have relatively high
nitrate values, but considering this is a heavily
Table 1. Transmissivity values for tested boreholes.
Borehole Transmissivity (m2/d)
1G14-1 43.3
1K10-1 31.6
6L16-1 4.2
6L16-2 4.5
1D3-1 0.21
1D7-1 194.0
2J14_RIV-3 58.0
8H14-1 1.2
2J5-1 123.0

Table 2. Tracer test results.

Borehole Darcy Seepage velocity
number velocity (point dilution)
(m/d) (m/d)
1B10-1 2 21
1D3-1 1.5 15
1D7-1 3 29
2J5-1 1 9
8H14-1 22 217
Quantification of the impact of irrigation on the aquifer 67

Figure 1. Electrical conductivity values

of the samples taken from the
boreholes drilled during this project.
Table 3. Values used for Vaalharts Water Balance
using empirical values, and model values where
possible empirical values calculated for the
Vaalharts Water Balance (Mm3/annum).
Name Incoming Outgoing
water water
(Mm3/a) (Mm3/a)
North Canal 272.01
West Canal 42.97
Rainfall 309.60
Groundwater going 14.34
to river
Canal Tailends 23.35
Recharge 28.38
Drainage 23.63
Runoff 4.10
Evapotranspiration 533.30
Totals 624.58 627.16
Difference −0.41%

cultivated area the 50th percentile value for the groundwater of 2.2mg/l N is considerably
lower than expected. As nitrate is often used as a tracer to highlight the effect of
cultivation on water quality (e.g Pulido-Bosch et al., (1999)) such a low value would
seem to indicate that vertical migration of salts from the cultivated lands to the
groundwater is less pronounced than previously expected. This is confirmed by the low
Water resources of arid areas 68

potassium values, another key constituent in fertilizers, where 95% of the measured
values fall under 15mg/l.
Consideration of the major parameters using interpretive diagrams such as Piper plots,
showed no dominant anion or cation, although some of the cations do tend towards the
Na+K field. Comparison with surface waters and geology indicated a Mg- enrichment in
the Dwyka shales, and sulphate largely from incoming Vaal River water used for
irrigation. The in situ water quality, as determined through hydrochemical logging,
exhibited only minor variations with depth. No significant evidence of stratification of
poorer water quality was observed in any of the boreholes.

3.5 Water and salt balance

Water balances were determined using the numerical model and empirical calculations
for various scenarios.
Table 4. Salt balance permutations Vaalharts salt
balance (tons/year).
Components Option 1 Option 2
North Canal 112884 112884
West Canal 17832 17832
Groundwater going to 15873 15873
Canal Tailends 17977 17977
Drainage 17979 17979
Recharge1,2 84287 111758
Salts taken up by crops1 25962 25962
Fertilizer addition1 48302 48302
Salts in soils1 1900 1500
Incoming salts 179018 179018
Outgoing salts 163979 191050
Incoming less outgoing 15039 −12032
Percentage difference 8.401% −6.721%
Based on values obtained from du Preez et al.,
2000 and the numerical model.
Upper and lower values of calculated salt
leaching used.

For the purposes of the salt balance water qualities of various water types were obtained
from DWAF, previous reports and measured in this project. Combination of the water
balance, these concentration values and the output of salt leaching models reported by du
Preez et al., (2000), allowed salt loads to be calculated. The following was used to for the
salt balance.
There are several permutations of these options but these give similar results regarding
the overall salt balance. Of importance is the recharge salt addition to the groundwater
system. Using the median value of approximately 98000t/year of salts added to the
Quantification of the impact of irrigation on the aquifer 69

groundwater and the assumption that the net storage in aquifer remains relatively constant
over time, the expected net increase in TDS should be in the order of 14mg/l.


The main aim of the study was to ascertain the impact of many years of irrigation on the
groundwater resource. More specifically, emphasis was placed on the assessment of
previous hypotheses related to the aquifer system and salt migration within this system.

4.1 Previous hypotheses

The regular water level measurements over a period of a year in the seventeen boreholes
have shown that the subsurface drainage installed by the farmers is effectively controlling
groundwater levels. All the water levels in close proximity to such drainage exhibit
limited variation over time, and lie at a depth consistent with the installed drains. The
installed piezometers in several boreholes have shown that the water levels in deeper and
shallower systems are within a few centimetres of one another. The water quality in these
piezometers is also very similar for each borehole. Hydrochemical profiling has indicated
that no significant stratification of water occurs. All these factors point to the conclusion
that the deeper lying aquifer, thought to be the salt sink, does not behave independently.
The system is dynamic enough, and the shallow impermeable layers too localised, to
have a system of cascading groundwater finding its way to a deeper system. This finding
has positive consequences, in that no sudden catastrophic event of salt reversal is likely to
occur. However, the indications are also that the groundwater quality is showing a steady
deterioration over time.

4.2 Groundwater quality

The ongoing monitoring has shown the groundwater quality to be fairly poor, but not as
saline as was suspected. The average TDS of 1350mg/l compared to 1050mg/l in 1976 is
cause for concern. The numerical model has shown that groundwater is expected to leave
the scheme and contribute to water quality deterioration downstream in the Harts River
system. The observed water quality change is approximately 13mg/l year. Based on the
salt balance calculations, which takes the incoming and expected outflowing volumes
into account, the increase was expected to be around 14mg/l. These two results are
therefore in good agreement.

4.3 Water and salt balances

The empirical water and salt balances showed good agreement with one another. These
balances showed that irrigation is the most important driver on water quality and volumes
in the system. The salt balance also highlighted the fact that the greatest contribution to
the incoming salt load is the irrigation water sourced from the Vaal River. The salts
added in this way are more than double those from fertilizer addition and management of
this incoming water is therefore the key to the salt accumulation in the irrigation scheme.
Water resources of arid areas 70

Short of addressing the upstream Vaal River practices and means by which to ensure
cleaner water entering the Vaalharts system, the Vaalharts itself needs to be addressed.
The logical approach to ensure lower salinity water enters the groundwater in the
Vaalharts system is to make use of less water. Since agriculture accounts for nearly 70%
of all water withdrawn from rivers, lakes, and underground aquifers for human use, the
greatest potential for conservation lies with increasing irrigation efficiencies (Clarke,
1991). What is needed in the Vaalharts is a more efficient manner of irrigation, where
less water is applied per unit area, and therefore fewer salts enter the groundwater via
leaching. A more efficient means of irrigating would be drip irrigation, with a field
application efficiency of 95%, which is 40% to 60% more efficient than gravity systems
(Postel, 1997). The installation of drip irrigation in the Vaalharts would increase the
efficiency of irrigation, thereby reducing the volumes of water needed. This would
simultaneously decrease the mass of salts applied to the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme, and
reduce the tonnage leaching to groundwater and, eventually, entering the Harts River.


Annandale, J.G., Benadi, N., Jovanovic, N.Z. & Du Sautoy, N. 1998. SWB: A user friendly
irrigation scheduling model. Soils and Crops towards 2000 Congress, South African Society of
Crop production, Alpine Health, Kwazulu-Natal.
Aragues, R.M. 1996. Conceptual irrigation return flow hydrosalinity model. In K.K.Tanji (ed.).
Agricultural Salinity Assessment and Management. Am. Soc. Of Civ. Eng., New York.
Clarke, R. 1991. Water: The international crisis. London, Earthscan:. 193.
Birsoy, Y.K. & Summers, W.K. 1980. Determination of aquifer parameters from step tests and
pumping data. Groundwater, 18:137–146.
Chiang, W.-H. & Kinzelbach, W. 2000. Processing Modflow (PMWIN), Version 5.1. The Institute
for Groundwater Studies, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa, 9300.
Du Preez, C.C., Strydom, M.G., Le Roux, P.A.L., Pretorius, J.P., Van Rensburg, L.D. & Bennie,
A.T.P. 2000. Effect of Water Quality on Irrigation Farming along the Lower Vaal River: the
Influence on Soils and Crops. WRC Report No. 740/1/00. Water Research Commission.
Harbaugh, A.W. & McDonald, M.G. 1996. User’s documentation for MODFLOW-96, an update to
the U.S. Geological Survey modular finite-difference ground-water flow model: U.S. Geological
Survey Open-File Report 96–485, 56p.
Herold, C.E. & Bailey, A.K. 1996. Long Term Salt Balance of the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme.
Water Research Commission.
Gombar, O. & Erasmus, C.J.H. 1976. Vaalharts Ontwateringsprojek, Technical Report GH2897.
Department of Water Affairs.
Leap, D.I. & Kaplan, P.G. 1980. A single-well tracing method for estimating regional advective
velocity in a confined aquifer theory and preliminary laboratory verification. Water Resources
Research, 23(7): 993–998.
Postel, S. 1993. Water and Agriculture. Water in Crisis. New York, Oxford University Press. pp.
Pulido-Bosch, A., Bensi, S., Molina, L., Vallejos, A., Calaforra, J.M. & Pullido-Leboeuf, P. 1999.
Department of Hydrogeology, University of Almeria. Canada, Spain.
Riemann, K. 2002. Aquifer parameter Estimation in Fractured Rock Aquifers using a combination
of Hydraulic and Tracer Tests. PhD thesis. Institute for groundwater studies.
South African Weather Service. 2002. Climate data.
Quantification of the impact of irrigation on the aquifer 71

van Tonder, G., Bardenhagen, I., Riemann, K., van Bosch, J., Dzanga, P., Xu, Y. 2002. Manual on
Pumping Test Analysis in Fractured-Rock Aquifers. WRC Report No. 1116/1/02. Water Res.
Theme B:
Groundwater recharge:
natural and artificial
Groundwater development—identification of
artificial recharge areas in Alla, Eritrea
K.S.Viswanatham, Filmon Tesfaslasie & Michael Asmellash
Water Resources Department, Government of Eritrea, Asmara, Eritrea,
N.E. Africa
Arun Kumar
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Asmara, Asmara, Eritrea,
N.E. Africa
Department of Earth Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: Remotely sensed data acquired by the EO satellite have

been analyzed to demarcate potential target zones for the development of
future irrigation projects in a part of Eritrea. The study area is one of the
important centers of horticulture activities and is currently facing water
problem. Various lithologic units, tectonic signatures, land use and
geomorphology related to groundwater assessment have been identified
and interpreted from the imagery. The northern part of the area, covered
by alluvial fans and presence of NW-SE dykes indicates favorable
potential areas for groundwater development. Based on present
investigation, construction of check dam in the Ghadien River and sub-
surface dam near Bazit Village is recommended in order to improve
groundwater potential in the area.


The advent of polar-orbiting satellite remote sensing has provided hydrogeologists with a
sophisticated and reliable tool for rapidly assessing natural resources of an area with
reasonable accuracy. The focus of this paper is on the analysis of remotely sensed data
combined with ground truth to delineate geological and geomorphologic patterns and
their effect on groundwater occurrence and movement.
The area selected for the study lies south east of Asmara, the capital city of Eritrea, in
Sub-Sahelian Africa (Fig. 1). Alla-Ghadien and its vicinity are well known for
horticultural activities. Irrigation is from open dug wells and in a limited way from bore
Water resources of arid areas 76

wells. The continual exploitation of water resources has resulted in gradual decline of
water levels and also a decrease in well yields (Habteab 2000). The area lies within a
depression at the edge of the Red Sea escarpment, and is an intermontane basin enclosed
by several outstanding ridges. Ghadien is the administrative center of five villages, Alla,
Belesto, Adi-Asambo, Adi-Moya and Ghadien itself. It is located 16km northeast of
Dekemhare town. The elevation of the area ranges from 1680m to 1936m above mean
sea level. The horticultural activities in the area commenced during the Italian
colonization. In the early times, sufficient groundwater was found at shallow depths (five
meter); however at present it is difficult to get water in some areas, even at depths of 30
meters (Habteab, 2000). The total population of the Ghadien administrative center is
about 2773, with a total cultivated area of 2888.24 hectares. The average annual rainfall
is 463mm. Based on the information of the Ghadien administrator the number of wells is
about 600, of which 200 are dry (Habteab, 2000). Some of the existing problems in the
area are—acute shortage of groundwater, lowering of water table, high density of wells
with close spacing, over exploitation of groundwater, mismanagement of the existing
water, lack of assessment of groundwater potential, extensions of irrigated areas,

Figure 1. Location map.

construction of wells and small dams without knowing the groundwater potential. A
reconnaissance survey in April 2001 indicated a lowering of water levels and decreasing
Groundwater development—identification of artificial recharge areas in Alla, Eritrea 77

well yields. The main objective of the present work is to identify the existing
hydrogeological problems, to test the water quality at random sites and to evaluate water
use and management. With the help of image interpretation and field checks, areas for
future groundwater development and suitable site for check dam and subsurface dam
have been suggested.
The remotely sensed data employed are from the NASA EO-1 satellite’s Advanced
Land Imager (ALI) instrument (NASA, 2001). The deployment aims at testing the
suitability of 9 spectral bands in the visible to short wave infrared, with 30m resolution,
and a single panchromatic band with 10m resolution, for the eventual replacement of the
Landsat-7 Thematic Mapper. The chosen bands include 6 similar to that of the TM
instrument, with an additional 3 that augment possibilities for vegetation and mineral
discrimination. Sharpened by the 10m panchromatic band, various combinations of the
spectral bands offer unprecedented (for Eritrea) opportunities for resource assessment.


Eritrea is located on the western flank of the Red Sea at about 12.5°–18° North, 36.5°–
43.5° East. Its border length in the north and west with Sudan is about 624km, that with
Ethiopia to the south is about 917Km, and that in the southeast with Republic of Djibouti
is about 104km. With a total area of about 124000km2, it has more than 350 islands and a
coastline of more than 1200km. The population of Eritrea is approximately 3.5 million.
Eritrea has five major river basins, namely Mereb-Gash, Setit, Barka-Anseba, Red Sea
and Danakil depression. All the rivers (except the Setit) and their tributaries are mostly
seasonal and intermittent. It has four physiographic regions namely the Central
Highlands, Western Lowlands, Eastern Lowlands and Coastal Lowlands. The average
temperature ranges from 3°C–28°C in the highlands and 20°C–48°C in the lowlands.
Eritrea being an arid and semi-arid country is not endowed with rich water resources.
It has a vulnerable environment due to recurrent and devastating droughts, being part of
Sahelian Africa. Rain-fed agriculture is the main occupation of most rural people. The
majority of the population depends on groundwater as the main water-supply source.
Rainfall is torrential in nature, i.e. high intensity and short duration, and is monsoonal.
Annual precipitation ranges from 300mm to greater than 800mm in the Central Highlands
and Southwestern Lowlands, 200mm to 300mm in the Northwestern Lowlands, and 100
to 200mm in the Eastern and Southeastern Lowlands.
Situated close to the Red Sea escarpment, the Alla-Ghadien area receives intermittent
orographic rainfall, as well as that during the two monsoonal periods in March–April and


Drury and Berhe (1993) reported significant regional geological controls for groundwater
in Eritrea and their expression on satellite images. According to them, the main potential
for groundwater developments occur as fracture systems, carbonates with enhanced
permeability, granites (which develop deep, coarse and porous soils and extensive joint
Water resources of arid areas 78

systems), fissile rocks in shear zones, deep basins of unconsolidated sediments in the
mountains and coastal plains, igneous intrusion which act as natural barriers, and
outcrops of lava and laterite. Many such features have been identified on images of
Eritrea. Some of them were considered to be targets for locating bore wells in difficult
terrains of northwestern Eritrea, and drilling them met with a success rate of 85%. Drury
et al. (2001), focusing on the hydrogeological potential of fracture systems, indicated that
NNW-SSE Precambrian shear zones, normal faults roughly parallel to those earlier
structures and prominent East-South-East-West-North-West dilatational fractures offer
considerable scope for groundwater development. Prospect geophysical profiling across
several of these structures in both lowland and highland terrains revealed conductive
features believed to relate to saturated zones in large, regionally extensive fractures.
Zerai and Solomon (1993) identified five main hydrogeological units:
(i) Unconsolidated sediments with variable inter granular permeability.
(ii) Volcanic rocks (basalts) with fracture and fissure permeability.
(iii) Fissured and karstic carbonate aquifers.
(iv) Metamorphic and intrusive rocks with localized low to moderate permeability along
fractured and weathered zones.
(v) Aquitards and aquicludes and groundwater barriers (acid to intermediate volcanic).


Knowledge and understanding of the geological events of an area are important for
groundwater investigations. The geology of Eritrea is made up of a Precambrian
basement complex comprising high-to low-grade metamorphic rocks and associated
intrusives, which are overlain by predominantly Mesozoic sedimentary rocks and
Tertiary to Quaternary volcanic and sedimentary rocks (JICA Report 1998 Drury and
Berhe 1993). Precambrian granites are exposed in the eastern, western and northern parts
of Alla-Ghadien. The southern part of the study area is a wide and flat plain between
actively rising ridges of metamorphic rocks. The geological events in Eritrea are
summarized as follows:
(1) Precambrian: Formation of the crystalline basement complex and its associated
intrusive rocks;
(2) Paleozoic: Peneplanation of the basement complex and deposition of sparse
sedimentary rocks;
(3) Jurassic: Transgression-regression of the Mesozoic sea, which deposited lower
sandstone, Adigrat sandstone and Antalo limestone during subsidence towards the
Indian Ocean;
(4) Upper Eocene-Miocene: Uplift forming domes, extensional fault systems, basaltic
flood volcanism and opening of the Red Sea rift system;
(5) Miocene Period: Formation of upper sandstone; and
(6) Quaternary Period: Formation of alluvial, eluvial and colluvial unconsolidated
Groundwater development—identification of artificial recharge areas in Alla, Eritrea 79


The reconnaissance survey done in Ghadien and Alla areas shows that the plain is
covered by Quaternary alluvial and colluvial sediments and with subordinate outcrops of
granitic intrusive rocks. There are two types of aquifers in the study area: alluvial
sediments and weathered and fractured acidic granitoids. Moreover major and minor
lineaments exist in the area, many being fracture zones or igneous dykes, which naturally
serve as conduits for or barriers to groundwater flow respectively. That the NNW-SSE
basaltic dikes serve as groundwater flow barriers is confirmed by high yields of wells
around the dikes. Minor structures trending roughly NE-SW are found to serve as a
conduit for the water flow, confirmed by the high yield of the wells in the Ghadien area,
where the structures are dominantly observed.
In 1994 and 2000 the Water Resources Department (WRD) did a well inventory in
Alla-Ghadien area, encompassing location, static water levels and well design. Based on
the well inventory data in 1994 there were 144 wells, the average well depth was 15m+
with static water level (SWL) 14.4m. In the year 2000 the average well depth was 17
meters & SWL 16.51. Therefore the lowering of water level in 4 years is 2 meters. In the
Alla-Ghadien area, hand dug wells are very closely located, from approximately 20m to
100m apart. An ad-hoc assessment of the catchments of 1465km2 area based on rainfall
for Alla has shown that the total groundwater recharge is 643Ha.m, while the total annual
groundwater draft is 1062Ha.m leaving a negative balance of −419Ha.m
(K.S.Viswanatham 2002). The above figure indicates “mining” of water.
The Alla-Ghadien area could therefore be classified as an overexploited area. Areas
where groundwater resource assessment shows stage of groundwater development more
than 100% and both pre and post monsoon groundwater levels show a significant long-
term decline are classified as over exploited areas.


An integrated approach that involves interpretation of remotely sensed data and ground-
based ancillary investigations has been implemented for the Alla-Ghadien study.
Groundwater zonation was prepared using various thematic maps at 1:50,000 scales,
which include geology, geomorphology, lineament trends and land use/landcover. Field
survey was done to correlate the image characteristic to ground feature to confirm the
interpretation. Specific field data, such as well inventories of SWL, yield, depth,
diameter, quality of water and drilling logs were collected. Images (bounded by UTM
7500000–7516000 E 1666000–1682000 N) of the Alla-Dekamhare area were from an
EO-1 overpass in April 2001 and combine ALI bands 5, 4 and 3 as red, green and blue
components, sharpened by the use of the ALI panchromatic band to modulate intensity.
This combination is optimum for expressing vegetation cover, but does discriminate
some lithologies and soil types, as well as revealing small-scale topographic features.
Water resources of arid areas 80



The various water-bearing and movement properties, and the controlling parameters in
the study area based on image interpretation and ground check are as follows:
Fluvial/alluvial sediments and alluvial fans,
Tertiary laterite,
Tertiary basaltic rocks, as lavas and dykes.

Geologically, the area is dominated by granitic terrain. The alluvial areas of Alla and
Ghadien are eastward sloping plains surrounded by hills with mostly steep slopes. The
alluvial sediments have a yellowish colour and define a roughly triangular area. Tertiary
laterites are indicated by grayish white color in irregular shapes along the streams and on
the plains. Areas of bedrock comprise granites, which are traversed by NNE to SSW
basaltic dikes. In the imagery, the granites are bluish to dark blue in color and occupy
topographical ridges. The granitic exposures form circular and semi-circular shapes, for
example Bazit Hill near Bazit village. There is a possibility of marble being present as
roof pendants in the granitic masses at the northern flank of the area (represented by light
to dark gray tones with signs of bedding), which have to be checked and confirmed in the
field. Topographically the area is surrounded by hills with undulating slopes, and almost
plain on the center. These features could be observed north west of Ghadien. Dikes show
as linear features mostly concentrated north of Ghadien and roughly north of the Alla
The major land use of the area is classified based on color, shape and texture as fallow
land, barren rocky terrain, dense vegetation (mainly horticulture gardens), river sediments
and sparse vegetation. The Ghadien, Sesah and Bazit Rivers drain the area. The drainage
pattern is distributed and dendritic. All the rivers flow eastwards. Some flow features
follow a structurally controlled direction. Low drainage density in the alluvial plains,
which probably indicates high rates of infiltration, suggests good groundwater prospects
in parts of them.


From the fieldobservations, the area can be divided into high- and low-potential zones. In
the upper Ghadien river successful hand dug wells are being pumped for 4–7 hours per
day and irrigating 6–10ha of horticulture gardens, particularly citrus bushes. In addition,
this high-potential area has been investigated by the geophysicist from the Ministry of
Agriculture, and recommended to be a potential area for development. In the satellite
image alluvial fans and fills clearly represent the upper Ghadien zone.
Groundwater development—identification of artificial recharge areas in Alla, Eritrea 81

The low-potential zones, as defined by the well inventory data, are represented in the
satellite image by granitoid and granitic ridge with adjoining alluvial cover. The farmers
are pumping water for 2–3 hours per day from wells there, some of which have been
abandoned due to poor yields or non-availability of water. The geophysical surveys have
also confirmed the absence of suitable aquifers at deeper levels in such low potential
A preliminary interpretation on the regional geology was attempted, based on the
imagery. In order to corroborate this interpretation, a quick field trip was made. The field
observations revealed additional information on the geology, which necessitated some
modification to the preliminary assumptions about the geological set-up. The alluvial fans
as interpreted from the imagery are observed in the field to be a thin cover of alluvium on
granitic rocks. The possibility of carbonate rocks/Marble in the North West part of the
area is ruled out as granites varying in color, composition and texture represent these
outcrops. Only few small patches of marble, which are not mapable, have been reported,
which could be the extension of carbonates that supply abundant spring water in the
Maihabar area 15km to the north. Beside this, cherts and conglomerates are observed on
the Northwest part (assigned as basement metasediments), diorite on the Northeast, and
metabasalt on the Southeast part of the study area (Fig. 2).
In the Alla area, four bore wells drilled in the range of 47 to 50 meters are reported to
yield 1.4 to 2.2 liters per second. The depths of the alluvial cover at those sites are from
13 to 21 meters, followed by granites. In the Bazit area, there are 3 boreholes, each
having depths of 50 meters, and yields of 1.4lps, 2.5lps and 5Lps. In the Ghadien area,

Figure 2. Geological map of Alla-

Water resources of arid areas 82

there is only borehole with a depth of 50 meters and yield of 2.5Lps. The alluvial cover is
21 meters. In Chuhot area 3 boreholes, with depths of 36 meters, 48 meters and 50 meters
respectively proved to be highly successful, with yields of 4Lps, 5Lps and 5.5Lps.


(1) The areas around Alla (UTM 504000–508000 E and 1673000–168000) are favourable
for groundwater exploitation.
(2) The NNE-SSW dikes on the North flank of Alla plains, which can be, extrapolated
beneath the alluvial cover show a positive indication for potential groundwater
development as they form natural sub-surface barriers.
(3) The source of water is mainly from the alluvial formation whose origin is by
weathering of granites.


The alluvial formations in Alla plain provide suitable sites for sub-surface dams,
infiltration galleries and check dams. This is due to fine sediments predominantly quartz
gravels and sand derived from granitic terrain. The natural barriers namely the NNE-
SSW dikes have to be taken into consideration while constructing the sub-surface dams
and check dams for the suitability of the structures.


Areas can be delineated into recharge and discharge areas depending on whether water is
added to or abstracted from the zone of saturation. In the case of the water table aquifer,
usually the areas occupying higher elevations with deeper water tables constitute the
recharge areas while the
Groundwater development—identification of artificial recharge areas in Alla, Eritrea 83

Figure 3. Water table contour map of

Alla-Ghadien area.
topographic lows with shallow water tables comprises natural discharge areas (Karanth,
1994). Therefore in the case of Alla-Ghadien area, Ghadien is a useful recharge area due
to its higher elevation and deeper water table than Alla. This is shown by a water table
contour map (Fig. 3) where the ground water flow is NNW to SSE of the area. To
confirm this, further investigations are necessary. Implementing a program of artificial
recharge and abstraction requires the construction of check dams and sub-surface dams at
finalized sites.


(1) Construction of check dams specifically in the Ghadien River because of high slopes
with fractured granitic rocks and catchment area is recommended.
(2) The sub-surface dam near Bazit village needs to be further probed by integrated
geophysical investigations.
(3) Bore wells drilled in the Chuhot area gave reasonably good yields (5ls−1), which if
used through drip irrigation could cover large areas. Integrated groundwater studies
are to be taken up for further bore well locations.
Water resources of arid areas 84


The authors acknowledge with thanks Mr. Ghebremichael Hagos Director General for
giving an opportunity for the investigations and permitting to publish this paper. The
authors also thank Mr. Ghebremichael Temenewo and Mr. Michael Negash for
discussions from time to time, which helped to improve the paper. Ms. Meron Teshome
is acknowledged for her support in preparing the maps.


Drury, S.A and Berhe, S.M. 1993. Remote Sensing and Water Exploration in Eritrea WRD
Eritrea/EIAC/ GREADCO and Open University UK. (Unpubl) 6 pp.
Drury, S.A and Berhe S.M. 1993. Accretion Tectonics in Northern Eritrea revealed by remotely
sensed imagery. Geol Mag, 130(2):177–190.
Drury, S.A, R.J.Peart M.E. & Andrews Deller. 2001. Hydro geological potentials of major fractures
in Eritrea. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 2(2):163–177.
Habteab.T. 2000. Groundwater Depletion in Alla Commercial Farm. Department of Environment,
Ministry of Land Water and Environment (Unpubl).
Karanth, K.R. 1994. Groundwater Assessment, Development and Management, New Delhi, Tata
McgrawHill Publishing Company Limited: 720 pp.
JICA Report. 1998. Study on Groundwater Development and Water Supply for Seven Towns in
Southern region of Eritrea.Water Resources Department and Sanyu Consultants Inc., Japan.
NASA, 2001. EO-1Science Validation Team Home Page,
Viswanatham, K.S. 2002. Water Resources Development Management of Critical Areas in Eritrea.
Journal of Applied Hydrology, XV(4), Oct:21–25.
Zerai Habteab. 1996. Groundwater and Geothermal Resources of Eritrea with the emphasis on their
chemical quality: Journal of African Earth Sciences, 22:415–421.
Subterraneous injection of nutrient rich
groundwater to the coastal waters
National Institute of Oceanography, Regional Center, Cochin
Joseph Sebasgtian Paimpillil
Center for Earth Research & Environment Management, Cochin, India
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: Existence of a subterranean flow connecting a tropical

backwater to coastal waters through submerged porous lime shell is
inferred from nutrient distribution patterns in the coastal waters. The
activation of ‘mud banks’ triggers high productivity in oligotrophic
coastal waters of southeastern Arabian Sea. The current results
represented a period when the mud banks were not activated but
fertilization at certain compartments of the coastal zone by injection of
nutrients by hitherto unknown processes was evident. The higher
dissolved concentrations of ammonia, nitrate and silicate originating from
shallow depths and extending to offshore have indicated a clear
groundwater based nutrient source. The enriched particulate organic
carbon and Chlorophyll a were also notable features of the nutrient
injection region. It is difficult to point out a definite source for the high
nutrient introduction as fresh water discharge was at the minimum during
the nutrient injection duration. A band of N/P>15 funneling out during
non-mud bank period gave a clear indication of an ‘external ground water
source’ of nitrogenous compounds to the coastal water which deserve
identification as it is traced to a region far away from any river mouth and
the injection of nutrients was observed during non-monsoon months when
mud banks were passive. The existence of subterraneous channels as the
artifacts of porous nature of the lime shell base of the region transporting
the nitrogenous compounds cannot be ruled out in the region.


The west coast of India is environmentally more sensitive than the east coast primarily
because it is bordering one of the most sensitive ecosystems in the world, the Arabian
Sea. The environmental property of the northern Arabian Sea is unique which manifests
in rich biological production throughout the year through different processes and thus,
Water resources of arid areas 86

explain for the Arabian Sea ‘Paradox’ Mathupratap et al (1996). The symptoms are there
to show considerable impact of deterioration of estuarine waters on the coastal ecosystem
Nair et al (1991), Naqvi et al (2000), Jayakumar et al (2001). The emerging industrial
establishments and human settlements along the west coast of India, thus necessitates a
critical evaluation of the nature and quantum of inputs to the Arabian sea as well as their
regional assimilative capacities. If there is a possible threat to the well being of the living
resources of EEZ of India, then the coastal waters of southwest coast of India, and in
particular, Cochin region is the prime location prone to trigger it. The booming city of
Cochin has population of nearly 1.5 million Anonymous (1998) and 60% of the chemical
industries of Kerala are situated in this area Cochin backwaters are the largest of its kind
on the west coast of India with an area of 256Km2. The 16 major and several minor
industries situated in the upstream region of the backwaters discharge nearly
0.105Mm3d−1 of effluents Anonymous (1996). The fertilizer consumption in Kuttanad
region (the main agricultural field draining to Cochin backwater) alone is reported to be
20,239ty−1 Anonymous (1996). The backwater

Figure 1. Map showing the study area

(A) and study region with location of
stations and bathymetry (B).
receives organic wastes ~260td−1 Anonymous (1998) and an annual dredge spoil from the
harbor area to the tune of 107m3.
Conventional understanding of coastal waters of southeastern Arabian Sea is that
activation of mud banks by monsoon forcing triggers intense geochemical processes
leading to high productivity. Mud banks, as they appear only during monsoon and
disappear with its retrieval, are unique in their formation and functions, and have turned
out to be economically important for its rich biological resources. As far as the chemical
features are concerned, the general picture so far emerged out is that except during the
Subterraneous injection of nutrient rich groundwater to the coastal waters 87

monsoon periods, the southwest coastal waters remained oligotrophic and surface
chlorophyll a typically ranges from 0.1 to 5.3mgm−3, while primary productivity ranges
from 100 to 360mgCm−2d−1. Recent studies as the one discussed here contradict these
findings and show that even after the monsoon period, fresh injection of nutrients by
hitherto unknown processes fertilize the coastal waters that are either permanent or quasi-
permanent in nature. One of the major mudbank regions (Fig. 1 A, B) of southwest coast
of India was selected for observation that indicates episodic introduction of nutrients into
the coastal waters during periods when mud banks are passive.


During the typical pre-monsoon (February) months, the nitrogenous nutrients in water
remained low except for the southern transects centered on Chethi and Alleppey. The
phosphate concentrations did not show any spatial or vertical variation in the water
column, but higher concentrations of ammonia, nitrate and silicate were observed at
selected regions starting in the near shore regions and extending offshore (Fig. 2 A–D).
The Nitrate-N concentrations point towards a clear source between Chethi and
Pazhayangadi, where it peaked up to >8µM and decreased towards offshore. A similar
trend was observed for ammonia-N with the source centered on Chethi (at about 15m
depth). It may be assumed that the ammonia released were either rapidly utilized by
phytoplankton or oxidized within the system itself where the waters were saturated with
dissolved oxygen. Distribution of silicate-Si was similar to that of nitrate (4–10µM),
higher than the corresponding values reported for the waters of Southeastern Arabian
Sea. The input of these nutrients supported high primary production up to 14mg/m3 of
chlorophyll a (peak column production of
Water resources of arid areas 88

Figure 2. Distribution of ammonia-N

(A), nitrite-N (B), nitrate-N (C)
phosphate-P (D) at the surface and
bottom during October (a, b), February
(c, d) & November (e, f).
1529mgCm2d−1), approximately 3 times greater than the peak values reported so far from
these waters Qasim et al (1978). The peaks in chlorophyll a and ammonia showed a
preference of ammonia among the nutrients for primary production. It is difficult to point
Subterraneous injection of nutrient rich groundwater to the coastal waters 89

out a definite source to these high nutrients during this period, as the fresh water
discharge was at the minimum.

Figure 3. N/P peak values funneling

out from mud bank region.
Water resources of arid areas 90

During post monsoon (November), homogenous mixed layer prevailed in the entire
region. While the physical characteristics were more or less stable, there was
considerable variability in the nutrients and in chlorophyll a concentration (Fig.2 A–D).
A marked decrease in sub-surface dissolved oxygen (2.8–4.8ml/l) was the characteristic
feature of this period, which was concomitant with enriched nitrite (0.5–2.0µM),
phosphate (0.4–2.8µM) and silicate (0.5–14µM). The ammonia (1–7µM) and nitrate (1–
6µM) were also elevated at some regions along southern transects. The enriched
particulate organic carbon (>3.5mg/l) and Chlorophyll a (14.8mg/m3) were also the
notable features of this period. It is likely that chlorophyll a values were proportionate to
carbon production indicating a strong positive relationship binding it with nutrient related
factors rather than seasonal or diurnal fluctuation. The elevated nitrite and phosphate
levels around Cochin may be due to the input from the backwaters. Higher values of
nitrite, POC and chlorophyll a towards the southern offshore waters off Pallana were
conspicuous and the regions with high nitrite had nitrate levels up to 6µM and the low
levels of ammonia had ruled out the nitrification as a significant process responsible for
nitrite accumulation. The remarkable co-existence of nitrite with nitrate strongly
suggested that the nitrite production should mostly be due to assimilatory reduction. This
was further substantiated by the high concentration of chlorophyll a (4–9.8mg/m3) on
these transects.
The N/P ratio in the coastal waters was below 15 during November (Fig. 3), possibly
due to the disproportionate release of P from mudbank sediment. However, a band of
N/P>15 funneling out from Alleppey region was indicative of an ‘external source’ of
nitrogenous compounds into the coastal waters. A comparison of long-term (decadal)
trend in the chlorophyll data of this region showed “greening” of near shore waters
Devassy (1983). This suggests that phytoplankton standing crops had increased
historically, possibly in response to watershed nutrient inputs. These sources of nutrients
deserve identification as it was traced to a region, far away from any river mouths.
The current observations in general indicated the presence of a nutrient source
between Chethi and Pallana. This region has mud banks but the release of nitrogenous
compounds cannot be accounted from sediments. The injection of nutrients was in non-
monsoon months when mud banks were passive and a new influence of Vembanad Lake
on the coastal waters is very clear. One of the recent estimate shows that in spite of
receiving 42.4×103mold−1 of inorganic phosphate and 37.6×103mold−1of inorganic nitrate
from Periyar side of the estuary, the export to the coastal waters is only 28.2×103mold−1of
inorganic phosphate and 24×103mold−1 of inorganic nitrate Naik (2000) and the lake acts
as a sink for the nutrients, flushing out only a portion of the pollution load that it receives.
Increased human population along the coastal belt has also resulted in concomitant
increases in widespread use of septic tanks and nutrient inputs to coastal waters,
particularly from regions occupying limestone beds. It has been found that domestic
wastewater from septic tanks provide more nitrogen than that due to precipitation or use
of fertilizers. The situation is exacerbated in the present study region, as more than 70%
of households in these coastal belt and adjacent areas of Vembanad Lake do not have
proper sanitation facilities. Significant amounts of nutrients from fertilizer applied in
agricultural fields (approx. 94kg/ha) leach out into waterways, groundwater and to the
coastal bays inducing coastal fertilization due to direct discharge into coastal ocean and
through ground water seepage.
Subterraneous injection of nutrient rich groundwater to the coastal waters 91


The nutrient fluxes into coastal region were influenced by fluxes from Cochin backwater
and by the mud bank formation. The present study isolates a possible link between
Vembanad Lake that supplies primary nutrients to the adjacent coastal waters and
precondition it for rich primary production during non-monsoon months. The causative
factors discussed are indicative of existence of a subterranean flow connecting Vembanad
Lake to the adjacent coastal waters through the submerged porous lime shell beds.
Continuous nutrient entry through such process is bound to upset coastal water
productivity pattern. If the existence of the subterraneous channels linking Vembanad
Lake to the adjacent coast is proved, it might even re-construct the historical evidence
that the subterraneous flow plays a decisive role in the formation of mud banks along this
region. A sub aqueous injection of nutrients into the coastal waters through this region is
possible even after the rainy season. This assumption need further study to establish
cause and affect mechanisms and quantify actual trends created by increased nutrient


Anonymous, 1996. Pollution potential of industries in coastal areas of India. Coastal Pollution
Control Series: central Pollution Control Board Report. COPOCS/9/1995–96.
Anonymous. 1998. NEERI- carrying capacity based developmental planning of Greater Kochi
Region. Phase I Report.
Devassy, V.P. 1983. Mahasagar, Bull Bull Nat. Inst. Oceanogr.7:101–105.
Hema Naik, 2000. Budgets for Periyar estuary, Kerala. Presented at Regional Training Workshop
on Biogeochemical Budgeting and Socio-Economic modeling for Coastal Scientist.
APN/SASCOM/LOICZ, 18–22 September, Colombo.
Jayakumar D.A., Naqvi S.W.A., Narvekar P.V. & George M.D. 2001. Methane in coastal and
offshore waters of the Arabian Sea. Mar. Chem. 74:1–13.
Mathupratap N.M., Prasanakumar S., Bhattathri P.M.A, Dileepkumar M., Reghukumar S., Nair
K.K.C. & Ramaiah N. 1996. Mechanism of the biological response to winter cooling in the
north eastern Arabian Sea. Nature, 384:549–551.
Nair C.K., Balchand A.N. & Nambisan N.P.K. 1991. Heavy metal speciation in sediments of
Cochin estuary determined using chemical extraction techniques. Sci.Total Environ. 102:113–
Naqvi S.W.A., Jayakumar D.A., Narvekar P.V., Naik H., Sarma V.V.S., D’Souza W., Joseph S. &
George M.D. 2000. Increased marine production of N2O due to intensifying anoxia on the
Indian continental shelf. Nature, 408:346–349.
Qasim, S.Z., Wafar, M.V.M., Sumithra Vijayaraghavan, Joseph P., Royan. & Krishna Kumari, L.
1978. Ind. J. Mar. Sci.,7:84–93.
A new method for the estimation of episodic
J.Bean, G.van Tonder & I.Dennis
Institute for Groundwater Studies, University of the Free State,
Bloemfontein, South Africa
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: A new stable isotope-based technique, the Modified

Amount Effect (MAE) Method, was developed during this study. This
technique provides insight into episodic recharge processes by estimating
the proportion of preferential pathway-to-matrix-derived flow entering an
aquifer, and the amount of rainfall required to initiate recharge via the
respective flow paths. Significantly, the proportion of bypass flow can be
determined without undertaking expensive and time-consuming
unsaturated zone studies, both factors often of primary concern when
undertaking recharge investigations in developing countries.


There can be no doubt that the South African water industry has been profoundly
transformed over the last 10 years, with millions of rands invested in water infrastructure
aimed at ensuring that every South African has access to fresh drinking water. In drier,
more isolated, inland areas of the country, this has often meant that available
groundwater resources must be exploited. As such, government and non-government
organisations have invested in research associated with developing new assessment
techniques so that these resources can be managed sustainably. In common with all these
strategies is the need for recharge processes to be understood, and if possible, quantified.
An understanding of site recharge behaviour is far more important than many
geohydrologists realise, and goes beyond estimating the average proportion of rainfall
entering a given aquifer. For example, from a planning viewpoint, groundwater ingress
into a mine is seldom problematic to mine management, providing it is constant;
problems occur when unpredicted increases occur, such as those associated with the
sudden entry of recharge water into surrounding aquifers. Thus, through understanding
the episodic nature of recharge in semi-arid and arid areas, and therefore the thresholds
that must be exceeded before recharge occurs, geohydrologists are better able to provide
predictive advice for their clients. This paper discusses a new stable isotope-based
A new method for the estimation of episodic recharge 93

technique, the Modified Amount Effect (MAE) Method. This was developed during the
study, which provides insight into episodic recharge processes.


2.1 General
This technique provides insight into episodic recharge processes by estimating the
proportion of preferential pathway-to-matrix-derived flow entering an aquifer, and the
amount of rainfall required to initiate recharge via the respective flow paths.
Significantly, the proportion of bypass flow can be determined without undertaking
expensive and time-consuming unsaturated zone studies, both factors often of primary
concern when undertaking recharge investigations in developing countries.

2.2 The Methodology

Recharge water is progressively enriched in δ18O due to evaporation, which occurs with
movement through the unsaturated zone. The slope of the evaporated water line for
matrix water in the unsaturated zone (EWL-U) is generally around 5, but sometimes as
low as 2. The variable d was corrected to represent evaporation within the unsaturated
zone by constructing a line through the 2H and 18O average for those samples
representing background recharge (i.e. δ18O<−4.3‰), resulting in an EWL-U of δ2
H=2.5δ18O+ −21.05.
Laboratory studies undertaken by Allison et al. (1984) confirm that if site recharge is
constant, evaporation-induced enrichment within the unsaturated zone should also be
constant, resulting in a line parallel to the local meteoric water line (LMWL), herein
referred to as the Matrix Water Line (MWL-U). Thus, if exchange processes between
aquifer materials and groundwater are ignored, preferential recharge areas can be inferred
in cases where the LMWL and MWL-U are not parallel (i.e. the LMWL has a steeper
slope and greater d-excess than the MWL-U). A similar assumption can be made if the
line-of-best-fit through site groundwater data (GWL) is not parallel to the LMWL, as the
isotopic characteristics of water stored in the aquifer represent a long-term average of
recharge processes. An approximate estimate of the contribution of preferred pathways-
derived recharge to aquifer storage can therefore be determined by constructing lines
parallel to MWL-U, GWL, and EWL-U, through the average 2H and 18O composition of
groundwater derived from direct recharge i.e.:

Where PPflow=the proportion of recharge derived from preferential flow, and dGWL, dEWL-
U, and dMWL-U represent the d excess in δ2H (‰) for GWL, EWL-U, and MWL-U,
It should be appreciated that the calculated value PPflow is sensitive to:
● Variations in the orientation of the LMWL and EWL-U.
Water resources of arid areas 94

● The recharge threshold. At low recharge thresholds (i.e. recharge occurs rapidly in
most years), particularly in more temperate areas, evaporation effects may not be
represented in the stable isotopic composition of groundwater data. In these areas,
transpiration, and not evaporation, probably has a greater potential to reduce the
recharge flux to site aquifers.
● The source of recharge water. The suggested method assumes that recharge water is
derived solely from precipitation, with no contribution from an adjacent surface water
body where pre-recharge evaporation has occurred.

2.3 Adapting the MAE Method

2.3.1 Background information

Groundwater samples were taken from the vicinity of Liebenberg’s Pan near Petrusburg,
Free State Province, South Africa. Pans occur throughout the Western Free State,
generally following the strike of the Ecca Series, which forms part of the Carboniferous
to early Jurassic aged Karoo Basin sediments. The Ecca Series at the pan is comprised of
mudstone, sandstone, and shale interbeds. Cretaceous-aged dolerite dykes and sills have
intruded these sediments, with high yielding aquifers (>10L/s) often occurring at the
structure/sediment interface. These have been locally overlain by calcretes to a maximum
depth of about 15m.
Petrusburg has a semi-arid climate, with an evaporation excess of 1920mm (2380–
460mm MAP) annually. Given that the water table is generally less than a metre below
the pan surface, groundwater here is exposed to continuous evaporation in most years, the
exception being those years where sufficient rainfall occurs to flood the entire pan for a
few months of the wet season. Thus, the slope of EWL-U in these areas should be parallel
to GWL because, while preferential pathway-derived water may not be as evaporated as
matrix-derived during recharge events, it will eventually be evaporated to the same
degree after entering the aquifer.
Liebenberg’s Pan-derived brine with chloride concentrations in excess of 100000mg/L
is further concentrated in evaporation ponds that have been constructed on site as part of
a commercial salt-extraction enterprise operated by a local farmer.
The pan itself is the lowest topographical feature in the landscape. Land use varies
with soil type, topography, and access to irrigation water, with grazing and dairy farming
predominant to the north and west of the pan in the steeper dolerite hills that occur there,
and irrigated cropland located to the south and east on deeper soiled, gently sloping

2.3.2 Calculating recharge using MAE

The orientation of the EWL determined from brine samples was determined to be δ2H=
3.65 δ18O+−4.71 (refer to Figure 1). Another characteristic of Petrusburg data of interest
is that evaporation-induced enrichment has not been excessive as would be expected in
this type of environment, with all groundwater samples having a δ18O concentration
3.3‰ or less. This suggests that brine has mixed with isotopically depleted water from
another source, the most likely being groundwater from upslope areas, a finding
A new method for the estimation of episodic recharge 95

supported by the occurrence of freshwater springs at various locations around the

perimeter of the pan, and the observed decrease in brine concentrations in production
bores over time.
PPflow estimated using the MAE Method is between 33 and 25% assuming an EWL-U
slope of 3.65.δ18O and 2.5.δ18O, respectively (refer to Figure 2). However, given the
potential for brine/ fresh groundwater mixing, the lower figure would be more acceptable
in this instance.
Further insight into site recharge processes can be obtained when variations observed
in recharge threshold estimates obtained using the cumulative rainfall departure method
(CRD) and MAE techniques are considered. On the basis of 98 years of rainfall data for
Petrusburg, the average

Figure 1. Stable isotope characteristics

of groundwater samples taken in the
vicinity of Liebenberg’s Pan,
Petrusburg. “GW”, “PW”, and “Ave”
denote groundwater samples taken
from boreholes surrounding the pan, in
the pan, and the background isotopic
average, respectively.
Water resources of arid areas 96

Figure 2. Line characteristics used to

determine PPflow at Liebenberg’s Pan.
monthly rainfall is 35.7mm; this value also representing the long-term recharge threshold
for an aquifer in equilibrium if seasonal conditions are ignored. In theory therefore, there
would be no change in water levels if 35.7mm of rain fell at the site every month. Under
field conditions however, this does not occur; prolonged periods of below average
rainfall are evident throughout the Petrusburg dataset. Thus, in order to restore
equilibrium conditions such that the average recharge threshold again decreases to
35.7mm/month, a given catchment must receive above-average rainfall. This observation
is significant because it indicates that, for a given aquifer in a semi-arid and arid area,
multiple recharge thresholds will be represented in site water level data.
Multiple recharge thresholds that are likely to be of importance include those
necessary to induce recharge via:
1. Preferential pathways after a period of below-average rainfall;
2. The matrix after a period of below-average rainfall;
3. Preferential pathways once aquifer equilibrium has been restored;
4. The matrix once aquifer equilibrium has been restored.
Each of these recharge thresholds can be approximated using available site stable isotope
data by applying the mass balance equation:

Where, RT=Average recharge threshold expressed as an equivalent rainfall depth (mm);

RTlow=Average recharge threshold to be exceeded if recharge via preferential pathways is
to occur (mm); RThigh=Average recharge threshold to be exceeded if recharge via the
matrix is to occur (mm) and δ18ORT-low=Average δ18O concentration of preferential
pathway-derived recharge water (‰); δ18Orw-high=Average δ18O concentration of matrix-
derived recharge water (‰); and, X=Preferential pathway to matrix proportioning factor.
The average thresholds to be exceeded before recharge occurs via the matrix, and
preferential pathways. Note that these values represent long-term averages, and not the
upper and lower limits of recharge thresholds. These limit thresholds can be calculated,
A new method for the estimation of episodic recharge 97

however, by considering CRD and long-term average values together. For example, the
CRD Method indicates that, for an aquifer under equilibrium conditions, the recharge
threshold is approximately 35mm/month. Since, on average, the recharge threshold
cannot be lower than this amount, it must represent the average lower recharge threshold.
Thus, the respective average lower recharge thresholds can be calculated once the
isotopic composition of rainfall for an equivalent depth of 35mm has been estimated from
amount effect data.
Once the lower and average long-term thresholds for both preferential pathway (RTlow-
pp and RTave-pp) and matrix-medium recharge (RTlow-uzm and RTave-uzm), the upper recharge
thresholds RThigh-pp and RThigh-uzm can also be calculated, i.e.

Only 25% of recharge at Petrusburg occurs via preferential pathways. On average,

recharge occurs via these pathways in more than 50% of all rainfall events
(RTave−pp=56.4%). Therefore in episodic recharge environments, resource managers must
ensure that allocated water can be used for the entire period between major recharge
events, which where recharge via the matrix predominates, can be significant. Indeed, in
many instances it may be more realistic to base groundwater allocations on the proportion
of bypass flow-derived recharge entering site aquifers initially, the allocations increasing
once aquifer storage, recharge threshold, and recharge event return period characteristics
are better understood.


Four recharge thresholds can be identified using the MAE Method; the low and high
recharge thresholds that must be exceeded before recharge occurs via preferential
pathways or the matrix, respectively. These represent threshold limits, the low value only
of importance following successive months of wet weather, the high value representing
the rainfall that must be received to restore an aquifer system to equilibrium after
prolonged dry spells. Once these thresholds are known, the recharge history of a site can
be modelled using available rainfall data by adapting the CRD Method. An important
finding of modelling undertaken during this investigation is that in those semi-arid to arid
areas where most recharge water enters, the aquifer via the matrix, the period of time that
elapses between successive rainfall events that exceed the matrix recharge threshold often
extends to scores of years. This has significant resource management implications for
much of the region, as it indicates that the current approach of basing allocations on
average recharge estimates is only justified if sufficient groundwater is available for use
over the entire period between recharge events.
The MAE Method was found to be sensitive to the recharge history of the site, the
returned recharge estimate significantly higher when calculated immediately after
recharge via the matrix had occurred. This is not to say that these estimates were
incorrect (indeed they were representative of site recharge processes at the time of
sampling), but that rainfall in the preceding months should be considered prior to
sampling. In general however, sampling should be undertaken near the end of the dry
season, which in the summer-dominant rainfall areas of Southern Africa is between
Water resources of arid areas 98

September and November (allowing for a 30 to 60 days lag time between rainfall and
subsequent recharge).


Alison, G.B., Barnes, C.J., Hughes, M.W. & Leaney, F.W.J. 1984. Effect of climate and vegetation
on oxygen-18 and deuterium profiles in soils. Isotope Hydrology 1983. IAEA Symposium 270,
September 1983, Vienna.
Prioritisation of the impacts of pollutants on
groundwater flow systems in South Africa
I.Dennis, B.Usher & J.Pretorius
Institute for Groundwater Studies, University of the Free State,
Bloemfontein, South Africa
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: Groundwater pollution can occur, as a result of various

activities of man. With increased human settlement and economic
development, a range of undesirable waste products are produced which
can end up in the environment. If these waste products are not well
handled, they can cause pollution of groundwater. The threat caused by
undesirable substances on groundwater is recognized in South Africa and
measures have been put in place through legislation to protect
groundwater from pollution. Although groundwater pollution incidences
have been reported countrywide, we do not have an indication of the
extent of the problem. The results of the investigation discussed in this
paper are therefore geared towards filling the gap in the understanding of
groundwater pollution in South Africa’s urban environments. By doing so
the principal pollutants can be identified and based on their risk
prioritised. This will facilitate better management of groundwater quality
through the country.


Groundwater pollution can occur, as a result of various activities of man. With increased
human settlement and economic development, a range of undesirable waste products are
produced which can end up in the environment. According to the National Water Act
(Act No. 36, 1998), pollution is defined as the direct or indirect alteration of the
physical, chemical or biological properties of a water resource so as to make it—
1. Less fit for any beneficial purpose for which it may reasonably be expected to be used;
2. Harmful or potentially harmful—
● to the welfare, health or safety of human beings;
Water resources of arid areas 100

● to any aquatic or non-aquatic organisms;

● to the resource quality; or
● to property.
The main aim of the investigation discussed in this can therefore be summarized as the
prioritization of the type of pollutants and their associated sources which present a threat
to groundwater, the environment and health in South Africa’s urban catchments.


2.1 Factors taken into account

The methodology followed evaluated the sources and contaminants separately. The
results of the evaluation were then combined to determine a final risk based prioritization.

2.1.1 Sources
Sources, in this context, refer to the origin of the substances (inorganic species, organic
compounds or microbial agents) that are causing, or may potentially cause, the pollution.
The term
Table 1. Systems for classification of groundwater
contamination sources.
Classification Examples
system based on
Way of release Discharge sources, transport
Loading history Spill or continuous
Location Above ground surface, below
Degree of Point (or line) and non-point
localization sources
Origin Industrial sources, mining
Likelihood of For example petrol service
occurrence stations found more often
than chemical manufacturing

is used very broadly over a range of scales and may describe physical entities (e.g. a
pond, a tank, a pipeline); human activities (e.g. mining, irrigation, wastewater treatment);
the site at which potential pollutants are stored, used or disposed (e.g. wastewater
treatment works, cemeteries, fuel filling stations) or even large scale phenomena (e.g.
atmospheric deposition).
Prioritisation of the impacts of pollutants on groundwater flow systems in South Africa 101

Source of pollutant plays a large role in whether the pollutant will reach the
groundwater table and if it does the rate at which the pollution will enter the groundwater
system. There are also several existing methods for classifying the sources of
groundwater pollution. A simplified classification based on that of Nonner (2002) was
used to classify South African sources (see Table 1).

2.1.2 Pollutants
Pollution refers to levels of hazardous substances in the environment over and above
what would ordinarily be found in the absence of local activities. Groundwater pollution
therefore refers to the occurrence of substances (inorganic species, organic compounds or
microbial agents) in concentrations above those that would naturally be found in an
aquifer. The substances themselves, both chemical and microbial, are called pollutants.
There are various ways in which to group or classify groundwater pollutants. Each of
these has major classes which can then be broken down into smaller categories. The
choice of system and level of detail of the classification is dictated by the purpose of the
classification for the sake of this investigation pollutants were classified according to:
● Fate in the environment
– Degradable pollutants, which can be rendered harmless by natural processes and
need therefore cause no permanent harm if adequately dispersed or treated; and
– Persistent pollutants, which eventually accumulate in the environment and may be
concentrated in food chains.
– Pollutants may also be divided by their behaviour in water into:
(a) Soluble pollutants, which includes most inorganic species and some organics.
(b) Insoluble substances, which are small enough to be carried through the aquifer
matrix, including microbial pollutants and colloidal inorganic pollutants.
(c) Non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs), which are organic compounds that do
not dissolve readily in water and remain as a separate liquid phase. These are
further subdivided into Light Non Aqueous Phase Liquids (LNAPLs) and
Dense Non Aqueous Phase Liquids (DNAPLs).
● Human health impacts
– Non-harmful substances, which have no observed effects on human health.
– Toxic substances, which cause various effects on the body from short-term exposure
or long term accumulation, ranging in severity depending on the dose e.g. nausea,
rashes, kidney failure or neurotoxic effects.
– Carcinogenic substances, which are known to cause cancer.
– Pathogenic substances, which are known to cause diseases in humans.
● Other aspects that are taken into account:
– Duration of pollution—if the pollution results from a single (once-off) spill, the
impact will probably be smaller than that resulting from continuous pollution.
– The vulnerability of the aquifer represents the intrinsic characteristics that determine
the sensitivity of an aquifer to the adverse effects resulting from the imposed
Water resources of arid areas 102

pollutant (Lynch et al., 1994). Factors taken into account include depth to
groundwater, recharge, aquifer media, soil media, topography and impact of the
vadose zone.

2.2 The risk-based methodology

Rating occurs when contaminant sources are given a quantitative or qualitative measure
of the potential hazard they pose to groundwater. Prioritisation methods focus on aspects
such as contaminant loading, mobility, persistence and hazardousness while risk
assessment develops these further into potential human health impacts. A risk analysis
estimates the probability and consequences of a contaminant event and usually considers
both the properties of the contamination source and the hydrogeological environment.
Conventional set theory (Boolean) states that an element is either a member of a set or
not. Fuzzy logic is an extension of conventional set theory enabling an element to belong
to a set to a degree. The degree of membership is a function that defines the membership
of an element to a set according to the value of the element. Membership is expressed as
a value between 0 and 1. Zero implies 0% membership and 1 implies 100% membership.
Linear membership functions are seldom used in practice in contradiction to sinusoidal
functions which are very popular. In most cases risk analysis will involve more than one
input to be considered in the analysis. Fuzzy logic makes it possible to generate a set of
decision rules according to the number of inputs and these rules must then be evaluated
by an expert in the field of study. The number of rules generated is given by the
following equation is:

where n represents the number of rules generated.

The rules consist of all possible binary combinations of the respective inputs with a
weight assigned to each rule representing the risk. The risk is then calculated using the
following formula:

where n=number of rules, DOM=degree of membership and Wn=weight of rule n.

2.3 A tiered approach

Based on the amount of data available a tiered approach is followed when considering
risk assessments. The first tier (LEVEL 0) is a rapid assessment of sources in which
minimal data are required and it produces low confidence results. This assessment should
be completed within a few minutes and is based on a rating system. LEVEL 1 is the
second tier which is a rapid assessment of contaminants on a local scale. It is intended to
Prioritisation of the impacts of pollutants on groundwater flow systems in South Africa 103

give the assessor a guideline of the risks. The assessment should take a couple of hours to
complete. The next tier (LEVEL 2) is an intermediate assessment. The first step in the
intermediate assessment is to collect all relevant data. Data requirements include aquifer
and contaminant parameters, as well as health information. General information will be
obtained from databases, but it is sometimes necessary to have site-specific data. The
confidence attached to this assessment should be medium to high. Both the second and
third tiers include risk assessments based on a fuzzy logic methodology. Figure 1 is a
schematic representation of the tiers and the function performed on each level of

Figure 1. Tiered approach to South

African prioritization methodology.
In order to protect boreholes wellhead protection areas (WHPAs) need to be
delineated. A WHPA can be defined as the surface and subsurface area surrounding a
Water resources of arid areas 104

borehole or wellfield, through which contaminants are reasonably likely to move and
reach such a borehole or well field.
In many cases it is difficult to protect the whole area, therefore various zones are
established within the area.



3.1 The wastewater treatment works within the City of Cape Town
prioritization of sources and contaminants on a regional scale
The City of Cape Town (CCT) is located in the Western Cape Province on the south-
eastern corner of South Africa. A major portion of the CCT consists of the area known as
the Cape Flats, which has an elevation of between 20 and 45m above sea level. CCT has
a mean annual rainfall of 515mm/annum and an average temperature of 16.7°C. It is a
winter rainfall area. The current population of the CCT is estimated at 3.2 million with
the highest population density occurring on
Table 2. Source prioritization for CCT (incomplete
Source prioritisation (from highest to lowest
On-site sanitation
Petrol service stations (underground storage
Stormwater/sewer systems
Agriculture (general and crop cultivation)
Feedlot/poultry farms
Wastewater treatment

Table 3. Contaminant prioritization for CCT.

Contaminant prioritisation (from highest to
lowest risk)
Ammonia & sulphates
Prioritisation of the impacts of pollutants on groundwater flow systems in South Africa 105

Table 4. Information used in site-specific risk

Parameter Assigned value
–Recharge 65mm/yr
–Soil media Sa-LmSa
–Aquifer media Intergranular
–Vadose zone Beach sand
–Groundwater depth 8m
–Topography 1%
Duration Continuous
Contaminant* Nitrate
Level of management Low
*Once the contaminant is entered the software
automatically pulls in the health risk information
and physio-chemical behaviour from a database.

the Cape Flats and there are approximately 90000 consumers on informal sites. There are
21 wastewater treatment plants within the CCT. According to TIER 0 the wastewater
treatment works are rated as the 7th highest pollutant source within the CCT. Due to the
length of the complete list only the 7 highest potential polluters have been documented in
Table 2.
Typical contaminants found at wastewater treatment works include ammonium,
nitrate, potassium, phosphate, chloride, sulphate and faecal pathogens. Micro-organisms
were not included in the investigations and will therefore not be included in the
prioritization list. The prioritization of the above-mentioned chemicals is listed in Table

3.2 The Cape Flats wastewater treatment works risk assessment

The wastewater treatment works has unlined sewage sludge drying ponds. The
wastewater treatment works are situated on an unconfined primary sand aquifer. The
information used to determine a site-specific risk is listed in Table 4. For the sake of
demonstration only the risks for nitrates will be determined in this paper.
The results of the assessment are summarized in Table 5.
Table 5. Results of risk assessment.
Assessment Risk (%)*
Source 58
Vulnerability 52
Health 99
Physio-chemical 75
Total 68
* Higher the risk higher the negative impacts.
Water resources of arid areas 106

Table 6. Data used to calculate protection zones.

Parameter Assigned value
Abstraction rate 10l/s
Transmissivity 100m2/d
Effective porosity 0.1
Hydraulic gradient 0.01
Saturated thickness 20m

Table 7. Calculated protection zone.

Definition Radius
Zone 1: Highly protected area around the
borehole. Its purpose is to protect the
borehole from the direct introduction of
pollutants into the borehole and its
immediate area from spills, surface
runoff, or leakage from storage facilities
or containers. Potential pollutant sources
in Zone 1 should be strictly monitored. 25
Zone 2: Is established to protect a
borehole from contact with pathogenic
micro-organisms which can emanate
from a source located close to the
borehole, as well as to provide
emergency response time to begin active
cleanup and/or implementation of
contingency plans should a chemical
contaminant be introduced into the
aquifer near the borehole. 470
Zone 3: Is designed to protect the
borehole from chemical contaminants
that may migrate to the borehole; it
typically includes a major portion of the
recharge area or the capture zone. 750

The results of the risk assessment for nitrates indicate there is a 68% chance that there are
going to be negative impacts on the environment (including human health) as a result of
groundwater becoming polluted with nitrates as a result of the wastewater treatment

3.3 Protection of boreholes

The distance between a pollution source and a protected borehole can be calculated to
ensure the borehole is not polluted. The zone of protection can then be delineated around
the borehole. These wellhead protection zones can also be used to plan new boreholes. If
all pollution sources are known then the ‘safe’ distance from a source can be calculated.
Prioritisation of the impacts of pollutants on groundwater flow systems in South Africa 107

Wellhead protection zones were calculated for boreholes in the Cape Flats. Table 6
contains the information needed for the calculations and Table 7 defines the protection
zones and gives the radius of protection zones.


Pollution of South Africa’s urban aquifers presents a threat to the sustainability of this
water resource. Man’s activities, use of chemicals and generation of wastes tend to
concentrate potential sources of pollution in the urban areas. The threat caused by
undesirable substances is recognized in this country, but the understanding of the extent
of the problem in South Africa’s urban catchments is poor.
This paper therefore briefly outlined a risk-based methodology to prioritise and
determine the impacts of pollutant sources and pollutants. The methodology takes the
following into account:
● Characteristics of pollutant sources
● Characteristics of pollutants
● Human health impacts of pollutants
● Vulnerability of South African aquifers
● Duration of pollution
The methodology was then applied to determine:
● National list of priority chemicals and sources
● Regional list of priority chemicals and sources for the large South African urban areas
● Local risk assessments to determine the risks of certain pollutants
● Delineation of protection zones
The results are intended to help groundwater practitioners and water authorities in
assessing the likely transport, fate an impact of pollutants in the subsurface in an urban
It is recommended that the following aspects receive more attention in future research
● Based on the paucity of groundwater-related microbial data encountered in this project,
the inclusion of these aspects in urban groundwater management must be regarded as a
● Petroleum products, industrial thinners and mineral oils and other non-aqueous phase
liquids represent a category of potential pollutants that have been largely overlooked
by regulatory agencies and legislature, despite their harmful effects at small
● A general lack of data on groundwater pollution from pesticides is evident. This is due
to: (i) surface waters are the main source of water supply in the country; (ii) cost and
difficulty to measure organic contaminants; (iii) private companies are often sensitive
to make public data related to pollution problems. Therefore there is a need to
investigate pesticides in groundwater.
Water resources of arid areas 108


Lynch, S.D., Reynders, A.G. & Schulze, R.E. 1994. Preparing input data for a national-scale
groundwater vulnerability map of Southern Africa. Water SA, 20(3):239–246.
National Environmental Management Act. Act 107 of 1998, Pretoria, South Africa.
National Water Act. Act 36 of 1998, Pretoria, South Africa.
Nonner, J.C. 2002. Chapter 3: Sources of groundwater contamination. In: A. Zaporozec (ed.)
Groundwater contamination inventory: A Methodological Guide.UNESCO, IHP-VI, Series on
Groundwater No. 2. 23–38.
Understanding problems of low recharge and
low yield in boreholes: an example from
A.J.E.Cobbing & J.Davies
British Geological Survey, Wallingford, Oxon, UK
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: The Afram Plains region of Ghana experiences acute

seasonal water shortages during the four to five month long dry season.
The long-term development of the limited groundwater resources of the
region has proved to be difficult as the hydrogeology is poorly
understood. Failure of boreholes is common, and there is little or no
monitoring of groundwater levels. A two-year study led by the British
Geological Survey, including the monitoring of borehole-drilling
programmes, has led to a better understanding of the groundwater
resources in the area and has provided guidelines for data collection.


The Afram Plains area is located in the Eastern Region of Ghana, in the Volta River basin
between latitude 6°30′ and 7°30′N and longitude 1°00′W and 0°15′E (Figure 1). The area
is about 4285km2 in extent, and lies between lake water level at 76m and 300m above
mean sea level. The topography is subdued, with the main feature being a low northeast
to southwest trending ridge 200–300m high. The Afram Plains supports savannah
vegetation that is being progressively cleared for agricultural use. Coarse tussock-grass
with a few stunted trees covers the low-lying lakeside plain and dense bush with large
trees covers the better-drained ridge area. Since initial settlement in 1930, the rural
population of the Afram Plains has increased rapidly following the construction of the
Akosombo Dam in the 1960s. Between 1970 and 1984 census data show a 250% increase
in the farming population, attracted by fertile soils and improving infrastructure. There
are now more than 140 villages on the Afram Plains. Access to the area is poor, with the
principal route by ferry across Lake Volta. The main town is Donkorkrom, which has a
hospital, secondary school and post office.
Water resources of arid areas 110

Figure 1. Map of Ghana showing the

Afram Plains study area.


Before construction of the Akosombo Dam, village water supplies were obtained from
the perennial Afram and Volta Rivers, seasonal flows and pools along ephemeral
tributary streams and shallow water-filled dugouts. Rainfall on the Afram Plains is
seasonal, with an average of about 1200mm/year falling almost entirely between April
and October. Surface drainage is mainly ephemeral, storm water draining by sheet flow
as short-lived floods. The seasonal rainfall and limited surface water storage result in
acute water shortages during the November to March dry season. Reliance on
unprotected pools and dugouts for water supply results in water-washed and diarrhoeal
disease, and much time and effort in water collection. Guinea worm infections
occasionally occur in the Afram Plains.

2.1 Regional geology

The Afram Plains are located at the southern end of the large (>100,000km2) Voltaian
Sedimentary Basin formed during the Precambrian to early Palaeozoic Pan-African
Orogeny of 730–550Ma. (Black and Liegeois, 1993, and Shackleton, 1976). The Voltaian
Basin is interpreted as a foreland basin; with sediments of marine and terrestrial origin
filling a flexural depression at the margin of the West African Craton (Ako and Wellman,
1985). Kesse (1988) and Anani (1999) describe the Voltaian basin sediments as fairly flat
bedded sandstones, shales, pebble beds, mudstones, limestones and siltstones deposited
unconformably upon older Precambrian rocks. The molasse type sediment pile, that is
estimated to be more than 4km thick, resulted from erosion of mountain chain fold belts
that occurred along the present Ghana-Togo border to the east. The Voltaian Formation
Understanding problems of low recharge and low yield in boreholes 111

Obosum Beds that underlie much of the southern Afram Plains have yet to be studied in
detail. Present geological knowledge has been derived from rapid reconnaissance
surveys, several deep exploration boreholes and a number of shallow groundwater

2.2 Previous groundwater development

Development of the groundwater resources of the Voltaian sediments of the area began in
1963–65 when the Geological Survey of Ghana and the Volta River Authority (VRA)
drilled a series of test and production boreholes in response to populations displaced by
the rising lake waters. During the late 1960s and early 1970s the Catholic Church funded
the construction of 28 hand-dug wells to supply small villages. These were mainly
located in valley sites to replace unprotected shallow dugout sources. Additional
boreholes were installed by the VRA at Donkorkrom and Kaklakoklope in 1983/84.
UNICEF provided a borehole for the secondary school at Donkorkrom in 1983. During
1984, Prakla Seismos drilled 47 village boreholes for the German NGO Misereor. Of
these, 19 boreholes were dry and 17 had yields greater than 301min−1. Although Lake
Volta forms the eastern boundary of the area, the underlying low permeability rocks are
the main source of water especially in the more remote western area. During the 1990s,
more than 300 boreholes were drilled to meet the water supply needs of the expanding
Table 1. Summary of borehole drilling on the
Afram Plains, 1963 to 2001.
Organisation Period No. Wet Dry
of Bhs Bhs
Volta River 1963– 10 6 4
Authority 1965
Prakla Seismos for 1984 47 28 19
World Vision 1990– 152 92 60
International 1995
World Vision 1999– 66 ? ?
International 2000
WaterAid/Afram 1996– 101 67 34
Plains Dev. Org. 2001
DANIDA 2001 5 5 0
Totals 381 198 117

Many of the boreholes drilled were dry whilst other nominally successful boreholes
showed a progressive decline in yield to fail after two to three years of use, especially in
the west of the area. Due to their short period of land tenure, communities have yet to
develop coping strategies to manage the limited water available during dry periods.
Water resources of arid areas 112

Populations attracted to the area by the groundwater supply have no effective alternative
water source if borehole yields fail after several years of use.


The British Geological Survey (BGS) first worked on the hydrogeology of the Afram
Plains in 1985–86, in a project examining shallow wells and boreholes in the
Donkorkrom area (Buckley, 1986). Beginning with a visit to the area in February 2000,
the BGS collaborated with the Afram Plains Development Organisation (APDO),
WaterAid, DANIDA, Legon University (Accra) and other partners in a two-year project
specifically aimed at investigating the hydrogeological problems of the area. The BGS
work was funded by the British Department for International Development (DfID). The
project was timed to coincide with the drilling of 36 village water supply boreholes on
the Afram Plains, funded by WaterAid working with the APDO. In addition, DANIDA
funded the drilling of a further 5 deep (>100m) exploration boreholes, the first four of
which were sited and geologically logged by BGS hydrogeologists. Studies carried out by
the BGS in collaboration with local partners included:
● A reconnaissance geological and hydrogeological survey, and the creation of a GIS
base map of the area.
● The geophysical survey of four of the five deep exploration borehole sites using
frequency domain electromagnetic induction (EM34).
● The geological logging of rock chip samples produced during drilling, and the
recording of penetration rates and drill stem yields.
● The test pumping of boreholes, including the demonstration of bailer tests and low
yield “whale” pumps.
● The sampling of groundwaters for hydrochemical analysis of major and minor ions,
and isotopes.
● The geophysical logging of the deep exploration boreholes was carried out by


Electrical resistivity and EM geophysical exploration surveys have been undertaken in

the Afram Plains during other development projects. As in other hydrogeologically
“difficult” areas in Africa, these methods have fallen out of favour in the Afram Plains,
being seen as relatively expensive and time consuming for little benefit. This is due to a
combination of:
● the mode of groundwater occurrence in the area, such as deep fractures, often thick
weathered zones, that cannot be defined using geophysical surveys,
● the lack of experienced personnel capable of interpreting geophysical results for
sedimentary environments.
Understanding problems of low recharge and low yield in boreholes 113

BGS undertook 11km of EM34 surveys at the first four exploration borehole sites, using
10m, 20m and 40m inter-coil separations. Readings were made in both vertical and
horizontal orientations. The survey results were correlated with the geological logs from
the exploration boreholes. Geophysicists from the University of Ghana, Legon, undertook
max-min EM and electrical resistivity geophysical traverses along the main road in the
eastern Afram Plains (Banoeng-Yakubo and Armah, 2001). The result of these studies
demonstrate that geophysical surveys can be used in the eastern Afram Plains to
differentiate between near surface shale, siltstone, sandstone and conglomerate bands, as
well as delineate possible fault zones. In the west of the area, re-cemented sandstones up
to 60m thick form a low permeability homogeneous layer below an ancient weathered
surface. Thin water bearing fracture or weathered zones beneath this layer cannot be
detected using EM34 or VES equipment.


Useful geological and hydrogeological data that can be gathered during the drilling of a
borehole includes:
● Geological data
● Penetration rate data
● Flow data
● Hydrogeological data
Rock chip samples produced during drilling were collected at 1m intervals. Weathered
zones (colour changes) and fracture zones (calcite and quartz mineralisation) enabled
identification of water bearing zones. The chip samples were placed in a marked half pipe
and photographed to produce pseudo-core logs. This procedure allowed zones of water
inflow to be correlated with changes in lithology, and deductions regarding the nature of
groundwater occurrence to be made. The rate of drill penetration and flow rate,
determined at water strike zones and at the end of each drilling rod can be correlated with
changes in lithology and weathered zones. Photo logs can show the nature of the
weathered zones. The results obtained from exploration borehole showed that the rock
types present are generally tight and fine-grained, with water being produced from
horizontal weathered zones and along lithological boundaries rather than near-vertical
fractures. In the western half of the area, the presence of a thick duricrust weathered zone,
stopping recharge to underlying aquifer systems, was recognised.


A suite of geophysical logs was obtained from six boreholes in the study area, i.e. the five
deep exploration boreholes together with a water supply borehole located at the APDO
office in Tease. The calliper logs show the fracture zones, which can be correlated with
the drillers report and the chip sample logs. The fracture zones are also indicated by
lower resistivity measurements.
Water resources of arid areas 114

Pumped fluid logging of the boreholes clearly shows that fluid inflows occur at
discrete fractured or weathered horizons, and that most of the water obtained from the
boreholes is derived from these features. The discontinuous nature of the fracture systems
that supply water is illustrated by drilling at the APDO office in Tease: in 2000, a 70m
deep borehole (“hole no. 28”) was drilled in an attempt to provide a water supply for the
office. This borehole proved to be dry and was backfilled. In 2001 a further two
boreholes were drilled within 20m of this hole, one to 54m and a deep exploration
borehole to 152.8m. Both of these boreholes yielded water.


Pumping test data in fractured aquifers is more difficult to interpret compared with
intergranular systems. There is often a distinct change between early and late time
drawdown rates, due to the effect of fracture dewatering. This can allow erroneous
interpretations to be made, particularly if pumping tests are carried out over only short
periods of time. Pumping test interpretation requires specific training, and pumping tests
have sometimes been done on the Afram Plains merely as required by the contract,
without the pumping test information being used to inform the borehole completion. BGS
developed a simple bail test, which allows field personnel on the Afram Plains to decide
in a general way whether or not to equip a borehole, without going through the lengthier
and more complex process of a pumping test (Davies and Cobbing, 2002). There are
cases however where the bail test is inconclusive and the borehole requires a pumping
test. Bail tests are
Understanding problems of low recharge and low yield in boreholes 115

Figure 2. Geophysical logs of deep

exploration boreholes at Gazeri Camp
(left) and Samanhyia, near Tease.
Fractured and weathered zones can be
seen on the calliper and induction
resistivity logs, and the pumped
flowmeter logs show that most flow
into the boreholes is derived from
these horizons.
recommended as a rapid and simple field procedure to be used by staff not trained in
pumping test interpretation to decide whether or not to equip a borehole with a pump.
Simple pumping tests give indications of the productiveness of the systems but the results
obtained are from “fractured” aquifer systems with high secondary permeability zones
are difficult to reconcile. Such systems can initially give high yields but when they are
dewatered during extended periods of over-pumping these systems can suddenly fail.


Water samples for hydrochemical analysis were obtained from 29 boreholes and wells
during the 2001 visit. Samples were taken from sources after several minutes of pumping
where possible. Measurements of pH, specific electrical conductance (SEC), temperature
and bicarbonate were taken at each site. Filtered acidified and non-acidified samples were
obtained from each source for laboratory analysis. A GPS was used to locate the areal co-
Water resources of arid areas 116

ordinates of each sample site. Stable isotope analysis (δ2H and δ18O) was carried out on
twelve samples by mass spectrometry. The results of these determinations plot close to
the world meteoric water line. There is some evidence for the possible mixing of lake-
derived waters with aquifer waters in some areas. The major and minor ion analyses
show that most determinants are within World Health Organisation (WHO) Guide
Values, with the exceptions of boron and sodium that are a problem in the unfractured
shale and sandstone area. Nitrate and ammonium levels in a few boreholes were evidence
for anthropogenic pollution, which can occur because water is able to move relatively
rapidly through fractures. The fluoride concentration in one sample exceeded WHO
Guide Values.


A five-fold hydrogeological division of the rocks of the Afram Plains can be produced,
based on the conclusions of Bannerman (1990) and Acheampong (1996), and taking the
current study into

Figure 3. Five hydrogeological

divisions on the Afram Plains.
account (Figure 3). The hydrogeology of each of these units is summarised in Table 2.
1. Massive conglomerate and sandstone.
2. Fractured shale and grey sandstone.
3. Quartzitic sandstone and conglomerate.
Understanding problems of low recharge and low yield in boreholes 117

4. Feldspathic sandstone, arkose, siltstone and mudstone.

5. Unfractured shale and sandstone.


In regions of seasonal or low rainfall with ephemeral drainage patterns rural settlements
may be totally dependent upon groundwater supply during the dry part of the year. Such
is the present and future shortage of land in many areas that communities once settled in
water poor areas are difficult to move. Therefore understanding of groundwater resources
is a vital factor for long-term development plans of such marginal areas. Groundwater
development in the Afram Plains has followed a pattern that is typical of areas underlain
by low permeability rocks in sub-Saharan Africa. Reconnaissance level geological and
hydrogeological surveys were first undertaken with limited drilling more than thirty years
ago. Some borehole drilling by the VRA was undertaken at the time of population
resettlement following the building of the Akosombo Dam and consequent flooding in
the 1960s, but these boreholes have fallen into disuse following lack of maintenance.
NGO-led water supply programmes, undertaken by World Vision International, a
Catholic Church Group and WaterAid, funded the drilling of some 370 boreholes on the
Afram Plains during 1984–2001. During these programmes the economic design and
construction of boreholes, and borehole drilling “success rates” were emphasised. A
borehole was judged a success if “wet” at the completion of drilling. The hand pump
equipped boreholes were expected to supply 250 people with at least 20 litres per capita
of water per day. In the Afram Plains the acceptable yield minimum is about 121min−1,
due to the low borehole yields obtained. The high borehole “failure rate” (40%) has led to
further study of the distribution of fracture and near surface weathered zones, these being
perceived as the best groundwater bearing targets. Although many boreholes have been
drilled, the geology of the area, groundwater occurrence, and the nature of the water
resource remain poorly understood. This problem is exacerbated by the failure of
apparently successful boreholes after 3–4 years of use.
Table 2. Summary of the hydrogeology of the five
hydrogeological units.
Description Ground Ground Ground Field Technology Comments
of rock/ water water water techniques
hydrogeology targets potential quality
Obosum Massive Weathered ** Good. Weathered Boreholes Good
Beds— conglomerate zones and Presence conglomerate 60–100m recharge,
Upper and sandstone fracture of NO3- gravel often best sites
Voltaian zones. N and visible at located in
System Success rate NH4 surface: valleys.
~66% wet indicates EM34—used Boreholes
38%≥30l/min pollution to locate should be
in fractures and drilled to
heavily sandstones/ below
used conglomerate present day
Water resources of arid areas 118

boreholes near surface. lake level.

in village VES— May be
centre. indicates able to
depth of induce flow
weathering from the
lake along
pollution in
Quartzitic Weathered ** Good. Quartzitic Boreholes Moderate
sandstone and zones and sands often 100–150m recharge,
conglomerate fracture visible at best sites
zones. surface. located in
Success rate EM34—used valleys.
~67% wet to locate Boreholes
40%≥30l/min fractures and should be
sandstones/ drilled to
conglomerate below
near surface. present day
VES— lake level.
indicates May be
depth of able to
weathering induce flow
from the
lake along
pollution in
Feldspathic Weathered */** Good. Weathered Boreholes Very poor
sandstone, zones and purple brown 100–150m recharge
arkose, fracture sandstone potential
siltstone and zones. platform due to
mudstone Success rate surface recemented
~66% wet beneath thin layer down
39%≥30l/min ferrecrete. to ~60m.
Difficult to Deep holes
identify may
fractures intercept
with EM34, weathered
sandstones zones,
have been Remoteness
recemented precludes
to 60 m. direct
VES—may recharge
indicate from lake
Understanding problems of low recharge and low yield in boreholes 119

depth of along
weathering fractures,
Description Groundwater Groundwater Groundwater Field Technology Comments
of rock/ targets potential quality techniques
Unfractured Weathered * Poor to saline. Low lying Boreholes— Poor to
shale and grey zones and low altitude 50–100m moderate
sandstone fracture lake side recharge to
zones. areas. tight
Success rate EM34— formation
~50% wet moderate to except where
14%≥30l/min high conglomeratic
conductivities, bands area
used to locate present.
fracture zones Boreholes
VES— should be
indicates drilled to
depth of below present
weathering day lake
Fractured shale Weathered *? Poor to Low lying Boreholes— Unknown
and sandstone zones and saline? low altitude 50–100m
fracture lakeside areas.
zones. EM34—
Success rate moderate to
Unknown due high
to lack of data conductivities,
used to locate
fracture zones
depth of
KEY: Groundwater potential: *Low; **Moderate; ***High.
Note: Groundwater Potential is an overall function of groundwater storage, groundwater yield and
groundwater residence time (length of time groundwater remains in the unit, i.e. rate of groundwater
throughflow). It indicates both the available yields and the length of time these are available for: i.e.
high, moderate or low yields, available only during the wet season and immediately afterwards, or year-
round. See below for more detail. EM34 conductivity response: High>50mmhos/m; Moderate 20–
50mmhos/m; Low <20mmhos/m.
Yield: High >1l/s; Moderate ~0.5l/s; Low <0.2l/s.
Note: Where groundwater residence times are long, groundwater availability is likely to be less
vulnerable to variations in seasonal rainfall—e.g. one year of drought.
Where few data are available locally, the interpretations given here are preliminary, and should
be updated as new data are provided by continuing groundwater development work.
Water resources of arid areas 120



The main features of the aquifer model for the Afram Plains as a whole are as follows:
● Groundwater is thought to occur in discrete fracture systems or zones of weathering.
● The geological units have different hydrogeological characteristics but all are relatively
low yielding.
● In the west of the Afram Plains in particular, the aquifer units may not be adequately
recharged during successive wet seasons, leading to the progressive mining of
groundwaters that leads to the failure of boreholes with time. Old water is often
present in the fracture systems.
● In areas where recharge of surface water occurs, rapid movement through near surface
weathered zones and fracture systems can lead to rapid transport of contaminants into
boreholes below sanitary seal zones, as indicated by high ammonium and nitrate levels
discerned in the central village borehole water sources on the Afram Plains.
● Water bearing weathered zones may be too deep and discrete to be determined using
geophysical survey methods.
● Drilling deep boreholes to below the present day lake level may allow interception of
fracture and weathered systems that can potentially be recharged by lake water. This
process of recharge from the lake remains to be proven.
● The collection of accurate geological and hydrogeological data is vital for better
understanding of the aquifer systems present. The use of currently available data is
hindered by a lack of accurate site locations. The interaction of geological factors such
as lithology, diagenesis, recent weathering, ancient weathering, tectonism with ancient
and modern water level changes needs to be understood.


The water supply problems on the Afram Plains cannot be solved by borehole drilling
and groundwater development alone. The failure of boreholes after two or three years of
use is particularly serious since in that time communities come to rely on the groundwater
resource. Conjunctive use with rooftop rainwater catchment systems and small dams may
need to be considered as well as artificial recharge to aquifers. There is a need to
understand recharge mechanisms before borehole drilling commences. This project has
demonstrated the types of data that can be easily collected at little additional cost during
borehole drilling, and the uses to which such data can be put to the benefit of subsequent
water supply programmes. A regional summary of groundwater occurrence in this
“difficult” hydrogeological area has been built up, and presented in a format that can be
used in subsequent groundwater development. The general shift from centralised
groundwater development towards demand-driven, private organisation or NGO led work
in Africa has had some benefits in terms of sustainability, community involvement and
ownership issues, and the targeting of resources at the poorest communities. However,
the negative effect has been the non-collection, storage and sharing of basic groundwater
data, which leads to a lack of understanding in those areas where the groundwater
resources are limited or difficult to access. At present, data collection is frequently seen
Understanding problems of low recharge and low yield in boreholes 121

as an unaffordable “optional extra”, adding mainly difficulty and expense to a project

Such data as are collected often become difficult to access, since no effective central
repository for data is currently in operation. The project aimed to overcome this by
depositing the data collected in easily retrievable Word and Excel based packages with
the Afram Plains Development Organisation staff.


Acheampong, S.Y.1996. Geochemical evolution of the shallow groundwater system in the Southern
Voltaian Sedimentary Basin of Ghan. A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the
requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Hydrology/Hydrogeology, Univ. of
Nevada, Reno.
Acheampong, S.Y. & Hess, J.W. 1998. “Hydrogeologic and hydrochemical framework of the
shallow groundwater system in the southern Voltaian Sedimentary Basin”. Hydrogeology
Journal, 6:527–537.
Ako, J.A. & Wellman, P. 1985. The margin of the West African craton: the Voltaian Basin. Journal
of the Geological Society of London, 142:625–632.
Anani, C. 1999. Sandstone petrology and provenance of the Neoproterozoic Voltaian Group in the
southeastern Voltaian Basin, Ghana. Sedimentary Geology, 128:83–98.
Bannerman, R.R. 1990. Afram Plains borehole drilling programme, hydrogeological survey for
WaterAid Ghana.
Banoneng-Yakubo, B. & Armah, T. 2001. Hydrogeological and geophysical test investigations in
the Afram Plains, Ghana. Department of Geology, Univ. of Ghana, Legon, for DANIDA-
CWSA Project, Eastern Region, Ghana.
Black, R. & Liegeois, J.-P. 1993. “Cratons, mobile belts, alkaline rocks and continental lithospheric
mantle: the Pan-African testimony”. Journal of the Geological Society, London, 150:89–98.
Buckley, D.K. 1986. Report on advisory visit to WaterAid projects in Ghana. British Geological
Survey Technical Report.
Davies, J. & Cobbing J. 2002. An assessment of the hydrogeology of the Afram Plains, Eastern
Region, Ghana. British Geological Survey. Technical Report CR/02/137N.
Grant, N.K. 1967. Complete Late Precambrian to Early Palaeozoic orogenic cycle in Ghana, Togo
and Dahomey. Nature, 215:609–610.
Kesse, A.O. 1988. The Mineral and Rock Resources of Ghana. A A Balkhema.
Shackleton, R.M. 1976. Pan-African structures. Philosophic Transactions of the Royal Society,
London. 280: 491–497.
World Vision 1995. The Conrad N Hilton Foundation Funded World Vision Ghana Rural Water
Project, Hydrogeological Report, Second Phase.
Spatial variation of groundwater recharge in a
semi-arid environment—Serowe, Botswana
L.M.Magombedze & B.Frengstad
Geological Survey of Norway, Trondheim, Norway
International Institute of Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation,
Enschede, Netherlands
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: The estimation of groundwater recharge by conventional

direct methods of subtracting evapotranspiration (ET) from rainfall is
practically limited in semi-arid regions by the difficulty in determining ET
with sufficient accuracy for calculation of very low recharge fluxes in the
order of a few mm/yr. In the Serowe study area two alternative methods
are used to estimate spatial distribution of groundwater recharge. Based
on 127 point measurements of chloride concentration in groundwater, the
chloride mass balance method gave recharge rates ranging from 2mm/yr
to ~30mm/yr with a harmonic mean of 12mm/yr. In order to present
recharge spatially the data were interpolated by kriging of the logarithms
of the net recharge values. GIS map modelling technique was used to
integrate the influence of various recharge attributes in a single semi-
quantitative recharge potential map. The relative influence of factors such
as soil type, vegetation, lineament density and slope among others was
weighted and subsequently validated by site specific recharge rates. This
method can give a valuable first estimate of the recharge rate based on
surface properties identified from maps and remote sensing in areas where
detailed hydrogeological information is limited.


Serowe area, like the whole of Botswana, is characterised by a low rainfall pattern and
lack of surface water resources. People in this area depend mainly on groundwater.
Recently, the population of Serowe has increased tremendously, making it the largest
village in the country, thus widening the gap between demand and availability of water.
In this regards, it is important for sustainability and management purposes to determine
the renewable groundwater resources and how net recharge varies in space and time. This
Spatial variation of groundwater recharge 123

study focuses on estimation of net recharge rates using the chloride mass balance method
and the assesment of spatial variability of both net recharge and potential recharge.
Serowe study area is situated in the Central District of Botswana, at the eastern fringe
of the Kalahari Basin and is about 275km northeast of the capital, Gaborone (Fig. 1). It is
characterized by semi-arid climate with cool dry winters (May to September) and hot
moist summers (October to April). It receives an average annual rainfall of 447mm/year.
The most prominent feature in the area is the 90–150m high escarpment, which extends
NNE-SSW splitting the area into two hydrologically contrasting areas: eastern and
western. The western part slopes gently to the west and is covered by thick Kalahari
sands. The eastern part slopes steeply to the east and Kalahari sand cover is thin or absent
where the Ntane Sandstone or the basalt outcrops. The study area boundaries were
assigned after the boundaries of the numerical model set up by Wellfield Consulting
Services (WCS 1998, Lubczynski 2000). The northern boundary is a regionally stretching
impermeable graben. The eastern and south-eastern boundary is delineated along the

Figure 1. Serowe study area.

eastern wedging limit of the Ntane sandstone. The southern and south-western boundary
is an impermeable dolerite dyke. The western boundary is an artificial one with no
physical meaning and it stretches approximately from UTM coordinates (400000,
7517249) to (420150, 7544376). The study area is located entirely in the Karoo strata,
where the most important aquifer is the ~100m thick Ntane Sandstone layer (Lubczynski
2000). The Ntane aquifer is underlain by the impermeable Mosolotsane Formation,
mainly siltstone and mudstone and overlain by locally fractured Stormberg Basalt with
thickness ranging from 0m to 143m. Groundwater recharge is expected where the basalt
is absent so the Ntane aquifer lies directly under the Kalahari and where basalt is thin and
fractured. The Kalahari sand cover, which overlies the Stormberg Basalt, is thick in the
western part of the study area 50–75m and thin <10min the eastern part. The Kalahari
sands have a high recharge potential where they do not contain calcretes and silcretes.
The structurally dominant feature in the study area is the WNW-ESE trending fault
system that is intruded by dolerite dykes of 10−40m width (SGC 1988, Lubczynski
2000). These features have divided the area into a series of horsts and grabens (Fig. 1),
which enforces structurally controlled groundwater flow outward to the west and to the
east of the groundwater divide located on the western side of the escarpment (Fig. 1).
Water resources of arid areas 124


The net groundwater recharge is defined by Lubczynski (2000) as the amount of water
that reaches the groundwater minus groundwater evapotranspiration representing
discharge of groundwater by tree transpiration and evaporation from groundwater in the
form of upward convective water flux. Groundwater recharge is the most important factor
in evaluating the renewability of groundwater resources of regional aquifer systems in
arid and semi-arid environments and it is unfortunately the most difficult to quantify
(Allison 1988). Several methods of estimating recharge have been developed. These can
be divided into physically based, chemical and isotopic methods (Simmers 1997, Lerner
1990). Recently, also numerical models have been used to estimate groundwater
recharge. While making site-specific recharge measurements, one of the most important
problems to overcome is the spatial data presentation (Allison 1988, Lerner 1990). In this
study, two techniques i.e. kriging interpolation (Ahmed et al. 1995, Gieske 1999) and
spatial extrapolation with intergrated GIS recharge modelling technique were applied to
assess spatial variability of recharge.

2.1 Chloride mass balance measurements

The chloride mass balance method, developed by Eriksson & Khunakasem (1969),
allows calculation of the average recharge rate in groundwater, RT in mm/yr provided the
Cl ion behaves

Figure 2. Interpolated recharge map

with net recharge estimates from the
chloride mass balance method.
conservatively and mass is conserved (Beekman et al. 1996):

Spatial variation of groundwater recharge 125

where RT=total recharge rate (mm/yr), TCl=average annual total chloride deposition at the
surface (mgm−2/yr); P=rainfall (mm/y); ClP=chloride content in rainfall (mg/l);
Clgw=chloride content in groundwater (mg/l); D=dry deposition of chloride measured
during dry season (mgm−2/yr).
Due to lack of total dry deposition data during this investigation, estimation of
recharge was based on the 1986/93 dry deposition of chloride (D) for Serowe of
442±124mgm−2/yr determined from rain gauge measurements (Selaolo 1998). Also
Gieske (1992) recommended a similar D of 400–500mgm−2/yr for Serowe area. Based on
127 measurements of chloride in groundwater collected in September 2001, site-specific
net recharge rates ranging from 2mm/yr to 74mm/yr were calculated according to
equation 1. The results are shown in Figure 2. Two high values were regarded as outliers
and have been omitted from further calculations. The method gave a harmonic mean
recharge rate of ~12mm/yr, which is within range of estimates from previous studies. For
example, SGS (1988) calculated net recharge rate of 11.7mm/yr from the chloride mass
balance method.

2.2 Recharge interpolation

Groundwater recharge is a function of space and time and is often highly variable. With
regard to spatial variability, usually geostatistical analysis is carried out using only
quantitative point data and qualitative geological information is often neglected (Ahmed
1991 in Ahmed et al. 1995). The key to geostatistics is the semi-variogram, which is a
graphical presentation of spatial correlation in a given data set (Cohen & Spies 1990).
The method assumes normally distributed spatial data. In this study the recharge data set
was tested for normality using the Anderson-Darling normal probability test applying
Minitab software. The test showed that the data is not normally distributed. The same
data was successfully normalised by taking the logarithm of the net recharge values.
These values were then further analysed geostatistically. The calculated semi-variogram
and the spherical semi-variogram model are shown in Figure 4.
A value of R2=0.71, indicating a good fit between the experimental data and the semi-
variogram model was found. Based on the parameters obtained from the semi-variogram
model, the interpolation of the logarithms of the net recharge values was done using the
ordinary kriging method. Finally, the antilogarithm of the interpolated values was taken
resulting in the net recharge
Water resources of arid areas 126

Figure 3. Groundwater recharge

potential map with point net recharge

Figure 4. Semi-variogram and semi-

variogram model for recharge.
map (Fig. 2). The map of the net recharge distribution shows a general decrease in net
recharge from the south-east and east towards the north and the west. Bulbs in the map
Spatial variation of groundwater recharge 127

indicate places of locally high and low net recharge. Low net recharge in the north could
be explained by confinement by very thick basalt layer hampering net recharge. High
evapotranspiration resulting in high chloride concentration in groundwater is the likely
cause of locally low net recharge in the east. High net recharge in the northeast could be
due to the absence of a confining basalt layer. Generally, recharge is lower in the western
part than in the eastern part. This is due to the thick sand and basalt cover, deeper
groundwater table and also lower rainfall in the western part of the study area.

2.3 Recharge attributes for GIS modelling

Spatial variation of recharge is influenced by the spatial variability of factors specific to
the study area like rainfall, vegetation type and density, soil type and texture, geology,
landuse, topography,
Table 1. Kalahari thickness scores.
Kalahari thickness (m) Score
0–10 5
10–20 4
20–30 3
30–40 2
>40 1

Table 2. Depth to water table scores.

Depth (m) Score
<50 5
50–60 4
60–70 3
70–80 2

landform and depth to water table (Lerner et al. 1990). However, these factors influence
recharge with different weights. Therefore, GIS modelling, which involves combining
maps of different recharge attributes was used to come up with a recharge potential map,
qualitatively displaying the spatial distribution of groundwater recharge potential. The
modified index overlay method described by Bonham-Carter (1997) was applied in this
study. Each attribute map was subdivided into six classes, with most recharge suitability
assigned score 5 and 0 representing the least recharge suitability. Each attribute map was
then assigned a weight according to its significance in controlling recharge. The average
score of each pixel is defined as:

Water resources of arid areas 128

where S=the weighed score for each pixel, Wi=the weight of the ith map and Sij=the score
of the jth class of the ith map.
The recharge potential map of the study area was derived considering the following
factors influencing recharge potential:
– Basalt cover: Basalt lacks primary porosity and impedes vertical flow of water except
where it is fractured. Therefore high recharge suitability is expected where basalt is
absent (score 5) and least recharge where basalt is present (score 0).
– Kalahari thickness and depth to groundwater table: The thinner the Kalahari layer the
faster water passes the unsaturated zone and reaches the aquifer and the less chances
of water encountering duricrusts. The shallower the water table the faster water
reaches the saturated zone. Assigned scores are shown in Tables 1 and 2. A correlation
matrix showed that Kalahari thickness and depth to groundwater table are positively
correlated. Therefore, the two scored maps were crossed and combined in a new map
which was used for assigning recharge suitability scores.
– Soils: Porous and coarse textured soils have high infiltration capacity and low field
capacity and therefore enhance recharge processes. Soils with high silt and clay
content do not release water to the lower zone fast enough to allow recharge processes
to take place. Scores were assigned according to soil type and average infiltration rates
as described by De Wit & Nachtergaele (1990), see Table 3.
– Vegetation density: Areas with high vegetation density have also large density of root
network and are therefore less suitable for recharge. High vegetation density may also
facilitate infiltration by reducing runoff, but this is less important in case of Serowe
due to the generally high infiltration capacity of the Kalahari sands. A NDVI map
constructed from the Landsat TM 7 image of 24 April 1998 was classified into three
recharge suitability classes (Table 4).
– Slope: Slope of the landscape influences recharge rate. Generally, the steeper the slope
the more runoff and the less the amount of water infiltrating the soil. A slope
percentage map was assigned scores according to the FAO slope classification (Allen
et al. 1998) see Table 5.
– Lineament density: The influence of lineaments on recharge is greatest when the
fractures and faults are deep, continuous over some distance and are not filled with
secondary material. Not
Table 3. Scores for soils.
Soil type Average infiltration rate Score
Arenosols 25–33 5
Regosols 22–30 4
Luvisols 0.05–0.8 3
Lixisols 0.05–0.8 3
Vertisols <0.05 1

Table 4. Scores for vegetation density.

NDVI Vegetation density class Score
0–130 Low 5
Spatial variation of groundwater recharge 129

130–140 Medium 3
140–250 High 1

Table 5. Scores for slope.

Slope (%) Description Score
0–2 Flat 5
2–8 Gently sloping 4
8–16 Undulating 2
16–30 Rolling 1
>30 Hilly 0

Table 6. Lineament density scores.

Density Class Score
<20 Low 1
20–40 Moderate 3
>40 High 5

Table 7. Scores for vegetation cover.

Vegetation cover Score
Bare 3
Open savanna 5
Open savanna shrub 4
Open savanna tree 3
Pans 2
Escarpment dunes 3
Escarpment woodlands 2
Outcrop area 4
Hardveld shrub 3
Hardveld woodland 2
Agricultural area 3
Riverine woodland 2
Grassland 5
Hardveld savanna 4

Table 8. Weight assigned to recharge attributes.

Attribute Model Model Model Model
1 2 3 4
Soil type 4 5 5 4
Vegetation 6 6 6 6
Basalt cover 4 4 4 7
Lineament 3 3 3 3
Slope 2 2 2 2
Water resources of arid areas 130

Kalahari 7 7 8 7
thickness/ depth
to water table
Vegetation cover 7 6 7 6

every lineament, but the majority of them can provide paths for infiltrating water.
The density of lineaments was assessed from a combination of a lineament map
obtained from WCS (1998) and lineaments derived from satellite TM5 data
(Table 6).
– Vegetation cover: Evapotranspiration and interception vary with vegetation cover.
More evapotranspiration is expected from woodlands than from shrubs and grass.
Therefore high recharge is associated with grasslands and low recharge with
woodlands. In this assessment the vegetation map prepared by Ecosurve (1998) was
used (Table 7).

2.4 GIS map modelling for mapping of recharge potential

The recharge attributes considered for GIS map modelling do not bear equal importance
to recharge potential mapping. Each map was therefore assigned a weight according to its
perceived importance (Table 8). Most importance was attached to Kalahari thickness,
depth to groundwater table, and vegetation cover, followed by soil type and vegetation
density since they are
Table 9. Classification of recharge zonation maps.
Weighted score Recharge class
0–2.8 Very low
2.8–3.0 Low
3.0–3.5 Moderate
3.5–4.2 High
4.2–5 Very high

fundamental determinates of amount of water available for recharge followed by basalt

cover. Lineament density and slope were considered the least important. There is not
much variation in slope in the study area and the faults and fractures on the Kalahari are
masked by the thick Kalahari sand cover. In the eastern part of the study area higher
weights were applied to the lineament occurence. GIS map modelling refers to
adjustments of attribute scores and attribute weights in order to provide the most realistic
spatial distribution of recharge potential. Four different models based on weight sets
given in Table 8 were used in this process. Four recharge potential map models were then
produced following equation 2. In order to come up with recharge zonation models, each
of the four recharge potential maps was subdivided into five recharge potential classes
namely, very low, low, moderate, high and very high according to Table 9.
Conceptually, all four recharge potential models are realistic when visually assessed.
The four recharge potential models were then overlaid with recharge rates from the
chloride mass balance method for comparison and validation of the GIS recharge
potential models. In principle GIS recharge modelling should be manipulated by
Spatial variation of groundwater recharge 131

changing scores and weights to fit the point distribution of recharge (Lubczynski &
Gurwin 2004). However, due to time constraints, this could not be done resulting in
deterministic recharge potential rather than recharge potential modelling. Though
verification data is missing for the far eastern and northern part of the study area, Model
3 is in best agreement with most of the point chloride mass balance results and was
therefore considered the most realistic. Figure 3 shows the spatial variation of recharge
potential based on Model 3 overlain with point net recharge values. In this map there are
places in the central part of the study area with inconsistencies, where the moderate
recharge values of the chloride mass balance fall in the very low recharge category of the
recharge potential map. This could be explained as inaccuracy of the lineament
assessment in terms of the size i.e. depth, width and openness which could not be
incorporated in the GIS map modelling. Also, it is difficult to assess which lineaments are
important for recharge and which ones are not. Other inconsistencies such as those in the
northeast, north and center where low chloride mass balance recharge rates fall in the
moderate to high recharge potential zones are most likely attributed to the subjective way
of scoring and weighting in map modelling. It could also be attributed to the
underestimation of recharge due to the presence of groundwater evapotranspiration in
that area.

– The chloride mass balance technique gives an insight into the spatial variation of net
recharge. Net groundwater recharge in the Serowe study area is spatially variable and
it generally ranges from 2mm/yr to ~30mm/yr with a harmonic mean of 12mm/yr.
– The recharge potential map obtained by GIS recharge map modelling provides a semi-
quantitative distribution of recharge. This technique is a very useful tool in
reconnaissance studies and in numerical model calibration, particularly when
quantitative data is limited, because it is able to integrate spatial data from various
sources. The zones do not necessarily show that recharge occurs or how much
recharge occurs but give an indication of where recharge is most likely to occur. Such
an assessment can therefore also be used as a planning tool taking into account local
hydrogeological knowledge and constraints in the development, management and use
of groundwater resources.
– The process of GIS modelling as presented is largely based on expert knowledge of the
modeller as well as knowledge of the area. More objective solutions can be obtained
by optimization of the scores and weights to best fit the recharge attribute zones with
the point measurements (Lubczynski & Gurwin 2004).
– The pattern of net recharge interpolated by kriging is more or less similar to the
extrapolated recharge pattern obtained by intergated GIS modelling of recharge
potential. The differences can be attributed to inaccuracies in both methods and also to
the fact that chloride mass balance gives net recharge while GIS map modelling shows
potential recharge.
Water resources of arid areas 132


Ahmed, S., Sankaran, S. & Gupta, C.P. 1995. Variographic analysis of some hydrogeological
parameters: Use of Geological soft data. Journal of Environmental Hydrology 3(2).
Allen, R.G., Pereira, L.S., Raes, D. & Smith, M. 1998. Crop evapotranspiration, guidelines for
computing crop water requirements, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations,
FAO Irrigation and Drainage paper 56, Rome, Italy.
Allison, G.B. 1988. A review of the physical, chemical and isotopic techniques available for
estimating groundwater recharge. In I.Simmers (ed.) Estimation of Natural groundwater
recharge. NATO ASI series, C222, Reidel, Dordrecht: 49–72.
Beekman, H.E., Selaolo, E.T. & Nijsten, G.J. 1996. Groundwater Recharge at the Fringe of the
Botswana Kalahari-The Letlhkeng-Botlhapatlou Area. Botswana Journal of Earth Sciences 3.
Cohen, W.B., Spies, T.A. & Bradshaw, G.A. 1990. Semi variograms of Digital Imagery for
analysis of conifer canopy structure. New York: Elsevier Inc.
Ecosurve. 1998. Vegetation mapping and ground truthing for Radar Imagery (Vegetation report).
Serowe. Ecosurve project.
Eriksson, E. & Khunakasem, V. 1969. Chloride concentration in groundwater, recharge rate and
rate of deposition of chloride in the Israel coastal plain, Journal of Hydrology 7:178–197.
Hendrickx, J.M.H. & Walker, G.R. 1997. Recharge from precipitation. In I.Simmers (ed.)
Recharge of Phreatic Aquifers in (Semi-) Arid Areas. Rotterdam: Balkema.
Gieske, A. 1992. Dynamics of groundwater recharge: A case study in the semi-arid eastern
Botswana. PhD thesis, Vrije Unversiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Gieske, A. 1999. Geostatistics for hydrologists, Principles and applications, Lecture notes, Adapted
from de Marsily, 1986, ITC, Enschede, The Netherlands.
Lerner, D.N., Issar, A.S. & Simmers, I. 1990. Groundwater Recharge: A guide to understanding
and estimating natural recharge. International contributions to Hydrogeology 8.
Lubczynski, M.W. 2000. Groundwater evapotranspiration—Underestimated component of
groundwater balance in a semi-arid environment—Serowe case, Botswana. In Oliver Sililo et al.
(eds), Groundwater: Past achievements and future challenges: 199–204. Rotterdam: Balkema.
Lubczynski, M.W., Gurwin, J. 2004. Integration of various data sources for transient groundwater
modelling—Sardon study case, Spain. Journal of Hydrology—in revision.
Selaolo, E.T. 1998. Tracer studies and groundwater recharge assessment in the eastern fringe of the
Botswana Kalahari, The Letlhakeng-Botlhapatlou Area. PhD thesis, Vrije Universiteit
Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Swedish Geological Survey (SGS) 1988. Serowe Groundwater Resources Evaluation Project, Final
Report, Ministry of Mineral Resources and Water Affairs, Department of Geological Survey,
Lobatse, Botswana.
Wellfield Consulting Services (WCS) 1998. Serowe wellfield 2 extension project (TB10/3/10/95–
96), Main report, DWA, Gaborone, Botswana.
Wellfield Consulting Services (WCS) 2000. Serowe wellfield extension project, Groundwater
Modelling report, DWA, Gaborone, Botswana.
Quantification of artificial ground water
Water Resources Development Training Centre, Indian Institute of
Technology, Roorkee, India
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: Sedimentary groundwater basins are mostly comprised of

alternate layers of sand and clay. Occurrence of a clay layer at the top
surface prevents direct recharge from rainfall. Natural and man-made
surface drains in such a region are likely to carry away most part of the
rainfall as direct runoff. These drains, while conveying the runoff, can be
considered as a source of water for artificial recharge. Vertical shafts
(recharge well) or a pit may be constructed in the bed of the surface water
body through the intervening clay layer to facilitate recharge to the
underlying confined aquifer. If the piezometric surface of the aquifer
stands below the water level in the drain, the recharge would take place
under the action of gravity. The recharge rate is governed by (i) the
difference in the hydraulic heads at the water body and in the confined
aquifer under the shaft, (ii) diameter and length of the shaft, (iii)
transmissivity and storage coefficient of the aquifer being recharged, and
(iv) hydraulic conductivity of the coarse material the shaft may be filled


Sedimentary groundwater basins are mostly comprised of alternate layers of sand and
clay. Occurrence of a clay layer at the top surface prevents direct recharge from rainfall.
Natural and man-made surface drains in such a region are likely to carry away most part
of the rainfall as direct runoff. These drains, while conveying the runoff, can be
considered as a source of water for artificial recharge. Vertical shafts (recharge well) or a
pit may be constructed in the bed of the surface water body through the intervening clay
layer to facilitate recharge to the underlying confined aquifer (Sandford, 1938). If the
piezometric head in the aquifer stands below the water level in the drain, the recharge
would take place under the action of gravity. The recharge rate is governed by (i) the
difference in the hydraulic heads at the water body and in the confined aquifer under the
shaft, (ii) diameter and length of the shaft, (iii) transmissivity and storage coefficient of
Water resources of arid areas 134

the aquifer being recharged, and (iv) hydraulic conductivity of the coarse material the
shaft may be filled with. Appropriate methods of artificial recharge for different geo-
hydrological conditions have been described in detail (Todd, 1985; Oaksford, 1985). In
the present study, an analytical method is described to quantify time variant recharge
from a surface water body to a confined aquifer through a vertical shaft or a recharge well
under the action of gravity.
In the paper, analytical solutions have been obtained applying unit response function
coefficients known as discrete kernels and convolution technique to quantify time variant
recharge from a surface water body to a confined aquifer through a vertical shaft and a
recharge well. The following cases have been dealt: (i) a vertical shaft marginally
penetrating into an aquifer and filled with coarse sand; (ii) a vertical shaft marginally
penetrating into an aquifer; (iii) a recharge well fully penetrating an aquifer. A shaft with
radius ranging from 1 to 2m filled with coarse sand can recharge at a significant rate
between 250 to 700m3/day. If the shaft is not filled with sand, the rate of recharge at large
time is twice that of when the shaft is filled with coarse sand. Recharge through fully
penetrating well is more than 10 times that of the recharge through a vertical shaft filled
with coarse sand.


A sedimentary groundwater basin consists of a confined aquifer overlain by an aquiclude

and underlain by an impervious stratum. The aquifer is homogeneous, isotropic, and of
infinite areal extent. The water level in the surface water body is at a height h1 above the
bottom impervious base chosen as the datum. The thickness of the upper clay layer
beneath the surface water body is L. Prior to onset of recharge, the piezometric surface in
the aquifer stands at a height h2 above the datum. The height h2 is lower than h1.
The aquifer can be recharged by constructing a vertical shaft in the bed of the surface
water body through the intervening clay layer. The shaft may be filled with a filter
material such as coarse sand to restrict contamination of groundwater. The aquifer can be
recharged through a fully or partially penetrating recharge well. Quantification of
recharge rate is sought for the following structures: (i) a vertical shaft marginally
penetrating into the upper aquifer and filled with a coarse material; (ii) a vertical shaft
marginally penetrating into the confined aquifer; (iii) a recharge well fully penetrating
into the aquifer.


The assumptions made to quantify the recharge rate are:(i) the time span is discretised by
time steps of uniform size ∆t (day); within each time step the recharge rate is uniform; the
varying recharge is a train of pulses, (ii) an unsteady state is a succession of steady states,
(iii) within a time step, Bernoulli’s equation is applicable.
Quantification of artificial ground water recharge 135


4.1 Case 1: A vertical shaft penetrating marginally into the aquifer and
filled with a coarse material
A vertical shaft penetrating marginally into an aquifer can be treated as a recharge well of
zero penetration. Hantush (1961) has derived an analytical expression for evolution of
piezometric surfaces in response to continuous uniform pumping from a well with zero
penetration. The corresponding Hantush’s well function can be used to compute the
evolution of rise in piezometric surface due to a unit pulse recharge. The response of a
linear system to a unit pulse perturbation has been designated as discrete kernel
coefficient (Morel-Seytoux, 1975). Morel-Seytoux and Daly (1975) have demonstrated
the use of kernel coefficients in solving complex ground water flow problems.
The rise in piezometric surface is expressed in terms of varying recharge and kernel
coefficients derived from Hantush’s well function using a convolution technique. Let the
time span be discretised by time steps of uniform size ∆t and let the time varying
recharge through the shaft be treated as a train of pulses. Let R(γ) be the recharge during
γth time step. Let δp(m, ∆t) be the rise in piezometric surface at the well face at time m∆t
due to unit recharge (unit pulse input) that occurs during the first time step only. The
expression for δp (m, ∆t), the kernel coefficient, is given in Appendix-1. The rise in
piezometric surface, s(rw, m∆t), at the recharge well face at time m∆t due to variable
recharge, R(γ), γ=1, 2, …, m, is given by:


The hydraulic head at time m∆t at the bottom of the shaft is summation of the initial
height h2 and the rise in piezometric surface, s(rw, m∆t). Applying Darcy’s law, the
recharge during mth time step is given by:


in which, kf=hydraulic conductivity of the coarse material the shaft is filled with. The
term within the bracket is the hydraulic head difference dissipated in length L of the shaft.
Solving for the recharge during the mth time step from (2)
Water resources of arid areas 136


R(m), m=1,2,…n, can be found in succession starting from m=1 to n.

Figure 1. A vertical shaft penetrating

marginally into the aquifer and filled
with a coarse material.
Quantification of artificial ground water recharge 137

4.2 Case 2: A vertical shaft penetrating marginally into the aquifer, with
no filling material
An analytical expression for recharge is derived applying Bernoulli’s equation (vide
Streeter and Wylie, 1981). Accounting for the entry, exit, and friction losses and applying
Bernoulli’s equation

between points 1 and 2 for mth time step:



in which, ce=coefficient of entry loss, f=friction loss factor, L=length of the shaft, γw=unit
weight of water, g=acceleration due to gravity (m/sec2), v=velocity of water in the shaft
(m/sec) during mth time step, R(m) recharge volume (m3) during mth time step, ∆t=time
step size (day). The first term in the right hand side of equation (4) accounts for entry
loss, the second term accounts for friction loss in the shaft and the third term is the
expansion loss at the exit of the shaft. s(rw, m∆t) is the rise in piezometric surface at the
recharge well consequent to the recharge taken place. Incorporating (1) and (5) in (4) the
following quadratic equation in R(m) is obtained:


Considering the positive root of the equation


in which,

For m=1, c=h2−h1. R(m), m=1, 2,…n, can be found in succession starting from m=1. The
recharge rate during mth time step is equal to R(m)/∆t (m3/day).
Water resources of arid areas 138

4.3 Case 3: A recharge well fully penetrating into the aquifer

The procedure for finding recharge through a fully penetrating well is same as that for the
partially penetrating well described above except that the rise in piezometric surface at
the well face is to be computed using discrete kernel coefficients pertaining to the fully
penetrating well. The unit pulse response function coefficients δ1(m, ∆t) are obtained
from the unit step response function derived by Hantush (1964) for a fully penetrating
well of finite radius (Appendix II).


The kernel coefficients are generated assigning values to the aquifer parameters. The
thickness of the intervening clay layer is taken as 10m; the hydraulic conductivity of the
packed porous medium is 10 times the hydraulic conductivity of the aquifer medium and
is assumed to be 380 m/day. The friction factor f=0.02; entry loss coefficient ce=0.05;
bl/rw. The corresponding non-dimensional recharge rate, R(m)/∆t T(h1−h2), with
dimensionless time factor, , are presented in Figure 2. Since, the recharge
rate is governed by the difference in the hydraulic heads at the entry and exit points of the
shaft, and the head difference decreases with time, the recharge,

Figure 2. Variation of dimensionless

recharge rate with time factor for
Quantification of artificial ground water recharge 139

Table 1. Average recharge rate for various radii;

ce=0.05; f=0.02; kf=380m/day.
Radius Rate of Rate of Rate of
of the recharge recharge recharge
shaft (case 1) (case 2) (case 3)
(m) (m3/day) (m3/day) (m3/day)
0.1 5.4213 59.0824 1979.721
0.2 19.8253 116.8527 2078.622
0.4 67.4339 229.4277
0.5 97.8430 284.1505
1 283.9961 541.7252
2 700.755 991.7594

therefore, decreases with time. When the shaft is filled with the coarse material, the rate
of recharge at large time is half of the recharge rate that would occur without filling
material in the shaft. Recharge through fully penetrating well is more than 10 times that
of the recharge through a vertical shaft with a filler material.
Numerical results are presented for the following aquifer parameters for various radii
of the recharging structure: transmissivity, T=655.5m2/day; storativity, ;
thickness of clay layer, L=10m; initial hydraulic head difference, h1−h2=5m. The average
recharge rates during 120 days for different well radii are presented in Table 1. A vertical
shaft with 2m radius, 10m length filled with a filter material having hydraulic
conductivity of 380m/day, can recharge at an average rate of 700m3/day under an initial
hydraulic head difference of 5m.


Analytical methods are presented to estimate unsteady recharge, that can occur under the
action of gravity, through (i) a vertical shaft filled with coarse sand, (ii) a well penetrating
marginally into an aquifer, and (iii) a fully penetrating well. Application of unit response
function coefficient is illustrated while quantifying the recharge rate. A vertical shaft with
radius ranging from 1 to 2m filled with coarse sand can recharge at a significant rate
between 250 to 700m3/day.


7.1 Appendix I: Discrete kernel, δP (m, ∆t)

Let the unit step response function for piezometric rise at the well face of a marginally
penetrating recharge well and a confined aquifer system be designated as U(rw, t).
According to Hantush(1961)
Water resources of arid areas 140


in which, T=transmissivity (m2/day), ф=storativity, and b1=thickness of the upper

aquifer(m); rw=radius of the well or shaft(m),


Let the time domain be discretised by time steps of uniform size ∆t. The unit pulse
response function of the system, δp(m, ∆t), is given by:


W(u) and Wn(u, nπrw/b) are improper integrals as the upper limit of integration is infinite.
W(u) is Theis’ Well function and can be computed using the polynomial and rational
approximation (Abromwitz and Stegun, 1970)
Wn(u,n πrw/b) is evaluated using Gaussian quadrature after converting the improper
integral into proper integral and changing the limit. The procedure is as follows.
Quantification of artificial ground water recharge 141

As x→ −1, the value of the integrand in the second integration is found as follows:

These integration can be performed numerically using Gauss quadrature.

7.2 Appendix II: Discrete kernel, δ1 (m, ∆t)

Hantush(1964) has derived the well function for computation of drawdown in an artesian
aquifer due to pumping from a fully penetrating well of finite radius starting from the
basic solution given by Carslaw and Jaeger (1959) for an analogous heat conduction
problem. Let the unit step response function for piezometric rise at the well face of a fully
penetrating recharge well and a confined aquifer system be designated as U1(rw, t).
According to Hantush(1964) it is given by:


in which,
Water resources of arid areas 142

functions of first kind of zero and first order respectively; Y0(x) Y1(x)=Bessel functions
of second kind of zero and first order respectively; T=transmissivity (m2/day), and
ø=storativity of the upper aquifer; rw=radius of the well or shaft(m).
The integral in (1) is an improper integral as the upper limit of integration is infinite.
The improper integral is reduced to a proper integral as described below.

Expanding the exponential term, and applying L’ Hospital’s rule, it can be shown that as
v tends to −1, the integrand tends to 0. The integral I1 is a proper integral and can be
evaluated numerically using Gauss quadrature.

Limit of the integrand at the lower is found as described below.

Quantification of artificial ground water recharge 143


Thus I2 can be evaluated using Gauss quadrature.

Water resources of arid areas 144


Abramowitz, M. & Stegun, I.A. 1970. Handbook of Mathematical Functions. Dover Publications,
Inc, New York, 231pp.
Carslaw, H.S. & Jaeger, J.C. 1959. Conduction of Heat in Solids. New York, Oxford Univ. Press:
Hantush, M.S. 1961. Drawdown around a partially penetrating well. J. Hydr. Div., ASCE,
Hantush, M.S. 1964. Hydraulics of wells. Advances in Hydroscience, Ed. Ven Te Chow, Vol. 1,
Morel-Seytoux, H.J. 1975. Optimal legal conjunctive operation of surface and ground water. Proc.
Second World Congress. Intl. Water Resour. Assoc., New Delhi, Vol. IV:119–129.
Model-Seytoux, H.J. & Daly, C.J. 1975. A discrete kernel generator for stream-aquifer studies.
WaterResour. Res., 11 (2):253–260.
Oaksford, E.T. 1985. Artificial Recharge: Methods, Hydraulics, and Monitoring. Artificial
Recharge of Groundwater. Ed. Takashi A. Butterworth Publisher: 69–127.
Sandford, H.J. 1938. Diffusing pits for recharging water into underground formation: chemical well
cleaning methods. American Water Works Association Journal, 30(11):1755–1766.
Todd, D.K. 1985. Groundwater Hydrology. New York, John Wiley & Sons: 458–493.
The architecture and application of the South
African Groundwater Decision Tool
I.Dennis & G.J.van Tonder
Institute for Groundwater Studies, University of the Free State, South
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: Groundwater forms part of an integrated water resource and

needs to be managed accordingly. Currently, however, there are limited
tools available for groundwater professionals as well as water resource
regulators to make informed decisions concerning groundwater use and
management as part of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM).
The South African Groundwater Decision Tool (SAGDT) was developed
to assist the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) and
Catchment Management Agencies (CMA) in decision-making with regard
to aquifer protection and management in South Africa. This paper
discusses the legal requirements and policies that the SAGDT complies
with together with the application architecture to highlight the
methodology used in the design. Finally a simple case study is given to
demonstrate the application of the tool.


Groundwater forms part of an integrated water resource and needs to be managed

accordingly. Currently, however, there are limited tools available for groundwater
professionals as well as water resource regulators to make informed decisions concerning
groundwater use and management as part of Integrated Water Resource Management
Traditional water resource planners and engineers find it difficult to conceptualise
groundwater hydraulics and to come to terms with the estimated impact of groundwater
utilisation on surface water sources. Groundwater professionals, on the other hand, need
to know at what level they have to do their investigations to satisfy the requirements of
the regulator.
Water resources of arid areas 146

The purpose of the SAGDT is to assist the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
(DWAF) and Catchment Management Agencies (CMA) in decision making with regard
to aquifer protection and management. The following applies to the SAGDT:
● Consists of a standard system of consistent methods/rules to guide planning and
decision making about water resources.
● Allows transparency, accountability and long-term goal-setting to be incorporated into
water resource management.
● Calculates the level of confidence of results obtained.
This paper discusses the legal requirements and policies that the SAGDT complies with
together with the application architecture to highlight the methodology used in the
design. Finally a simple case study is given to demonstrate the application of the tool.


The SAGDT is aligned with existing legal requirements, policies and DWAF activities
which are discussed in the sections below.

2.1 Legal requirements

There are 3 Acts that are taken into account, namely; Constitution of the Republic of
South Africa (Act No 108 of 1996), National Water Act (Act No 36 of 1998) and Water
Services Act (Act No 108 of 1997). The Water Acts are aligned with the Constitution,
which states: Everybody has the right to an environment not harmful to their health and
well-being, to have an environment protected for the benefit of present and future
generations, and to have access to sufficient food and water. The underlying principles of
the Water Acts are therefore the sustainability and protection of water resources balanced
by the use thereof.
The SAGDT is based on the same underlying principles namely sustainability and
protection of groundwater resources (quantity and quality). Warning systems are included
when the sustainability of the system is at risk. For more information concerning the
warning systems, refer to Section 3.3.

2.2 Resource Directed Measures (DWAF, 1999, 2003 & 2004)

To implement the National Water Act, the DWAF has initiated resource directed
measures (RDM). The steps in the RDM process includes delineating the area under
investigation, classifying the resource, quantifying the reserve, setting resource quality
objectives, and implementing monitoring. The first four of the five can be done within the
SAGDT. In addition there are different levels of investigation, namely: desktop, rapid,
intermediate and comprehensive. The SAGDT provides information, methodologies and
guidance to perform the various levels of assessment.
A DWAF initiative Framework program for Education and Training in Water (FET-
WATER) focuses on training and capacity building in the water sector in South Africa. A
groundwater RDM network has been developed under this initiative. One of the
The architecture and application of the South African groundwater decision tool 147

objectives of the groundwater network is to develop training material and workshop the
groundwater RDM process. The SAGDT has been included in this training and the
relevant components will be presented at the workshops.

2.3 National Resource Water Strategy (DWAF(a), 2003)

A National Water Resource Strategy (NWRS) is currently being developed as a
framework for managing water resources in this country. The NWRS aims to provide a
framework balancing the sustainability and protection of water resources and the use
thereof. This is the focus of the SAGDT. In addition the 19 Water Management Areas
(WMAs) defined, the NWRS will be included in the SAGDT. According to the NWRS a
water allocation plan must be developed for each of these WMAs, the SAGDT can assist
the water planner in developing the groundwater component of these water allocation


Conventional set theory (Boolean) states that an element is either a member of a set or
not. Consider the following real-life problem:
A person is said to be young when they are under the age of 25 and a person is said to
be old when they are over 40. In which group would we place a person of the age of 30?
Fuzzy logic is an extension of conventional set theory enabling an element to belong
to a set to a degree. The degree of membership is a function that defines the membership
of an element to a set according to the value of the element see the Figure 1.
Membership is expressed as a value between 0 and 1. Zero implies 0% membership
and 1 implies 100% membership. The solid line describes the membership function for
the set of people older than 40 and the dotted line describes the membership function for
the set of people younger than 25. Note that in most cases the membership functions of
the two sets will be inverses. To answer the question of where will a person of the age of
30 fit in can be as follows:
That person belongs 75% to the set of young people and 25% to the set of old people.
Water resources of arid areas 148

Figure 1. Age membership function.

Table 1. Fuzzy logic rule set for 3 inputs.
Rule Weight Input 1 Input 2 Input 3
1 0.0 Favourable Favourable Favourable
2 ? Favourable Favourable Unfavourable
3 ? Favourable Unfavourable Favourable
4 ? Favourable Unfavourable Unfavourable
5 ? Unfavourable Favourable Favourable
6 ? Unfavourable Favourable Unfavourable
7 ? Unfavourable Unfavourable Favourable
8 1.0 Unfavourable Unfavourable Unfavourable

Selection of the membership function is done by an expert on the field of study. Linear
membership functions are seldom used in practice in contradiction to sinusoidal
functions, which are very popular. In most cases risk analysis will involve more than one
input to be considered in the analysis.
Fuzzy logic makes it possible to generate a set of decision rules according to the
number of inputs, and these rules must then be evaluated by an expert in the field of
study. The number of rules generated is given by Equation 1.

where n represents the number of rules generated. The rules consist of all possible binary
combinations of the respective inputs with a weight assigned to each rule representing the
risk. Table 1 shows the decision rules generated for 3 inputs. Instead of true and false the
terms favourable and unfavourable are used to make the rules easier to read.
The architecture and application of the South African groundwater decision tool 149

Rule number 1 is read as:

If input 1 is favourable and input 2 is favourable and input 3 is favourable then the
risk is 0%.
All of the other rules are read in the same fashion and an expert must evaluate each
rule individually to assign the appropriate risk. For each input a membership function
must be defined with a favourable and unfavourable limit defining the two sets. One
function will represent the favourable set and the other the unfavourable set. Thus, for
each input, a favourable and an unfavourable value can be read from the membership
functions. For each input the table of decision rules is then populated with the respected
favourable and unfavourable degree of membership and the risk is calculated using
Equation 2:


n=number of rules
DOM=degree of membership
Wn=Weight of rule n
Note that the minimum function must return the minimum value of all inputs for each


The sub-systems comprising the SAGDT are discussed in the sections that follow. Refer
to Figure 2 as reference for the sections to follow.

4.1 3rd Party Software

The 3rd party software included in the SAGDT is to provide a one-stop application to the
user. The SAGDT makes provision for most user requirements without having to search
for additional resources. This software will not interface automatically with the SAGDT
environment, but should be seen as additional utilities provided to the user.
Water resources of arid areas 150

Figure 2. High level architecture of the

South African Groundwater Decision

4.2 GIS Tool

The GIS database will consist of a core set of shape files that ship with the application.
Users are able to extend this database by importing custom generated shape files. New
shape files added to the database will not be used in the risk assessment unless the user
maps the shape file over an existing core shape file (certain criteria must be met for this
operation). The GIS Tool comes with a query builder that interfaces with the whole GIS
database, and users are encouraged to extend their personal database to take advantage of
the query builder functionality. Using the GIS Tool provides some of the functionality of
a full-blown GIS application, with a fraction of the complexity of commercial GIS

4.3 Risk tool

The risk tool is a fuzzy logic-based multi-criteria risk assessment tool. Two spatial
environments exists in the SAGDT, i.e. the external and internal worlds as shown in
Figure 2. The external world represents the whole of South Africa and the user selects a
single coordinate as starting point of the scenario. The internal world then uses the
specified coordinate as reference to query the GIS database. The user builds a scenario in
the internal world through the use of objects available in the object repository. A
simplified version of the object model is shown in Figure 3.
The architecture and application of the South African groundwater decision tool 151

In some instances more than one object performing the same function exists, and they
differ only in the detail their attributes require as well as their respective confidence
levels. In building a scenario, an object tree will result due to the parent child
relationships of the objects used. The base object will always be a GIS object
representing the area of the internal world. This object tree is then passed to the fuzzy
logic engine to determine the risk assessment result, and further analysed to determine the
confidence levels associated with it.
A warning system exists so that the user will be notified when to do a more detailed
scenario. The warning system uses the confidence level, risk assessment result and policy
as inputs to

Figure 3. Simplified SAGDT object

model for illustration purposes.
determine if a warning should be issued. The SAGDT supports the following risk
assessment categories: Sustainability, Health, and Ecological.
After the completion of a risk analysis the SAGDT produces a risk profile report
containing the following information:
● Description of area (area object name)
● Picture of area (internal world snapshot)
● Summary of object properties and calculated values
● Risk assessment per applicable category together with the confidence level
● Warning system response
Water resources of arid areas 152

4.4 Scenario wizard

Tutorials are available in the form of a scenario wizard. The wizard gives users step by
step instructions to build predefined scenarios. The wizard also guides the inexperienced
user in not only learning the software, but also the methodology used in the design of the

4.5 Application help file

The application help file is a Windows® based help file providing the user with help on
the Graphical User Interface (GUI), operation and functionality of the application.

4.6 Groundwater Dictionary

The Groundwater Dictionary contains terms and definitions related to groundwater
illustrated by graphics, photos and animations where possible, to ensure that concepts are
correctly understood.

4.7 Object help

A scenario is built using available objects in the repository or library. An extensive help
database is available that specifically describe each object and its functionality. This help
file contains the mathematical description of each object and all associated properties, as
well as interfacing with the other objects. By making this available to the user, the
methodology applied in each object can be understood and an object is not just a “black
box” to the user, but allows him to make educated decisions when populating the object


5.1 Geology
The region consists of mudstones, shales and sandstones from the Adelaide Subgroup of
the Beaufort Group within the greater Karoo Super Group. Post-Karoo dolerite sill
intrusions are present, which have to a large extend been eroded, exposing the underlying
sedimentary rocks. The surface dolerite on the Campus are highly fractured with little
ground cover and it is assumed that recharge over these areas is probably high.

5.2 Study area

The Campus test site is located on the grounds of the University of the Free State, South
Africa, and covers an area of approximately 180×192m2. The aquifer is intersected by
thirty percussion and seven core-boreholes as shown in Figure 4. Core samples indicate
parallel horizontal fractures, the most significant of which is at a depth of 21m In more
The architecture and application of the South African groundwater decision tool 153

weathered sections of the aquifer, diagonal fractures intersect the bedding plane fractures.
The sandstone containing the most horizontal fractures also forms the main water-
carrying formation.

Figure 4. Borehole positions on the

Campus test site.

5.3 Scenario
The scenario that will be evaluated for this case study is the determination of the
sustainable yield of UO5 when pumped continuously for 2 years. The assumptions used
in the case study are as follows:
● Only UO5 will be pumped at variable rates over the assessment period.
● The assessment period is 2 years.
● Three levels of evaluation will be done, that is each successive analysis uses objects
with higher confidence levels than the previous set of objects. This implies that more
detailed data are needed for objects used with higher confidence levels.

5.4 Results
Figure 5 shows the results obtained from the SAGDT for the specified scenario. From the
graphs it is clear that the higher the confidence level of the scenario, the more accurately
the risk of failing can be determined. There exists a good correlation between the 99%
Water resources of arid areas 154

risk of failure for each of the confidence levels evaluated, but the higher confidence
scenarios give opportunity for better management.
As a recommendation one could propose a 0.4L/s abstraction rate from the 89%
confidence scenario, which indicates a 20% risk of failure. From extensive field
investigations it has been proved that UO5 can be pumped for 6 months at 0.33L/s
without failing, which correlates well with the proposed recommendation.
It is important to note that the tool will produce an overestimate for the risk when the
confidence is low. This is why a warning system was implemented to make sure the user
is aware of the fact that the risk is too high according to policy and that a more detailed
analysis is required to confirm the high risk situation. This will prevent users from
making management decisions based on high-risk results with low confidence.

Figure 5. Risk of UO5 failing for

various scenarios.


The SAGDT has proven to be a powerful groundwater management tool. The tool
provides a common framework for all groundwater practitioners in South Africa in which
they can perform groundwater risk assessments that relate to policy.
By employing fuzzy logic to do the risk analysis the user has the knowledge of an
expert captured in the application to assists in the decision-making process.
The SAGDT also acts as a groundwater educational environment, due to the extensive
groundwater dictionary and object help files available.
The architecture and application of the South African groundwater decision tool 155


Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Act No 108 of 1996, Pretoria, South Africa.
DWAF 1999. Water Resources Protection Policy Implementation—Resource Directed Measures
for the Protection of Water Resources Version 1.0 Volumes 2–6; Department of Water Affairs
and Forestry, Pretoria.
DWAF 2003. Resource Directed Measures—Module 1—Introductory module; draft edition August
2003, Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, Pretoria.
DWAF 2003a. National Water Resource Strategy; current draft edition, Department of Water
Affairs and Forestry, Pretoria.
DWAF 2004. Groundwater resource directed measures training manual. Sponsored by Fetwater,
Department of Water Affairs, Pretoria.
National Water Act. Act 36 of 1998, Pretoria, South Africa.
Water Services Act. Act No 108 of 1997, Pretoria, South Africa.
The development of a groundwater
management tool for the Schoonspruit
dolomitic compartment
Institute for Groundwater Studies, University of the Free State,
Bloemfontein, South Africa
Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, Geohydrology Division, Free
State Region, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: The Schoonspruit dolomitic compartment is situated in the

relatively arid Northwest province of South Africa. The compartment is a
critical management area since it feeds the Schoonspruit “eye”, a
perennial spring feeding into a stream along which several communities
and irrigation farmers abstract water. Due to large-scale groundwater
abstractions and declining water levels, the area was declared as a
groundwater protectorate in 1995. Water management has been devolved
to local level, and in this instance a user-friendly practical management
tool was needed for the Water User Association. The compartment was
investigated to identify the compartment boundaries, groundwater flow
directions, recharge relationships and the eye flow response over time.
Use was made of long-term monitoring data, isotopic and hydrochemical
data to identify recharge zones. Two zones were identified as groundwater
management units in the compartment and groundwater balances for the
two zones were defined. The cumulative rainfall departures method and a
method of moving averages were among techniques employed to define
calibrated recharge relationships for the eye. Different threshold rainfall
values and recharge factors have been determined for two zones. These
equations were incorporated into a simplified electronic management tool.
Time-dependent inputs into this tool include rainfall, hydrochemical and
water level data, while factors such as the basic human needs, reserve
requirements and allocated volumes are built in. This is translated into
allocable volumes for irrigation into the compartment and predicted spring
flow volumes. With this tool, groundwater management is facilitated and
the sustainable use of the water resources in this area can be more
accurately considered.
The development of a groundwater management tool 157


1.1 Overview of the study area

The Schoonspruit dolomitic compartment is a dolomitic aquifer situated to the North and
Northwest of the town Ventersdorp in the Northwest province. The compartment has
been named after the Schoonspruit Eye, which is dependent on the compartment for flow.
The Schoonspruit Eye, in turn, is the sole reason why the Schoonspruit has a constant
flow and provides a municipality and two surface water irrigation boards with surface
water all year. The Schoonspruit dolomitic compartment is situated north and northwest
of Ventersdorp in the Northwest province.
With the proclamation of The National Water Act, Act 36 of 1998, a new
responsibility towards groundwater and groundwater management developed. Regional
Offices were given the responsibility of managing these resources as acting Catchment
Management Agencies. Groundwater is a resource that needs management and decisions
based on sound scientific principles, regarding allocable volumes from the groundwater
resources must be made.
With the above principles in mind, the aim of the study was the development of a
technical methodology and a first-order technical groundwater management tool to
manage groundwater in the Schoonspruit compartment according to geohydrological
principles, within a Groundwater User Association. This management tool had to be able
to, on a year-to-year basis, determine the volumes available in the aquifer for allocations.


2.1 Overview
The setting can be described in more detail as the compartment is categorised as
Transvaal Highlands with elevation changes of more than 100m over a 40-km distance.
The topography slopes downward from the northeast to the southwest. The Pretoria
Formation in the north forms the water divides, in the north of the compartment, between
the Vaal and Limpopo rivers. The Schoonspruit compartment falls within the surface
water drainage area C24, drained by the Schoonspruit, and circular depressions can be
found in the area that show elements of karstic evolution. Most of the rainfall occurs from
November to February. The average rainfall for the area is 606mm and the average
evaporation is in the vicinity of 1900mm.

2.2 Geology
The geology of the area can best be described by differentiating between the main
geological systems. In general the geology is known as dolomites of the Malmani
Subgroup that plunge regionally northward and are overlain by the Pretoria Group.
Outcrops of the Witwatersrand Supergroup appear along the southern boundary of the
dolomites (Fleisher, 1981). The Malmani Subgroup is described as dolomite, banded iron
formation, chert and shale. This series consists mostly of layered strata of calcium
Water resources of arid areas 158

magnesium carbonates (CaMgCO3), some layers massive and some with chert bands.
Secondary limestone also occurs in the dolomites and is widely mined for the
manufacturing of cement. Dolomites in this area are generally easily weathered and form
undulating landscapes. (Kok, 1972)
The Subgroup is further described as representing the dolomitic sequence and is
largely concealed by overburden throughout the study area and therefore difficult to trace
(Polivka, 1987). The majority of outcrops and aquifers in the area are associated with the
Malmani Subgroup (Kotze, 1994).

2.3 Geohydrology
The dolomitic aquifer of the Schoonspruit dolomitic compartment consists of four
different formations (Polivka, 1987). Of these the chert-rich formations, Monte Christo
and Eccles, are better aquifers compared to the chert-poor formations, Oaktree and
Lyttleton, and boreholes drilled on fault intersections also gave high yields (>10l/s)
(Kotze, 1994). The strata dip northward and are overlain by the Pretoria Group. Average
borehole yields differ for the different formations and range from 11l/s in the Eccles to
3l/s in the Lyttletone formation (Polivka, 1987). Agriculture has the most important
influence on the compartment’s water quality. As such, factors such as nitrate pollution
are of particular importance.

2.4 Springs and water users

The area is solely dependent on groundwater either directly, as abstraction from
boreholes, or indirectly, as abstraction out of the Schoonspruit. The Ventersdorp Local
Municipality indicates an average daily consumption of 16.3m3, including the four
communities within the Ventersdorp Municipal District and on the dolomitic
compartment: Ga-Mogopa, Ga-Motlatla, Goedgevonden and Tsêtsê. The largest water
use within the compartment is abstraction for agricultural irrigation

Figure 1. Monthly abstraction values in

the Schoonspruit dolomitic
The development of a groundwater management tool 159

Figure 2. Annual and monthly flow

volumes of the Schoonspruit Eye.
purposes. In the Schoonspruit river below the eye, there are four water users, claiming
water rights from the Schoonspruit Eye. They are Ventersdorp municipality, the
Klerksdorp Irrigation Board (IB), the Schoonspruit Governmental Water Scheme and the
vlei down stream from the weir. (Darcy Consultants, 2002).
Figure 1 shows the monthly abstraction volumes as used in the water balance methods.
Note that these abstraction volumes include abstraction from all boreholes, spring flow
volumes from the system, leakages and water consumed by evapotranspiration.
There are several springs of which the Schoonspruit eye is by far the most productive,
although the flow of the eye has decreased over time. This decrease is most likely
associated with increased groundwater abstraction, as well as decrease in rainfall.
Figure 2 shows the annual and monthly flows of the Schoonspruit Eye up to
September 2002. Annual flows were calculated for hydrological years, starting October
and ending in September of the following year, e.g. 1-Sep-81 would be flows for October
1980 to September 1981.
It is clear from the flows that an average flow volume would not be an indication of
the true situation in the compartment and it is necessary to do an analysis of the effect of
rainfall and the lag-time effect of recharge through the compartment on the flow of the
Water resources of arid areas 160


The most important aspect for the geohydrological description was the determination of
an appropriate water balance methodology for the compartment. Details regarding the
verification of the compartment boundaries, current water quality and aquifer parameter
determination are contained in Veltman (2003).

3.1 Recharge and water balance methods

The most important input into the water balance of the area is incoming water. While
some water does migrate into the compartment across the boundaries of the compartment,
the vast majority of the water in this dolomitic terrain is derived from recharge from
Several recharge methods, based on methods described by van Tonder et al., 1999,
were used. Recharge in the area is high due to soils that are transmissive and areas of
karstification, which allow rapid recharge. Several recharge methods were used, a level
of certainty assigned to each method and a weighted recharge estimate obtained. By using
the weighted values, a value that is reliable for recharge can be obtained. Recharge was
estimated as 6.0% of annual rainfall, amounting to the average volume of 70.68Mm3/a.

3.2 Springflow simulation

Simulations of the groundwater monitoring borehole levels were done using the CRD and
MA methods and the Schoonspruit Eye flow were done using MA springflow software
currently being developed by Bredenkamp, 2003.

3.2.1 Groundwater simulations

Groundwater levels and rainfall data are a critical input into most simulations and
evaluations, of which the Saturated Volume Fluctuation (SVF), Cumulative Rainfall
Departure (CRD) and Moving Average (MA) methods give the best simulations for
determining natural water levels and various aquifer parameters. Where spring flows are
linearly related to the CRD and MA of a rainfall series, and thus also linearly related to
the groundwater system from which it is recharged, both the natural flows and the effect
of abstraction can be simulated (Bredenkamp, 2000). The simulations of the groundwater
monitoring borehole levels were done using the CRD and MA methods and the
Schoonspruit Eye flow using MA springflow equation. Moving average method

This method mimics the groundwater level of a specific month to the average rainfall
over a number of preceding months (Bredenkamp, et al., 1995) and is described by
Equation 1 (Bredenkamp, 2000):
The development of a groundwater management tool 161


Where: hi=the groundwater level for month I, b=coefficient of rainfall representing

recharge, s=aquifer storativity, n=number of months, Rf=average rainfall for preceding
months J, F=inferred depth of aquifer below surface. CRD method

The groundwater balance can be explained by the concept that equilibrium in an aquifer
is established over time between recharge (average gains) and drainage (average losses)
and is expressed with Equation 2 (Bredenkamp, et al., 1995):
Table 1. Aquifer parameters determined with the
MA & CRD methods.
Parameter Zone Zone
Aquifer thickness (m) 8 13
Recharge (%) 8 7.63
Threshold monthly rainfall 26 24.33
High rainfall recharge factor 30 30
S 0.027 0.023

where: Rfave=average rainfall, ROave=average runoff, REave=average recharge, and

EVTave=average evapotranspiration.
The CRD method corresponds to the concept that equilibrium is established in an
aquifer over time, therefore matching the groundwater level fluctuations to the
cumulative rainfall departure from the average rainfall, can mimic the hydrological
balance of an aquifer (Bredenkamp, et al., 1995). Defining the CRD relationship for
different time intervals yields Equation 3

Where: CRDi=CRD at month I, CRDi−1=CRD at the month preceding month I,

Rfi=rainfall at month I, Rfave=average rainfall and k=coefficient representing abstraction. Springflow simulations

When doing the CRD_MA simulations one has to incorporate inflows and outflows
(abstractions) and adjust storativity and recharge values to attain the best possible curve
to fit the actual groundwater level measurements that was taken. The simulation therefore
Water resources of arid areas 162

incorporates the groundwater balance to a degree, although levels and not volumes are of
concern. The storativity and recharge values, attributed to the specific borehole’s reaction
to averaged rainfall over an area, are obtained. In the dolomitic aquifer these values are
not as related to fracture flow, since the dolomites characteristics cause variations in
groundwater levels to be smoothed over an area. The values are therefore indicative of
the aquifer characteristics. Further information gained from these simulations is the
effective depth of the aquifer and the threshold values of rainfall before recharge will take
Table 1 summarise the information as acquired with these simulations.
The simulations provide valuable information for use in regional modelling of the
aquifer, and for determining the groundwater balance. However, for proper management
of the relationship between the system’s response and the flow of the Schoonspruit Eye
needs refinement. Spring flow

When relating the CRD relationship to spring flow, Equation 4 can be used to simulate
this relationship (Bredenkamp, 2000):
spring=J/S.ρ.CRDI+CFLOW (4)

Where: QI spring=spring flow at month I; J=hydraulic coefficient+flow cross section width

constant; S=aquifer storativity; ρ=coefficient of rainfall representing recharge;
CRDI=CRD at month I and CFLOW=long-term average spring flow around which the
flow fluctuates.
Various factors can be introduced to simulate different situations, e.g. aerial extent,
abstraction or different lag time effects. When the moving average of rainfall is used, lag
time effects of rainfall events can be included and its integration over the aquifer
(Bredenkamp, et al., 1995). When simulating the spring flow all known parameters are
incorporated and the unknown parameters are calibrated to attain the best fit. Spring flow
parameters have been incorporated together with the different moving averages of
rainfall. The Schoonspruit Eye simulation is shown in Figure 3 and simulated with the
following equation:
Schoonspruit Flow
The development of a groundwater management tool 163

Figure 3. Schoonspruit Eye simulated

flow with a 96 month moving average.
where: ReN=recharge under normal rainfall events, ReF=recharge under flood rainfall
events and AbsGW=groundwater abstractions from the drainage area (Mm3/m)
RfFLOOD=IF((Rf120MMA−ThF)>0, Rf120MMA−ThF)

The calibrated parameters for the system have been determined as ReN (7%), ReF%(44),
ThN(26mm) which the recharge threshold and ThF(43mm) which is the flood recharge
threshold. The Rf values all refer to the month lag included. The equation therefore
amounts to Equation 5:
Schoonspruit Flow
(Mm3/m)=(0.07*Rf24MMA/Rf120MMA*(Rf96MMA−26)*0.842) (5)

This equation is used in the groundwater management tool of the Schoonspruit dolomitic
compartment. The biggest advantage of this method is that abstractions can now be
incorporated into the simulation and predictions can be made with long-term predicted
rainfall. The effective recharge for the Schoonspruit Eye was determined as 13% for
Water resources of arid areas 164


4.1 A first order groundwater management tool

The basic principle of a first order tool is to include the essential mechanisms in an
understandable format, which will be used by the most basic groundwater manager.
Inputs into the tool must be simple and outputs easily usable, while a layman should not
change the driving equations. When new information becomes available, the tool should
be easily modified by professionals, to include refined parameters or simulations.
Developing a groundwater management tool is dependent upon the geotechnical
controls essential to the management of the dolomitic compartment and which are only
beneficial. Therefore the tool cannot be developed before the geohydrological evaluation
has been complete and all essential controls have been defined and determined.
Essential outputs from the tool include groundwater balances for various zones in the
compartment, annual recharge volumes and therefore allocable volumes in the
compartment, spring flow simulations for predictions from rainfall, including allocable
volumes for both groundwater and surface water users and a classification of the
groundwater quality based on the standards for the use of the water on the compartment.
Beneficial outputs from the tool include a warning system if the Resource Quality
Objectives are not met and the management class of the aquifer incorporated into the
allocable volumes.

4.2 Users
The users of such a tool range from the groundwater user’s association to the regulators
and also groundwater consultants operating in the area. The tool needs to be versatile and
contain all the necessary geohydrological equations, yet at the same time to be user-
friendly. Equations for inclusion in this tool included the Schoonspruit Eye simulation
equation and incorporation of domestic and ecological requirements.

4.3 Input
The tool was constructed in such a way that only the latest rainfall and water quality need
to be included as time-variant data. Aspects such as the reserve requirements and
rainfall/recharge equations are built in.

4.4 User-friendly tool

The management tool was programmed with macros which guide the user, in MS Excel.
The Title page of the Tool is an information page only and a navigational button move
to the next sheet, the Menu sheet. The “Enter Data” button navigates to the Data sheet,
the “Compartment Map” button to the Map sheet and the “Assign/check Volumes” button
to the Volume sheet. This is a navigational sheet only and the pathways are inserted here
is up to the developer. The Data sheet of the Tool, allows input of the groundwater
The development of a groundwater management tool 165

quantities and qualities. Data input includes compulsory data inputs and optional data
inputs. The optional data are helpful if available, but the simulations are not dependent on
these cells to run. Navigational buttons to other sheets and data entry points are also
included. The Drinking Water Quality Classes for the different parameters are included
as fixed parameters.
On the Prediction sheet of the Tool all the calculations for the simulation of the
Schoonspruit Eye flow, therefore allocable volumes are done. The simulated flow
(Mm3/m) is then determined using the spring flow equation as only rainfall values, and
not equations, are now incorporated. Input data to this sheet is obtained from the Data
Allocable volumes are determined with the simple equation of subtracting surface
water demand from the simulated flow, as this has already taken into account current
groundwater use. Figure 4 shows the spring flow and allocable volume graph.


The aim of the groundwater management tool was to provide a first order technical tool,
which is a practical and workable tool, for use by the WUA in determining allocable
The following conclusions are made with regard to the groundwater management tool:
● Input and output parameters as outlined in this paper were used and proved to be
sufficient for defining quantity and quality concerns in the Schoonspruit dolomitic
● Allocable volumes can be determined for the two zones using predicative rainfall data.
● The Schoonspruit Eye can be simulated using predicative rainfall data with the
following equation:
Schoonspruit Flow
(Mm /m)=(0.07*Rf24MMA/Rf120MMA*(Rf96MMA−26)*0.842)
Water resources of arid areas 166

Figure 4. Spring flow and allocable

volume graph of the SGM tool.
● The drinking water quality classes were introduced, as a useful parameter, as part of an
early warning system where drinking water quality is of concern.
● The tool is sufficient to continue with groundwater management in the dolomitic
● Verification of the lawful users is of utmost importance for groundwater management
to be successful.
● The tool is a practical and useable tool for all groundwater managers and planners.
The following recommendations are made with regard to the groundwater management
● Groundwater management should commence at once and the tool tested against annual
● Verification of lawful water uses should continue and be completed as soon as
● The tool should be tested and applied to other dolomitic areas.


Bredenkamp, D.B., Botha, L.J., Van Tonder, G.J. & Van Rensburg, H.J. 1995. Manual on
quantitative estimation of groundwater recharge and aquifer storativity. Report no. TT 73/95.
Water Research Commission, Pretoria.
Bredenkamp, D.B. & Swartz, A. 1987. Reconstruction of the flow of springs by means of annual
recharge estimates. Technical report no. GH 3525. Department of Water Affairs, Directorate
Hydrology, Pretoria.
DARCY Groundwater Scientists and Consultants. 2002. A catchment management plan for the
Schoonspruit and Koekemoer Spruit catchments: A groundwater situation analysis. Department
of Water Affairs & Forestry, Bloemfontein.
The development of a groundwater management tool 167

Fleisher, J.N.E. 1981. The geohydrology of the dolomite aquifers of the Malmani Subgroup in the
SouthWestern Transvaal, Republic of South Africa. Technical report no. GH 3169. Department
Water Affairs & Forestry, Directorate Hydrology, Pretoria.
Kok, T.S. 1972. Wes-Transvaal en Noord-Kaap waterbeplanningstreek—geologie, fonteine en
myne in opvanggebied. Technical report no. GH 1758. Department of Mines, Geological
Survey, Pretoria.
Kotze, J.C. 1994. Summary of the Geology, Geohydrology, and Boundaries of the proposed
SGWCA, District Ventersdorp, Drainage Area C24. Technical report no. 3833. Department of
Water Affairs & Forestry, Directorate Hydrology, Pretoria.
National Water Act, Act No. 36 of 1998.
Polivka, J. 1987. Geohydrological investigation of the Schoonspruit compartment in the dolomitic
area of Ventersdorp. Technical report no. GH 3524. Department of Water Affairs, Directorate
Hydrology, Pretoria.
Schoeman & Vennote. 1996. Ventersdorp Oog Ondergrondse Staatswaterbeheergebied. Report no.
B0307/2. Department of Water Affairs & Forestry, Sub directorate Water Allocation, Pretoria.
Selaolo, E.T. 1998. Tracer Studies and Groundwater Recharge Assessment in the Eastern Fringe of
the Botswana Kalahari. Ph.D. thesis, Free University of Amsterdam. GRES Project Publication.
Van Tonder, G. & Xu, Y. 2001. A guide for the estimation of groundwater recharge in South
Africa. The Institute of Groundwater Studies, Bloemfontein.
Vegter, J.R. 2001. Groundwater development in South Africa and an introduction to the
Hydrogeology of groundwater regions. Report no. TT 134/00. The Water Research
Commission, Pretoria.
Veltman, S. 2003. A Methodology for Groundwater Management in Dolomitic Terrains with the
Schoonspruit Compartment as Pilot Area. Unpublished M.Sc thesis. University of the Free
State, Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Effects of mining and urban expansion on
groundwater quality in Francistown,
Benjamin Mafa
Department of Water Affairs, Gaborone, Botswana
Horst Vogel
Department of Geological Survey, Lobatse, Botswana
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: This study was carried out as part of a technical co-

operation project between the Department of Geological Survey in
Lobatse and the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural
Resources. The aim was to determine if groundwater pollution had taken
place in Francistown (NE Botswana) due to urban expansion and/or
historic gold mining activities, and to delineate affected areas as well as
potential groundwater hazards on thematic maps which were designed in a
digital and easily readable form for future development planning by urban
planners. The results revealed that groundwater in Francistown had indeed
become polluted through pit latrines, gold mine tailings dumps, and waste
disposal sites (landfills). Different pollutants were associated with specific
pollution zones. Groundwater from boreholes located within these zones
was not suitable for human consumption because it exceeded certain
World Health Organization and Botswana Bureau of Standards
recommendations for drinking water. The study revealed that groundwater
pollution due to nitrates constitutes a real health hazard and environmental
and health hazards emanating from abandoned mines jeopardized human
safety and environmental protection and was obvious from observed
chemical “cocktail” conditions of tailings dumps and trace element
concentrations in some boreholes.


Francistown is the oldest established town in Botswana. Born during the late 19th century
as a gold mining town at the confluence of the ephemeral Tati and Ntshe sand rivers,
Effects of mining and urban expansion on groundwater quality in Francistown, Botswana 169

Francistown is the commercial hub in the NE of Botswana. The city’s rapid economic
development, in particular since the 1970s, has caused its population to triple over the last
three decades to approximately 100,000 inhabitants. Today Francistown is the second
largest city in Botswana.
In the not too distant past, water demands were entirely met by groundwater locally
available from shallow alluvial and fractured volcanic rock aquifers. However, in the
1970s it was found that groundwater produced from the city’s public wells contained
elevated concentrations of nitrate. In addition, the available limited groundwater
resources could no longer meet the steadily rising demand for water. For these reasons
public water supply was shifted in 1982 to surface water from the Shashe dam, which is
located at a distance of approximately 30km to the SW of Francistown. The Shashe dam
was built during the 1970s to supply the copper-nickel mine in Selebi-Phikwe.


The prevailing dendritic drainage pattern consists of a system of irregularly branching

tributaries and forms junctions at various acute angles. This is a manifestation of the
complex folded and contorted metamorphosed rocks where lithological variations (in
terms of weathering and erosion) are insufficient to modify this pattern.
A significant portion of the Francistown study area consists of rocks of the basement
complex including meta-volcanics of the so-called Tati schist group. The basement
complex is divided into various granitic formations and two non-granitic
lithostratigraphic units (Gibb & Partners, 1987). These are subdivided into three
formations, the first of which is correlated with the Lady Mary volcanic formation. This
formation consists of a homogeneous succession of dark coloured, fine-grained
amphibolitic schists.
The Lady Mary formation is overlain by the Penhalonga formation, which includes
both metasediments and meta-volcanics. The latter are predominantly meta-andesite
(greenstone) lavas, tuffs and agglomerates with amphibolite and meta-tuff beds (Key,
1976). The Selkirk formation at the top of the schist relic is laterally more restricted than
the other two formations and consists of mainly felsic meta-volcanic extrusives with
minor intercalations of meta-sedimentary schists.
Gold mineralization in the Francistown area is mainly from quartz reefs and fissure
veins of the Tati schist relic. Indeed the Tati schist relic has also been recognized for its
base metal potential. Copper and nickel deposits have been identified and are now mined
at the Selkirk and Phoenix mines near Matsiloje, 40km further to the SE of Francistown.
Copper-zinc anomalies have also been reported near the contact between the Penhalonga
and Lady Mary formations as well as in several ironstones in these formations.


Very little detailed groundwater monitoring of the Francistown aquifers was undertaken
since the first abstractions in the early 1950s and since the recommendations made by
Water resources of arid areas 170

consultants in 1974 (Colquhoun et al., 1974) and in 1979 respectively (Gibb & Partners,
Groundwater consultants identified the major aquifer in Francistown as the
Penhalonga mixed formation about 1.5km wide extending for at least 7km downstream of
the Tati and Ntshe river confluence (Colquhoun et al., 1974). The most productive
aquifers were recognized as relatively shallow discontinuous zones of fracturing. These
fracture zones have a high transmissivity and draw from storage in the overlying
weathered rock and alluvium. They may be up to 4m thick and are usually semi-confined
by alluvial sediments and clayey weathered rock.
Confining layers composed of sandy horizons contain water and contribute leakage
into the underlying aquifer thereby acting as perched aquifers. Weathering appears to be
confined to certain horizons within the Penhalonga mixed formation where it appears to
be restricted to the easily weathered acid meta-volcanics. Indeed the river Tati is an
excellent outward expression of this feature since it also follows the geological strike of
this formation within these acid metavolcanics. The river tends to change its course
where it traverses more competent members of the Penhalonga mixed formation.
Groundwater also occurs in the sandy channels of the rivers Tati and Ntshe and this
perennial baseflow component may also be regarded as an aquifer. Upstream of the
confluence, the river Tati is 35 to 40m wide with the average thickness of the sand bed
being 1.7m. However, sand pockets of up to 3m deep exist and increase the saturated
storage of this aquifer. Downstream of this confluence, larger volumes of water can be
stored since the river becomes wider with widths ranging from 20 to 100m and deeper
sand beds of more than 2m in parts.


The study commenced with a census of all existing wells so as to establish their
distribution, usage, and availability for sampling. A Garmin 40 hand-held GPS
( was used for coordinate acquisition. Similarly, all industries
and other sites that may have a negative impact on groundwater quality were mapped.
Boreholes that were found to be accessible in terms of water level measurement were
used together with the topographical elevation to infer groundwater flow directions. An
electrical dipper was used for water level measurements and a Trimble high-precision
GPS for ground elevation measurements as well as more accurate Cartesian coordinates.
The sampling of accessible boreholes involved the use of a Grundfos MP1
submersible pump ( equipped with riser pipes of up to 90m.
All discharge water generated while pumping was released at least 30m away from the
borehole down gradient of the prevailing land slope.
The method of sampling was such that electrical conductivity and groundwater
reaction were measured continuously until both parameters had stabilized. Once they had
stabilized a groundwater sample was taken from the particular borehole. The sample
bottles were all made of plastic. Upon sampling, water reaction (pH), electrical
conductivity (EC), and dissolved oxygen (DO) were measured using hand-held meters
( Bicarbonate and carbon dioxide (CO2) were
determined through titration.
Effects of mining and urban expansion on groundwater quality in Francistown, Botswana 171

The data obtained from the various fieldwork exercises and the hydro-chemical
laboratory analyses were used to produce several environmental geology maps. For this
to materialize, all data were transferred to the ArcView GIS software (Version 3.2)
environment ( where the various data layers were put together to
produce the thematic maps. Data obtained from the chemical analyses were also used to
deduce redox conditions, to delineate redox zones, and to determine the predominant
redox processes.


Out of the total of 202 boreholes that were identified during the well census, only 48
could be sampled for groundwater. All the others were inaccessible because of collapse,
vandalism, or else, they had fallen dry.
The vast majority of the accessible boreholes were concentrated along the two rivers
Ntshe and Tati. However, groundwater yields were generally low. Several of the few
known borehole yields were below 2m3/h, hence their proximity to the rivers. Only very
few such as the monitoring boreholes at the abandoned and the new waste disposal site
were beyond the rivers.
The chemical analyses revealed that there was not much variation in groundwater
reaction (pH). Most of the samples had neutral pH levels around 7, which is normal for
groundwater. No groundwater sample showed acid conditions.
Magnesium (Mg2+), calcium (Ca2+), and bicarbonate were the most
important ions. Hence, Mg-Ca-HCO3 type of water was dominant. In some places, Na-
Mg-Ca-HCO3 type of waters were prevalent that also featured elevated concentrations of
nitrate , chlorine (Cl¯), and sulfate The concentration of total dissolved
solids (TDS) was less than 1000mg/L in these particular boreholes.
Over most of the built-up city area the groundwater was strongly influenced by
anthropogenic activities. This was evident from TDS levels greater than 1000mg/L, and
Cl¯, and constituted the dominant anions. In order to identify and delineate
distinct groundwater pollution zones, all chemical groundwater parameters were used as
environmental indicators and mapped individually.
The concentration of oxygen allowed to identify zones with different aeration status,
namely zones with aerobic (oxic) and those with anaerobic (probably reduced)
groundwater conditions. This was the starting point towards defining likely pollution
zones and also towards predicting redox states.
In order to allow for a sound investigation it was necessary to examine the main
indicator species for redox state, namely sulphate ferrous iron (Fe2+),
manganous manganese (Mn2+), nitrate nitrite and ammonium .
As was to be expected, a comparison between these species revealed that areas with high
levels of Fe2+ and Mn2+ had at the same time low levels of and . Equally,
areas rich in sulphates and nitrates coincided with zones high in dissolved oxygen (O2),
indicating oxidizing (aerobic) conditions, while zones high in ferrous iron and
Water resources of arid areas 172

manganous manganese overlapped with zones very low in dissolved oxygen, thus
indicating reduced (anaerobic) environments. The change from one zone to another was
Important information in order to identify buffering systems was the presence of
carbon dioxide (CO2) and bicarbonate . The distribution of these two species
did not show a significant relationship to the redox state of the water. It rather was related
to the calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) distribution.
The next parameter under consideration was the distribution of chloride (Cl¯). Due to
its significant mobility, Cl¯ was meant to point to possible pollution sources. Yet, only
few zones of high concentration could be identified.
The next step was to seek out possible pollutants, that is heavy metals and other trace
elements. All heavy metals that were detected in the study area showed distributions quite
different from each other and were possibly related to mine waste sites. Zinc (Zn2+)
however was not connected to mine dumps only; very strong concentrations of reduced
Zn were much wider spread.
The spatial distribution of the different pollutants revealed that they formed zones.
Thus, once the areas with oxic (aerobic) and anoxic (anaerobic) groundwater
environments and the spatial distribution of pollutants were identified, the study area
could be divided into different pollution zones (Fig. 1):
Effects of mining and urban expansion on groundwater quality in Francistown, Botswana 173

Figure 1. Groundwater pollution zones

in Francistown in the year 2000.
Zone I—Oxidizing conditions, lots of dissolved oxygen, lots of nitrate, sulphate
present, very low concentrations of ferrous iron and manganous manganese; mostly
organic pollution.
Zone Ia—A local disturbance within Zone I showing presence of trace elements. A
small mine dump was next to this site.
Zone II—High concentrations of ferrous iron and manganous manganese, enhanced
zinc, no sulphate, no nitrate, ammonia present indicating very reduced conditions
possibly due to organic pollution but also danger from precipitation of sulphides of
different metals.
Water resources of arid areas 174

Zone III—Typical mining waste point. Elevated heavy metal and trace element
concentrations, very high arsenic concentration, but also high nitrate and sulphate levels.
Ferrous iron and manganous manganese strongly decreased.
Zone IV—Reduced zone with high Zn2+ and Cr concentrations; Fe2+ and Mn2+
enhanced. Some trace elements present.
Zone IVa—Disturbance within Zone IV with high oxygen concentration and some
elevated heavy metals and trace elements; Cl¯ also highly concentrated.
Zone V—Oxidised, very high sulphate and chloride concentrations; no nitrate; trace
elements in significant concentrations; some heavy metals present; controlled landfill.
Zone VI—Reduced, but no Fe2+ and Mn2+; Cl¯ highly concentrated; Mg2+ and Ca2+
enhanced as well as CO2 and ; some trace elements present; old and abandoned
Zone VII—Oxidising conditions; no organic pollution but very diverse trace elements
present (some of them concentrated); no potential source of pollution could be identified
from the groundwater hazards map.


The results of this study revealed that groundwater in Francistown had become polluted
through three major sources, namely pit latrines (Zones I and II), mine tailings dumps
(Zones Ia, III, IV, IVa, and VII), and waste disposal sites (Zones V and VI).

6.1 Pit latrines—Zones I and II

Chemical analyses showed that nitrate concentrations (Fig. 2) well above the Botswana
drinking water standard of 45mg/L (BOS, 2000) were frequent within the city area, that is
zones I and II. The areas where the boreholes revealed elevated nitrate levels matched
well with the areas where pit latrines where to be found. Pit latrines were located all
along the river Tati throughout the built-up area. They constitute a constant source of
organic pollution in the form of human excrements. This problem is made worse by the
fact that pit latrines are also being used to discharge household wastewater.
It is likely that a considerable amount of pollution may have been transferred into zone
I from the reduced zones IV and VII upstream to the north. Zone I was characterised by a
high concentration of dissolved oxygen. Nitrogen originating upstream as well as from
zone I itself was probably oxidized to nitrate, which showed an extremely high
concentration in the centre of the zone. Downstream the concentration of dissolved
oxygen decreased. At the same time the nitrite concentration increased, probably due to
denitrification. The high nitrate concentrations gradually decreased towards zone II. In
contrast, the concentrations of Fe2+ and Mn2+ were very low in the centre of zone I and
gradually increased towards the reducing zone II. This was typical of a redox state
controlled by bacterial activity. In zone I there was a lot of organic matter input, which
may have been used by bacteria as a source of carbon for the oxidation of Fe2+ (cf.
Christensen et al., 1995).
In the southern part of Francistown, the river Tati flows in south-easterly direction and
then bends back towards the west in the middle of zone II (cf. Fig. 1). Between the two
Effects of mining and urban expansion on groundwater quality in Francistown, Botswana 175

bends ephemeral river flows are slowed down and the observed depth to the groundwater
was shallower here than elsewhere in Francistown. In the crest of the second river bend
there were big alluvial

Figure 2. Nitrate concentrations

(mg/L) in Francistown in July/August
deposits, which probably resulted in the accumulation of organic pollution and reduced
groundwater conditions. At this point was hardly measurable but showed
strong concentration. Fe2+ and Mn2+ were also strongly concentrated along with Zn2+.
This was indicative of strong anaerobic bacterial reduction processes.
On the edge of zone II towards zone III there was an old sewage pond. This location
could be picked up in the form of a prolonged reduced zone characterized by lower
and very high Mn2+ levels. Surprisingly though, the concentration of Fe2+ was low.
From this it appeared that Mn reduction was somehow favoured over Fe reduction, which
may have been controlled by the redox state of the pond (Mn needs less energy for
oxidation than Fe).

6.2 Mine waste dumps—Zones Ia, III, IV, IVa, and VII
Several groundwater zones were indicative of pollution due to historic gold mining
activities. The strongest evidence came from the wider surroundings of the Lady Mary
mine, which is located in the SE corner of the study area (zone III). Two boreholes
located close to this abandoned mine site (strongly) violated international and Botswana
drinking water arsenic standards, which allow for a maximum of 10 ppb (µg L−1). Yet,
the groundwater in the two boreholes featured levels of 26 and 244µg (ppb) As L−1
Water resources of arid areas 176

respectively. Arsenic is very problematic in the environment because of its relative

mobility over a wide range of redox conditions (Smedley & Kinniburgh, 2001). Zinc
(Zn), copper (Cu), cadmium (Cd) and nickel (Ni) were also present in very high
concentrations. In addition, other compounds such as cobalt, titanium, scandium,
antimony, mercury, tellurium, rubidium, and thallium also showed elevated
concentrations in zone III.
Since zone III is situated in the most downstream spot of the study area, it is likely that
all sorts of organic groundwater pollutants and products of anaerobic processes
originating from zones I and II were also transferred into this area. Because the
concentration of dissolved oxygen was rather high, the redox processes obviously went
towards oxidation. The nitrite and nitrate levels were also rather high, which was
indicative of active oxidation of ammonia that must have originated from reduced zone
II. Sulphate was also very high and possibly originated from the oxidation of FeS or
MnS. At the same time the concentrations of Fe2+ and Mn2+ were strongly decreased,
which was probably the result of oxidation and the formation of insoluble Fe3+ or Mn4+
compounds. All this suggested very strong bacterial processes. In addition, the Cl
distribution in this zone was also indicative of a site characterized by pollution input. All
in all, the broad range of organic and highly toxic inorganic pollutants in zone III calls for
urgent attention.
Another menacing mine site is Monarch (Vogel & Kasper, 2002), which is located
north of the confluence of the rivers Tati and Ntshe. Surprisingly though, zone IV did not
indicate elevated levels of heavy metals or other trace elements. The only irregularities
compared to the surroundings were very high O2 and elevated cobalt and silver
concentrations but low nitrate and very low Fe2+ and Mn2+ levels. Possibly this was due
to a combination of factors such as limited rainfall in this semi-arid environment, the fine
grain-size distribution of the tailings material, and the huge size of the Monarch tailings,
which may not easily provide for acid mine drainage (leaching). Rather most of the
pollutants may remain in the oxidised crystal form.
In contrast, a couple of areas (Ia, IV, IVa, VII), which at first had not appeared
conspicuous, revealed strange irregularities in their groundwater composition. Zone IV
was very reduced with a medium concentration but high Fe2+ levels. Surprisingly,
it also showed a high zinc and a very high chromium concentration. Thallium, rubidium,
tellurium, and cadmium were also present in increased concentrations. The distribution of
Cl¯ indicated a strong pollution input upstream from this zone. The data obtained from
this zone suggested that somewhere there must have been a very strong but unrecognized
source of pollution, or else, the natural geological environment may have caused the
formation of reduced groundwater conditions and the release of metal ions into the water.
The latter was however unlikely given the granitic nature of the resident rock.
The situation was similar in zone IVa. A low dissolved O2 level and therefore a low
concentration, increased Fe2+ and Mn2+ but also increased arsenic, copper,
selenium, beryllium, tin, caesium, yttrium and tungsten concentrations. Data from this
site also revealed strong inorganic pollution even though no obvious inorganic waste
source was detected.
Zone VII was located north of zone IVa. Again, data showed enhanced concentrations
of heavy metals but not of the elements identified in zone IVa. Because no pollution
Effects of mining and urban expansion on groundwater quality in Francistown, Botswana 177

source could be detected in these two zones it is suggested that remnants of old mine
deposits may still exist in these two areas.
A small mine dump within zone I (cf. Lehmann, 2001) caused raised concentrations of
zircon, tantalum, hafnium, cerium, niobium, bismuth scandium and titanium and it was
therefore separated out as mine waste zone Ia. Increased concentrations of Cl¯ and
clearly pointed to anthropogenic pollution. The oxygen and nitrate concentrations
at this site were strongly reduced but nitrite was increased. This indicated a change in
bacterial populations from nitrifying to denitrifying bacteria.
Given the obvious similarities in groundwater pollution between the above sites, they
were put in the same pollution risk group. They may be even more hazardous than zone
III since they are situated upstream from the built-up areas. Clearly, more investigations
need to be carried out and immediate attention must be given.

6.3 Waste disposal sites—Zones V and VI

Waste disposal sites pose an environmental hazard if they give rise to the formation of
leachate plumes. The two most important factors governing the biogeochemical processes
within a leachate plume are (1) the redox state, and (2) the content of the leachate.
Determining the redox state of polluted groundwater is not easy. It is based on the
identification of redox-sensitive species. The primary redox-sensitive species in
groundwater are the dissolved ions of Fe2+, Mn2+, , , , , HS¯,
the dissolved gasses CH4, N2O and O2, and also some organic substances (Christensen et
al., 2001).
Most of these processes are driven by bacteria and therefore slow. Bacterial
populations are differentiated according to the presence (aerobs) or absence (anaerobs) of
oxygen. Hence, a crucial step for this part of the study was to determine the presence of
dissolved oxygen (O2) in the groundwater samples.
It was obvious that the two waste disposal sites in Francistown were quite different in
terms of aeration. The old landfill site (zone VI) was very poor in dissolved oxygen (O2).
It is assumed that the long-lasting deposition of waste had formed the reduced
environment and that anaerobic processes had probably taken place. In contrast, the new
landfill site (zone V) had not yet developed a reduced zone of influence. There the
concentration of O2 was quite high.
In both zones, Fe2+ and Mn2+ were only present in very low concentrations. Similarly,
was also only present in a very low concentration, and and were
probably absent. Since no significant increase in Fe2+ and Mn2+ levels and no decrease in
could be observed, and given the fact that there was only very little groundwater in
both areas (in fact, during pumping one of the sampled boreholes dried up), it is assumed
that the geochemistry and the redox states were not governed biologically. Bacteria need
water in order to thrive.
The very enhanced concentration of sulphate in zone V was probably the result
of the presence of oxygenated water and the deposition of ash and building material at
this site. Spreading out in a radial manner, sulphate looked like a serious problem. Very
Water resources of arid areas 178

similar pictures emanated from the spatial concentrations of rubidium, thallium, silver,
uranium, molybdenum, lanthanum, zircon, titanium, sodium, bromide, and boron.
The observed slightly enhanced concentrations of CO2 and may have caused
the dissolution of Ca2+ and Mg2+ out of the carbonates. Probably as a result of this, the
concentrations of these two cations were slightly raised (cf. Christensen et al., 2001).
This could have influenced the buffering system of the sediments.
Both waste disposal sites also featured high Cl¯ concentrations, though the
concentration was much wider at the new (zone V) as compared to the old landfill site
(zone VI). This supported the assumption that there was no new input of pollution at the
old landfill site. So far, the new landfill is only used to deposit inorganic waste. Once it
will be used for other kinds of waste, different processes may set in.
Considering the semi-arid environment in Francistown it may be assumed that
pollution at both landfill sites is localized, will not move readily from place to place, and
is probably confined to the soil only. From this it would follow that the two landfills had
no significant adverse effect on groundwater quality in the study area. On the other hand,
natural remediation in the form of transporting pollutants to other places or through
bacterial degradation is also not likely to take place. Thus pollution would probably stay
as a hazard for a long time.


The study highlighted that groundwater quality in Francistown had deteriorated

drastically due to the influence of urban expansion and historical mining. The three
dominant sources of pollution were identified as pit latrines, mine waste dumps, and
waste disposal sites (landfills). However, pollution from these sources was spatially
confined to those zones within which pit latrines, mine waste dumps, and landfills were
located. Groundwater from boreholes located within these zones was not suitable for
human consumption because it exceeded certain World Health Organization (WHO,
1998) and Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOS, 2000) recommendations for drinking
Amongst the three pollution sources, pit latrines were found to have had the worst
impact on groundwater quality. The chemical analyses of groundwater samples from a
total of 48 public and private wells sampled within and around Francistown showed that
nitrate concentrations were frequently well above the maximum allowable level of nitrate
in drinking water. Groundwater sampled from boreholes situated in remote areas outside
the city featured considerably less nitrate. In most cases the nitrate levels in remote areas
outside the city were below 40mg/L, which supported the assumption that the cause of
nitrate contamination was anthropogenic. Finally, the addition of nitrate through faecal
waste had in turn triggered complex redox processes that had raised the ferrous iron
(Fe2+) and sulphate concentrations of the groundwater.
Mine dumps and/or tailings also contributed to the deterioration of groundwater
quality through the addition of heavy metals, and by raising the sulphate concentration in
certain zones. However, since the vast majority of the sampled boreholes were located
along the rivers Tati and Ntshe and thus far away from the tailings, the real groundwater
Effects of mining and urban expansion on groundwater quality in Francistown, Botswana 179

hazards emanating from the tailings may have gone unnoticed. Clearly, further
investigations are required.
Amongst the three major pollutants, landfills had the least impact on groundwater
quality. They are sited away from the main aquifer and within rock formations that yield
little groundwater. Because of the limited rainfall in the study area, pollutants within
these zones are likely to stay contained within the area. Only occasionally will they be
flushed out during the rainy season and become diluted.


Groundwater from a substantial number of boreholes was found to be not suitable for
human consumption. It is therefore necessary to determine which boreholes are used for
humans so as to discontinue their use. As a rule, the Francistown city council ought to
adopt a development strategy that places more emphasis on an environmental approach to
planning taking into account the existing water resources. For example, all new
infrastructures should be placed as far away as possible from the rivers because the
aquifers in the area are dependent on rainfall and river recharge. Activities such as the
recent aligning of the sewage pipelines along the riverbanks must in future be avoided by
all means. Such activities not only destroy a natural flood barrier but they may in fact
lead to serious water pollution.
Similarly, any new development must not include pit latrines. Since a sewage
reticulation system has been put in place throughout the city, it is necessary to educate the
residents on the need to connect to the sewerage and put an end to the use of pit latrines.
So far, connection to the sewerage system is on a voluntary basis and pit latrines (and
septic tanks) are currently still the main means of wastewater discharge in the newly
connected areas.
The study also confirmed that environmental and health hazards emanating from
abandoned mine tailings must be dealt with in a way that guarantees human safety and
environmental protection. The reported chemical “cocktail” conditions of tailings and the
observed trace element concentrations in some boreholes make this obvious.
The waste disposal (landfill) sites appeared to have been well sited in areas of low
groundwater yields. But continuous monitoring is necessary in order to determine the
dynamics of possible plume development so as to act upon possible groundwater
pollution. Further investigations are also necessary to determine the source of heavy
metals and other pollutants at the new landfill site.


Colquhoun, B., O’Donnel, H. & Partners 1974. Redevelopment of the Francistown groundwater
studies report. Phases I, II and III. Australian Groundwater Consultants.
BOS 2000. Water quality—Drinking water—Specification. BOS 32, Botswana Bureau of Standards,
Gaborone, Botswana.
Christensen, T.H., Kjelsden, P., Bjerk, P.L., Jensen, D.L., Christensen, J.B., Baun, A. Albrechtsen,
H.J. & Heron, G. 2001. Biogeochemistry of landfill leachate plumes. Applied Geochemistry:
Water resources of arid areas 180

Gibb, A. Sir & Partners 1987. Francistown Water Development. Pre-Investment Study. Appendices
B1 and B2. Water Resources. Water Utilities Corporation, Botswana.
Key, R. 1976. The geology of the area around Francistown and Phikwe, Northeast and Central
Districts, Botswana. District Memoir 3, 121p. plus maps, Dept. Geological Survey (DGS),
Lobatse, Botswana.
Lehmann, A. 2001. Conceptual map of the urban soils of Francistown. Draft map and explanations
with special reference to town planning and environmental quality. Report by the
Environmental Geology Division, Dept. of Geological Survey (DGS), 48p, Lobatse, Botswana.
Smedley, P.K. & Kinniburgh, D.G. (2001). Source and behaviour of arsenic in natural waters. In:
United Nations Synthesis Report on Arsenic in Drinking Water.
Vogel, H. & Kasper, B. 2002. Mine soils on abandoned gold mine tailings in Francistown. Report
by the Environmental Geology Division, Dept. of Geological Survey (DGS), 43p., Lobatse,
WHO (1998). Guidelines for drinking water quality. World Health Organization, 2nd ed., Volumes
1 and 2, Geneva, Switzerland.
In situ remediation potential for Southern
African groundwater resources
Sumaya Clarke, Gideon Tredoux & Pannie Engelbrecht
Water Programme, Environmentek, CSIR, Stellenbosh
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: In situ groundwater remediation is practised in Europe, the

United States, New Zealand and Canada. Widely accepted treatment
methods include, permeable reactive barriers, redox manipulation, the
Vyredox® method and biological denitrification. The permeable reactive
barrier is widely used for contaminant removal. It consists of a
constructed trench filled with a contaminant specific reagent, such as
sawdust or wood chips for the promotion of biological denitrification.
Other techniques include in situ redox manipulation which requires
dithionite injection and in situ biological denitrification, which uses
substrates such as ethanol or methanol. The Nitredox® and Vyredox®
methods use a sophisticated arrangement of injection and aeration
boreholes to manipulate oxidation and reduction to control nitrate, iron
and manganese concentrations in the aquifer. Concern about nitrate as a
chemical constituent of groundwater is increasing, especially in the arid
and semi-arid regions of Southern Africa. Livestock losses, and “blue
baby syndrome” in humans, result from high nitrate concentrations in
drinking water. Hence, there is a need to remediate groundwater with
nitrate concentrations above the required standard. Low cost, robust and
simple treatment technologies are needed for rural water supply in
Southern Africa. This paper gives an overview of the performance of full
scale and pilot scale treatment plants. An estimate was made of the costs
of applying selected in situ treatment options for a South African town.
The order of difference in cost between in situ and ex situ treatment plants
is calculated. The geological and hydrogeological parameters required for
successful operation of most in situ treatment systems are described.
Advantages and disadvantages of in situ treatment are also mentioned.
Water resources of arid areas 182


Research into groundwater remediation methods has been intensified and various
techniques have been tested and applied. “Pump and treat” technologies have been
widely used in the USA. The success of this method has been questioned, considering its
excessive costs, (Simon et al., 2001). As an alternative, in situ technologies are being
developed and applied for removing contaminants in the aquifer. Literature references to
more than 100 successfully operating sites confirm that permeable reactive barriers can
remove a variety of contaminants including halogenated organic compounds, metals,
nitrates, acid mine drainage, phosphorous, chromium and gasoline/petrol derivatives
using various reactive materials in the barrier.
The currently operating sites range from household scale permeable reactive barriers
to industrial sites, to mining and wastewater treatment plants and municipal well fields
(Robertson and Cherry, 2003). Slowly degradable carbon sources are placed in barriers
perpendicular to the flow and such treatment occurs with a high success rate. The
Nitredox® plant in Vienna, Austria to treat nitrate, iron and manganese; has been
operated successfully for more than a decade. Various low cost, robust treatment
techniques like permeable reactive barriers and biological denitrification have proven to
be successful in Canada, New Zealand, Austria, France, and the USA. Cost implication of
implementing any in situ technology is important and need to be taken

Figure 1. Map showing the distribution

of nitrate (as NO3) in Southern Africa.
In situ remediation potential for Southern African groundwater resources 183

into consideration. A cost estimation, performed for a town in the Northern Cape
Province, South Africa demonstrates the cost difference between in situ and ex situ
treatment methods.
Internationally a nitrate concentration of 10mg/L as N (45mg/L as NO3) is accepted as
guidelines for health risk. The maximum allowable level is set as 20mg/L as N (90mg/L
as NO3) in South Africa. Nitrate concentrations in groundwater are alarmingly high in
some parts of Southern Africa as shown in Figure 1. The northern provinces of South
Africa all have many groundwater sources with nitrate concentrations ranging from 251–
500mg/L. In some areas concentrations up to 1000mg/L occur, while the Southern
Kalahari has concentrations of up to 2000mg/L, particularly in the more saline areas,
(Marais, 1999, Tredoux et al., 2000).
In view of the prevalence of nitrate in groundwater, this paper focuses on in situ
denitrification as a viable treatment option for town and rural applications. It is crucial
that groundwater pollution be taken seriously, and that remediation and protection of the
groundwater resources available be considered as a priority in countries affected by
pollution. Surface water resources are limited, more particularly in arid and semi arid
regions, and with groundwater being unfit for use by inhabitants of these regions, a
serious threat is posed to the survival and growth of communities affected.


Many methods are successfully being employed to denitrify groundwater. Permeable

Reactive Barriers and Biological Denitrification methods are the most widely used of the
many methods identified, hence these methods will be discussed in further detail.


Permeable reactive barriers (PRB) are constructed across the flow path of the migrating
plume of contaminated groundwater. These systems are typically designed as a
continuous trench, filled
Water resources of arid areas 184

Figure 2. Permeable reactive barrier in

situ denitrification system, shown here
on a rural/local scale.
with permeable, reactive material. Alternatively, a funnel and gate configuration is used,
which includes impermeable sections, directing the groundwater flow through the
permeable treatment “gates” (Robertson and Cherry, 1995, 2000, Blowes et al., 2000,
Schipper & Vojvodic-Vukovic, 2000). These treatment systems may be applied for the
removal of various anions, cations, organic compounds and inorganic compounds.
Configurations and system design is generally site and contaminant specific, e.g. for
mitigation of nitrate at on site sanitation (see Fig 2).
Requirements for the denitrification barriers (“walls”) include the following:
● The site should have a shallow water table;
● Aquifer parameters should be well understood;
● The aquifer thickness and composition should allow for constructing the wall i.e. not
more than 10m deep.
● Boreholes should be placed on either side of the wall to sample groundwater to monitor
chemical and microbiological changes.
● Analysis of groundwater and soil should be done prior to installation of the PRB to
estimate the amount of carbon substrate required.


Biologically enhanced denitrification requires injection of readily available carbon

substrates such as ethanol, methanol, sucrose and glucose to serve as a source of energy
for promoting microbiological activity. Various configurations of the method may be
In situ remediation potential for Southern African groundwater resources 185

used to suit site-specific requirements. The most successful configurations are those used
in Vienna and Nebraska. A list of operational systems is presented in Table 1.
The daisy configuration is shown in Figure 3. Most of the biological denitrification
systems use variations of this basic configuration. The area in the sketch labelled (IV)
represents nitrate polluted water. The “daisy” represents the area (in plan view)
progressively affected by the denitrification due to substrate (carbon source) injection.
The reaction takes place in zone I, followed by filtration of any by-products in zone II
while the nitrate free water (or water with a lowered nitrate concentration) is found in
zone III.
The Nitredox® system consists of one pumping borehole located at the centre of two
concentric circles of injection boreholes. It involves injection of an organic substrate
(outer ring) to enhance denitrification, but includes an additional phase of aerated water
injection for the oxidation and removal of iron (inner ring) once the nitrogen is removed.
The groundwater recovered from the
Table 1. Some pilot and field operational
denitrification sites and their experiences.
Method and Period NO3- Aquifer Carbon Injection/ Nitrate
location Nmg/L substrate barrier removed
PRB, Canada 5 yrs+ 5–57 Primary Sawdust/ Emplaced 58–91%
(1) woodchips barrier
PRB, New 5 yrs+ 5–15 Unconfined, Sawdust Emplaced 95+%
Zealand (2) sandy barrier
Electrokinetics/ Test Controlled Primary/ None: Abiotic Emplacement 84–87%
Fe-wall, period amounts secondary of wall and
USA(3) electrodes
NitrEI system, Many Up to Primary/ None: Electrodes Reduced
Canada (4) Currently 1000 unsaturated Electrochemical down to
operating zone electrodes 0.1mgN/L
Daisy wheel, 40 Sand and Ethanol C and P 35%-c-
ISBD, gravel injection injection;
Nebraska (5) 90–100%
Nitredox, 15 years 14 Primary Ethanol P injection 75%
ISBD, Vienna aquifer
ISBD, line of 226–565 Chalk Ethanol 80%
France (7)
C-Continuous injection, P-pulse injection. (1) Robertson and Cherry (1995, 2000), Blowes
et al., (1999), (2) Schipper & Vojvodic-Vukovic, 2001, (3) Chew and Zhang, 1998 and
Loo, 2000, (4), (5) Khan & Spalding (1998), (6) Braester and Martinell (1988), Jechlinger
et al., (1991), (7) Chevron et al., (1998).
Water resources of arid areas 186

Figure 3. Biological denitrification

treatment system with “daisy”
configuration (after Mercado, 1988).
Table 2. Cost estimation of implementation of in
situ denitrification compared to ex situ treatment
(amounts in S A Rand).
Method PRB ISBD Ex situ
Capital investment 61332 100289 350000
Operation and 0.1 0.3 2
maintenance per m3
Projected running 71144 21343 2845740
expenses over 5 yrs
Projected total cost 132476 313720 3195740
over 5 yrs

central production borehole is partly free of nitrate but completely free of iron,
manganese or other by-products (Braester and Martinell, 1988). This method has been
applied to coastal aquifers and primary aquifers. Where biological denitrification is
implemented, it is important to know and monitor the permeability and porosity.
Clogging may result when the carbon substrate injection exceeds the amount required for
denitrification. The method has been applied mainly to primary aquifers where flow
dynamics are well understood.
In situ remediation potential for Southern African groundwater resources 187


In Southern Africa, denitrification per se is not applied. Treatment methods use

expensive ex situ pump and treat systems such as desalinisation by ion exchange. These
do not specifically treat nitrate and does not obtain optimum results with respect to nitrate
concentrations. There is a number of test and full-scale in situ denitrification plants all
over the world. Table 1 lists some of these sites, their experiences and shows the variety
of configurations, carbon sources and aquifer types to which in situ denitrification has
been applied.
These methods are mainly applied in sand; gravel and other primary aquifer type
settings, although it has been used in chalk aquifers as well. Implementation in secondary
aquifer settings is said to be possible and has been modelled for sites in the UK (Cartmell
et al., 1999).


The PRB systems in Canada have been operational for more than 5 years and are used on
various scales including household, municipal, and huge water treatment plants.
In New Zealand, the reactive barrier had to be replaced after 5 years of operation as
reactive material had clogged parts of the aquifer.
In the USA, the electrokinetic methods worked better when combined with iron walls.
The biological denitrification used in Nebraska used both continuous and pulse
injection regimes. The continuous carbon source injection was more efficient in
denitrification but led to complete biofouling after 10 days. The system used inner
oxidation ring to remove possible nitrite, iron and manganese.
In Vienna, where the Nitredox® method is currently operational, clogging was
experienced. Pulse injection and reduction of the amount of ethanol (carbon source)
prevented clogging of the system.
In France, natural in situ denitrification was carbon limited. Remediation by carbon
source addition was selected to accelerate denitrification. Denitrification was achieved in
long time operation (450 days). Rates of denitrification were improved when trace metals
were supplied in conjunction with the carbon substrate.


The costs of implementing denitrification were estimated for Marydale in the Northern
Cape Province of South Africa. The results are shown in Table 2. In situ application was
compared with a conventional ex situ method. In Marydale, a well field containing 10
boreholes is used as the town water supply. Half of these boreholes, produce groundwater
of nitrate concentration above the maximum allowable 20mg/L, (Hofmann, 1997).
Microbiological sampling showed that coliform counts of 15/100ml in some boreholes
were three times as much as the SABS specification (Hofmann, 1997). No faecal
Water resources of arid areas 188

coliforms were detected. This gives an indication that no human or animal waste reaches
the boreholes.
Exploration boreholes drilled in the area revealed that a primary and a secondary
aquifer are present in the area. The secondary fracture system is not well understood, but
it is believed that the bed rock is not very permeable. The main water bearing unit is the
alluvial cover of more or less 12m thick. The aquifer material consists of sedimentary
layers containing primarily sand and silt. The Projected water demand of the town for
2005 is 142287m3/a (Shand and VSA, 1997).
Capital expenses for permeable reactive barriers (PRB) include excavation costs, wall
emplacement costs and dewatering prior to wall emplacement. Woodchips or sawdust
was considered as suitable permeable reactive barrier material as these are cheap and
slowly degradable carbon sources. The barrier size is based on the size of the well field
and the depth to bedrock. The largest contribution to capital costs for in situ biological
denitrification (ISBD) methods include borehole construction costs, purchasing of
injections pumps among other costs. Erecting infrastructure is a major expense for
conventional treatment plants.
Running costs were based on the projected annual water demand and estimated
chemical costs. The PRB method requires limited maintenance. In the calculation,
operation and running costs are included; however, they may not occur frequently for
methods like PRB. Operational and maintenance costs are relevant especially when
clogging or partial clogging of wells occurs.
Pump and treat methods and other ex situ methods (in this case ion-exchange)
generally cost an order of magnitude more than in situ methods. It is clear from this
information that rural communities for which funding is not always in surplus may
capitalize on this advantage as well as the ease of use of some of these methods. Proper
management and monitoring of sites are essential to detect potential clogging cases early
and to put remedial measures in place.


Field scale plants have proven in situ technologies to be successful. The nitrate removal
rate at most currently operating sites are high. It is evident from Table 2 that the
permeable reactive barrier method is the most cost effective method. Capital costs are
relatively low and it requires little or no additional treatment of groundwater after passing
through the system. Installation and running costs of ex situ treatment exceed that of in
situ methods.
Operational sites in the US, Canada and New Zealand showed that barrier material
replacement was only required after 5 years, while ex situ methods have set running
expenses per cubic meter of water. The largest full-scale in situ denitrification plant uses
the Nitredox® principle. This plant is located at Bisamberg, Vienna (Austria) and has
been operating successfully for more than a decade (Jechlinger et al., 1991). It uses
ethanol as the carbon substrate and the process is regulated to ensure that the raw water
nitrate, which exceeds 65mg/L, is reduced to approximately 35mg/L in the product water.
There are advantages as well as some disadvantages of in situ treatment technologies.
Some advantages of implementing such a treatment system include minimal exposure to
In situ remediation potential for Southern African groundwater resources 189

dangerous chemicals, job creation in rural villages, little or no treatment required at the
surface, possible treatment of other contaminants due to redox changes, costs savings in
comparison to conventional ex situ treatment plants, low maintenance costs, simple to use
technologies, and no need for electricity (PRB- method).
Disadvantages include possibilities of clogging of boreholes. This occurs when the
carbon dosage is in excess of the required amount. Sulphate reduction may occur when
carbon substrate dosage is too high and result in acetate production as a by-product of
microbial activity (Israel, 2004, unpublished data). Loss of hydraulic permeability of the
aquifer is possible if carbon addition is not effectively managed. Preferential flow of
groundwater can occur, where a great contrast develops between the treatment zone and
the rest of the aquifer and the path of least resistance is taken by the groundwater. Hence
monitoring of the above mentioned parameters is very important. Cautionary measures
include proper estimation of the required amount of carbon substrate, and monitoring the
effective porosity and permeability of the aquifer before, after and during treatment.
Management of implementation and monitoring are essential for success. It is
important to note that no microbes are added to initiate the process, as this would affect
the ecosystems that are already established at any specific site. There are many strains of
bacteria that occur naturally under the various environmental conditions, which are
capable of denitrification. Although some scientists may prefer to add appropriate
bacteria to initiate the process but the addition of a carbon source is sufficient to activate
resident bacteria.


In situ groundwater treatment methods are widely used and accepted in the US, Canada,
Europe and New Zealand. Literature shows that various in situ methods for a range of
heavy metals, organic compounds and other constituents have been successfully
implemented at field scale in these countries. In situ denitrification methods are also
viable treatment methods which are successfully implemented and currently operating.
The cost analysis performed in South Africa, showed that there is an order of magnitude
difference between the costs of ex situ and in situ treatment plants. Optimal conditions for
most in situ treatment methods include the following:
● Primary aquifer systems, or well understood secondary aquifers (with respect to flow
characteristics and porosity/permeability).
● Aquifer material can include sand, gravel, and chalk material.
● A known concentration of nitrate-nitrogen is important for estimation of the
appropriate quantity of carbon substrate.
● A maximum aquifer thickness of 20m for injection type methods (e.g. ISBD) and 10m
for emplacement methods (e.g. PRB).
● Monitoring of aquifer parameters (permeability, hydraulic conductivity etc.), chemical
changes (pH, Eh, etc.) and microbiological changes with time.
It is important to note that no foreign microbes are added, as this would affect the
ecosystems that are already established at any specific site. Although some scientists may
Water resources of arid areas 190

prefer to add appropriate bacteria, addition of a carbon source is sufficient to activate

resident bacteria.


Blowes, D.W., Ptacek, C.J., Benner, S.G., McRae, C.W.T., Bennett, T.A. & Puls, R.W. 2000.
Treatment of inorganic contaminants using permeable reactive barriers. Jnl. of Contaminant
Hydrology, 45:123–137.
Braester, C. & Martinell, R. 1988. The Vyredox and Nitredox method in situ treatment of
groundwater, Wat. Sci. Tech., 20(3):149–163.
Cartmell, E., Clark, L., Oakes, D., Smith, S. & Tomkins, J. 1999. Feasibility of In situ
Bioremedition of Nitrate in Aquifer systems, R & D Technical Report P277, WRC report no. EA
Chevron, F, Lecomte, P., Darmendrail, D. & Charbonnier, P. 1998. Rehabilitation de qualitè
physicochimique d’un aquifere contaminepar des nitrates d’origine industrielle- un example en
region Nord-Pas de Calais. L’Eau, L’Industrie, Les Nuisances, 208(31–35) (In French).
Chew, C.F. & Zhang, T.C. 1998. In situ remediation of nitrate contaminated ground water by
electrokinetics/ iron wall process. Water Science and Technology, 38(7):135–142.
EPA, 1995. In situ remediation technology status report: Treatment walls. Report No. EPA/540/K-
94/004. Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, US Environmental Protection Agency.
Israel, S., 2004, Subsurface Manipulation of the Nitrogen Cycle: In-Situ denitrification and its
potential for remediation of contaminated soil and ground water resources: Case Study:
Marydale, Northern Cape, MSc research, unpublished data, University of Stellenbosch.
Jechlinger, G., Schöller, F., Seidelberger, F., & Zibuschka, F. 1991. Denitrification In Situ. In:
Proc. of I.W.S.A workshop: Inorganic nitrogen compounds and water supply. Hamburg, 27–29
Khan, I.A., & Spalding, R.F. 1998. Denitrification using a daisy well system. Presentation to
National Sanitation Foundation International Symposium, Safe Drinking Water in Small
Systems: Technology, Operations, and Econimics. Washington D.C., May 10–13.
Kruithof, J.C., Van Paasen, J.A.M., Hijnen, W.A.M., Dierx, H.A.L. & Van Bennekom, C.A. 1985.
Experiences with nitrate removal in the eastern Netherlands. Proc. Nitrates Dans les Eaux, Paris
22–24 October.
Loo, W.W. 2000. Electrokinetic treatment of hazardous wastes. Standard Encyclopedia of
Environmental Science and Technology, New York, McGraw Hill,: 14.69–14.84.
Mercado, A., Libhaber, M. & Soares, M.I.M. 1988. In situ biological groundwater. denitrification:
Concepts and preliminary field test. Wat. Sci. Tech., 20(3):197–209.
Ninham Shand and VSA Consulting, 1997, Geohidrologiese Ondersoek van die
Groundwaterbronne by Marydale, Noord-Kaap Provinsie, VSA Conculting pty. Ltd.
Robertson, W.D. & Cherry, J.A. 1995. In situ denitrification of septic system nitrate using reactive
porous media barriers: Field trials. Ground Water, 33(1):99–111.
Robertson, W.D., Ford, G. & Lombardo, P. 2003. Wood-Based Filter for Nitrogen Removal in
Septic Systems, (Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality), (unpublished).
Schipper, L.A. & Vojvodic-Vukovic, M. 2000. Nitrate removal from groundwater and
denitrification rates in a porous treatment wall amended with sawdust. Ecol Engineering,
Schipper, L.A. & Vojvodic-Vukovic, M. 2001. Five years of nitrate removal, denitrification and
carbon dynamics in a denitrification wall. Wat. Res. Research, 35(14):3473–3477.
Tredoux, G, Talma, A.S. & Engelbrecht, J.F.P. 2000. The increasing nitrate hazard in groundwater
in the rural areas. Paper presented at WISA 2000, Sun City, RSA, May 2000.
Coastal aquifers intrusion at semi-arid region
of Turkey
Technical University of Istanbul, Civil Engineering, Hydraulic Division,
Maslak, Istanbul, Turkey
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: Coastal aquifers are important sources of water for

domestic, agricultural and industrial uses. Under natural conditions the
hydraulic gradient is towards the sea so that there is a natural outflow of
fresh groundwater. Frequently the hydraulic gradient is small. Therefore
very little extraneous activity is required to disturb the natural system and
cause the fresh water to become. This situation poses a difficult
management problem which is best addressed by means of mathematical
models. This research describes the use of such models together with the
difficulties likely to be encountered.


1.1 Relationship between the level of the water table and the depth to the
saline wedge
A relation between the level of the water table and the depth to the saline wedge in an
unconfined aquifer under steady conditions of flow (Badon Ghijben, 1889; Herzberg,
1901, Davis, 1978) points out that Joseph DuCommun (1828) made similar observations.
Prior to the work of these pioneers it was thought that saline water occurred at a depth
close to sea level. The saline water close to the sea shore is defined by Badon Ghijben-
Herzberg equation, which was derived by a simple application of hydrostatics. The
weight of a column of fresh water of height hf+z is equal to the weight of a column of
saline water of height z. If rof and ros are the densities of fresh and saline water
respectively, it is given in equilibrium conditions



If the relative densities of fresh and saline water are taken as 1.0 and 1.025 respectively,
Water resources of arid areas 192

z=40 hf

This expression is a good approximation in steady state conditions when the zone of
dispersion is only a small fraction of the saturated thickness of the aquifer. Since fresh
water is flowing along the interface some mixing will occur due principally to
microscopic and macroscopic dispersion. When the saline and fresh water mix in the
zone of dispersion then the diluted saline water becomes less dense and will rise along a
seaward path. The resulting mechanism is similar to thermal convection, the only
difference being that the gradients are caused by changes in density due to changes in
salinity instead of temperature (Cooper, 1964). This flow will advect some saline water
towards the sea. Therefore, in order to preserve the saline mass balance, a small flow of
saline water must occur in the landward direction. This flow creates a head loss, thus a
reduction in pressure at the interface and a reduction in the level of the interface. This
application gives the position and movement of a saline front in a coastal aquifer.

1.2 Groundwater flow equation

Using the Darcy’s law and the law of conservation of mass to a control volume, (Pinder
and Bredehoeft, 1968; Konikow and Bredehoeft, 1978) gives


where Tij=transmissivity tensor (L2T−1)

h=hydraulic head (L) above a reference point
S=storage coefficient (−)
W=source or sink volume flow term (LT−1), positive for outflow (=W (xi, t), i=1, 2.
This is usually the recharge, pumping and evapotranspiration).
xi, Xj=Cartesian coordinates (L)
t=time (T)
The advection-dispersion equation is given using the notation of Konikow and
Bredehoeft (1978) as;

where Dij=coefficient of hydrodynamic dispersion (L2T−1)

Vi=seepage velocity in the direction xi (LT−1)
C=concentration of the pollutant (ML−3)
C′=concentration of the pollutant in the source or sink fluid (ML−3)
b=saturated thickness of the aquifer (L)
E=effective porosity of the porous medium (−)
This equation gives the change in chemical concentration due to kinematic dispersion
and diffusion, the effect of advective transport and the removal of pollutant due to fluid
sources and sinks.
Coastal aquifers intrusion at semi-arid region of Turkey 193


2.1 Solutions of the groundwater equations

Therefore the interface is not sharp and a mixing zone exists, the thickness of which
depends upon the hydrodynamics of the aquifer. If this transition zone is only a small
fraction of the saturated thickness of the aquifer then the assumption of a sharp interface
is reasonable and a good mathematical description of the shape of the saline wedge can
be obtained. The thickness of the fresh water wedge decreases in the seaward direction
and the slope of the water table steepens towards the coast. Therefore the shape of the
interface is concave upwards.
If the more realistic view is taken that the fresh and saline water are miscible, then the
interface cannot be sharp and the mathematical description of the problem becomes more
complicated. The assumption of a sharp interface cannot be considered reasonable if the
flow situation varies with time since the hydrostatic pressure distribution will vary and
the assumed interface will move either landwards or seawards. This results in the sharp
interface being replaced by a zone of dispersion in which the salinity of the water varies
from fresh to very saline. Clearly the simplifying assumption of a sharp interface makes
for a mathematically simpler but less accurate model.

2.2 Sharp interface models

The relationship between groundwater levels and the depth to the saline wedge is given
by Badon Ghijben and Herzberg who, working independently, developed a relationship
between the level of the water table and the depth to the saline wedge in an unconfined
aquifer under steady conditions of flow (Badon Ghijben, 1889; Herzberg, 1901). Davis
(1978) points out that Joseph DuCommun (1828) made similar observations. Prior to the
work of these pioneers it was thought that saline water occurred at a depth close to sea
level. In contemporary practice the result is always referred to as the Badon Ghijben-
Herzberg equation. This equation is derived by a simple application of hydrostatics. Since
the interface is stationary then the weight of a fresh water above the interface is exactly
balanced by the pressure of the saline water below the interface. By consideration of the
Figure it can be seen that the weight of a column of fresh water of height hf+z is equal to
the weight of a column of saline water of height z. If rof and ros are the densities of fresh
and saline water respectively, then for equilibrium

If the relative densities of fresh and saline water are taken as 1.0 and 1.025 respectively,
z=40 hf

This simple expression gives a remarkably good first approximation to the depth below
sea level of the interface under steady state conditions when the zone of dispersion is
only a small fraction of the saturated thickness of the aquifer.
Water resources of arid areas 194

This concept can be further developed to determine the extent of the penetration of the
saline wedge inland. Many analyses can readily be developed, for example the
determination of the shape of the interface when the seepage surface is submerged
beneath the sea (Glover, 1964) and the shape of the saline upcone beneath a pumping
well in a coastal aquifer (Schmorak and Mercado, 1969; Sahni, 1972).

2.3 A sharp interface with some mixing

When a sharp interface is assumed, then this interface is a flowline in the same way as the
water table is a flowline. Hence it is a boundary condition for the problem. Since fresh
water is flowing along the interface some mixing will occur due principally to
microscopic and macroscopic dispersion. When the saline and fresh water mix in the
zone of dispersion then the diluted saline water becomes less dense and will rise along a
seaward path. The resulting mechanism is similar to thermal convection, the only
difference being that the gradients are caused by changes in density due to changes in
salinity instead of temperature (Cooper, 1964). This flow will advect some saline water
towards the sea. Therefore, in order to preserve the saline mass balance, a small flow of
saline water must occur in the landward direction. This flow creates a head loss, thus a
reduction in pressure at the interface and a reduction in the level of the interface as
predicted from the Badon Ghijben-Herzberg equation. The mechanism is shown in
It is possible to extend these concepts to determine the solutions to various moving
interface problems. However, except for some very restrictive cases, analytical solutions
do not exist. Hence numerical methods are required to solve the resulting equations,
which usually means that it is more convenient to use commercially available
groundwater quality models. Approximate solutions for moving interface problems,
including numerical ones, are discussed by Bear (1979).

2.3.1 Equations of groundwater flow and advection—dispersion

The above section dealt with some very simple first approximations for determining the
position and movement of a saline front in a coastal aquifer. Whilst these are useful in the
early stages of a study they do not permit a full solution to the majority of aquifer
problems. For example they cannot deal with spatial variations of geology or aquifer
parameters nor with multi-layered aquifers. In order to achieve this two equations are
required, one to describe the groundwater flow and one to describe the movement of the
salt. These will be considered in turn.

2.4 Solutions of the groundwater equations

The finite difference method is used for solving this type of differential equations. The
first step is to give the area of the model in mathematical terms, which is called the
solution domain. This solution domain is covered by a rectangular grid which can be
either regular or irregular. The differential equation is replaced by a set of difference
equations, one for each grid point. This results in n×m simultaneous equations which
have to be solved, where n is the number of rows and m is the number of columns of the
Coastal aquifers intrusion at semi-arid region of Turkey 195

grid. The finite difference method is, perhaps, the most frequently used technique for
solving the flow equation. However, it is not often used to solve the advection-dispersion
equation because of a phenomenon known as numerical dispersion. The numerical
solution usually appears to advance the solute at a rate which is greater than is physically
possible. Finite difference schemes can be developed to minimize dispersion. However
they are liable to cause either overshooting or undershooting which appear in the solution
as oscillations. Van Genuchten (1976) analyzed and gave as a result that the finite
element schemes will usually yield more accurate solutions than finite difference ones.
There are some rules which can be helpful in minimizing the effects of dispersion. These
use a form of the Peclet number, Pe, and the Courant number, C. The grid should be
designed such that Pe(=dx/De)<4, where dx is some characteristic grid size and De is
some characteristic dispersivity.
The finite element method was first developed in the solid mechanics (1950). Then it
was used to solve the groundwater flow equation. The finite element method is an
integral (as opposed to differential) approach in which the regular grid of the standard
finite difference method is replaced by an irregular polygonal mesh which allows the
modeller to describe natural shapes more precisely. In groundwater the polygonal shape
is, almost always triangular. The finite element mesh can be adapted to describe the
irregular shape of the boundary and obtained an accurate description of rapidly varying
phenomena. In this approach the piezometric surface is approximated by a series of small
triangular surfaces which can be flat or curved. If the chosen basic functions are linear
then the surfaces will be flat and the variation of head within each element will be linear.
The point of intersection of the triangles is called a node and each triangle is called an
element. The equation is solved by a weighted residual technique of which the most
popular one is the Galerkin method. In this method the weighting functions are made
equal to the basic functions and the integration is then performed over each element and
summed to yield the contribution from all the elements that make up the solution domain.
The finite element method is a powerful and mathematically elegant technique but it is
difficult to program.
The method of characteristics was developed to solve hyperbolic partial differential
equations (Courant and Friedrichs, 1948) and was first used for flow through porous
media by Gardner et al. (1964). They proposed the method because they argued that
when flow velocities become large the dispersion equation is, essentially, hyperbolic. The
method has been extensively applied for solving the advection-dispersion equation and is
now the basis of one of the standard solute transport models (Konikow and Bredehoeft,
1978). The solutions are x=x(t), y=y(t) and C=C(t), where x and y are the coordinates in a
Cartesian system, C is the pollutant concentration and t is time. These are called the
characteristic curves of, in this case, the advection-dispersion equation. Once these
solutions are available then a solution of the advection-dispersion equation can be
obtained by following the characteristic curves. Gardner et al. (1964) state that “Each
point corresponds to one characteristic curve and values of x, y and C are obtained as
functions of t for each characteristic”. Essentially this is the Lagrangian approach of
classical hydrodynamics. It is particularly useful for making cross-sectional models of
saline intrusion.
There are many other methods for solving the groundwater flow and advection-
dispersion equations, as integrated finite differences (Tyson and Weber, 1963; Goodwill,
Water resources of arid areas 196

1980), boundary element methods (Liggett and Liu, 1983) and analytic elements (Strack,


The model requires substantial amounts of field data, the collection of which is both time
consuming and expensive. The hydrological and geological data are used for the area to
be modeled. These data are:
● Surface and subsurface geology.
● Piezometric levels for all the aquifers contained in the system.
● Aquifer characteristics and likely boundaries, soils, land use and vegetations.
Since aquifers are subject to recharge and pumping, data on the quantities and timing of
these will be required. Such data will include precipitation, evapotranspiration and
pumping. If irrigation is undertaken, then also rates of application and return flows and
river flows are required, including flows to and from the rivers to the aquifers if they are
not in direct hydraulic contact. Since the concern here is with saline intrusion then data
on salinity, both areally and vertically, will be required. If any of these data do not exist
or are too scanty, then a field programme will be required to collect them. In order to
collect and plot all these data an accurate topological map is essential, the scale of which
will depend on the size of the aquifer and the scale of the problem being studied. This
map should show the surface contours, surface water bodies, streams and man-made
watercourses such as irrigation canals and drainage ditches.


Bear, J. 1972. Hydraulics of Groundwater. New York, McGraw-Hill Book Co., 567 p.
Bras, R.L. & Rodriguez-Iturbe, I. 1976. Evaluation of mean square error involved in approximating
the areal average of a rainfall event by a discrete summation, Water Resources Research, 12(2),
181–184, a.
Hubbert, M.K. 1940. The Theory of Ground-Water Motion, The Journal of Geology, 48(8), Part-I,
Pinder, G.F. 1982. Finite Element Simulation in Surface and Subsurface Hydrology, Gallagher,
Vol. 4.
Pinder, G.F. & Abriola, L.M. 1982. Calculation of Velocity in three space dimensions from
hydraulic head measurements, Groundwater, 20, 205–213.
Pinder, G.F. & Gray, W. 1982. Finite Elements in Water Resources, edited by P.Holz, V.Meissner
& C.A.Brebbia (eds), Berlin, Springer Verlag: 4.
Rushton, K.R. & Redshaw, S.C. 1979. Seepage and Groundwater Flow, Wiley, Winchester, UK,
339 pp.
Sarma, S.V.K. & Silva, T.C. 1987. Hydraulic response to pumping in free aquifers, ABAS, 11, 26–
Sarma, K.V.S. & Antonio, A.P. 1997. Decontamination of pollutants from aquifers using the
concept of induced flow from adjacent rivers. Intl Conf. on Large Scale Water Resources
Projects, Oct. 20–23. Kathmandu, Nepal, EI 17–24.
Coastal aquifers intrusion at semi-arid region of Turkey 197

Sumer, B. 1980. The Determination of Water Quality at the Sapanca Lake, TUBITAK Project No.
QA6–4, Sakarya.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1988. Model Assessment for Delineating Wellhead
Protection Areas, Office of Groundwater Protection, Washington DC, 210 pp.
Yilmaz, L., Agiralioglu, N. & Saltabas, L. 1999. The determination of the water-use capacity of the
Sapanca Lake in Turkey. Proc. Intl. Conf. on Water, Environment, Ecology, Socio-economics
and Health Engineering (WEESHE), Oct. 18–21, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea,
Water Resources Pubs., LLC, 162–166.
Evaluation of groundwater recharge rates in
the Kizinga catchment in Dar es Salaam
Lawyers’ Environmental Action Team (LEAT), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Department of Geology, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam,
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on the need to manager groundwater

exploitation by comparing its abstraction rates with natural recharge rates
and a case study was done in the Kizinga catchment. Despite the increase
in groundwater exploitation, there is no comprehensive legal mechanism
to ensure proper management of groundwater resources and no specific
provision for groundwater abstraction under The Water Utilization Act.
Instead groundwater exploitation management has been provided for in
the same way as surface water. The Act has not demanded operators of
wells or boreholes to submit data and records to water authorities. It is
therefore possible that substantial commercial drilling of groundwater has
been conducted without adequate monitoring and controls. It is suggested
the proper management of groundwater utilization be established to
balance recharge and discharge. This will ensure that groundwater
abstraction is done sustainably and thus avoid negative consequences of
groundwater depletion.


The high demand for freshwater in the Dar es Salaam City, suggests clearly that, surface
water can no longer meet the projected total demand. The second best alternative remains
on groundwater. Even with the presence of surface water, groundwater can still be
preferred on the basis of easier protection from pollution, better dependability during
drought periods, and on the supplying costs. It is necessary however that groundwater
resource is used with proper management focusing on both its quality and quantity.
Evaluation of groundwater recharge rates in the Kizinga catchment in Dar es Salaam region 199

Evaluation of groundwater recharge rates and areas is an important step towards thorough
understanding of its quality and quantity.

1.1 Location and climate of the study area

The study area is located to the south of Dar es Salaam region bearing geographical
coordinates 39°02E and 39˚18E and 6°50S and 7°00S. It is built on a low lying coastal
plain with an altitude varying between 20m to 240m above sea level in Kurasini area and
in Pugu and Kisarawe hills respectively with a total surface area of 191km2 (Service Plan
The study area is drained by Kizinga river having its upper reaches in Pugu and
Kisarawe hills. The river flows in a NE direction towards Indian Ocean (Fig. 1).
Climatically the daily temperature ranges from 18.1°C to 32.2°C with a mean value of
25.75°C, while actual evaporation has a mean monthly value of 160mm ranging from
128mm to 181mm. The mean annual precipitation is 1124mm.

Figure 1. Location of the study area.

1.2 Objectives
The purpose of the study was to evaluate groundwater recharge rates in the area.
Specifically, the research aimed at:
Determining the mean annual To determine the source of
groundwater recharge rates in the study groundwater recharge in the study
area. area.
Water resources of arid areas 200

1.3 Groundwater evaluation in the study area

Very few studies on the behavior of groundwater resource have been documented in the
study area. The study on Coast/Dar es Salaam Water Master Plan by the Ministry of
Energy and Minerals (MEM) (1979) for example, found that the coastal sedimentary
deposits of Coast and Dar es Salaam regions did not include aquifers that provide major
groundwater supplies. The project revealed further that within the area; almost seventy
per cent of the area was found to be underlain by material that could yield water of
insufficient quantity or inadequate quality. On another study, Matondo (1978), found that
the Kizinga basin is a potential source of groundwater. He also noted that groundwater
from drilling is very close to the ground surface. He further found that, only 8% of annual
rainfall appears as total runoff while the major part of the rainfall volume was stored
within the aquifer. Both studies didn’t make evaluation on groundwater recharge rates.


Data that incorporate various hydrogeological units and taking into account all flow
components such as discharge, infiltration, subsurface inflow to and outflow from the
basin’s aquifer and abstractions through pumped wells were collected. The main data/and
data sources were:
– Boreholes and wells and their hydrologic information drilled in the study area up to
1999 from the Ministry of Water, borehole drilling unit-Ubungo
– Monthly rainfall data, maximum and minimum temperature and evaporation for Dar es
Salaam from Tanzania Meteorological Agency, Dar es Salaam office
– Runoff measurements from rivers Kizinga from 1967 to 1980, From Ministry of Water,
Table 1. Chloride concentration of rainwater in the
study area in (mg/l).
Location Mar Apr May Mean
Ukonga 3.1 2.8 2.6 2.83
Kiwalani 3.0 1.9 3.9 2.93
Yombo 3.2 2.4 2.8 2.80
Temeke 3.7 2.6 3.4 3.23
Mbagala 3.6 2.8 3.0 3.13
Pugu 3.2 1.8 2.4 2.47
Gongolamboto 3.0 2.8 3.2 3.00
Total 22.8 17.1 21.0 20.39
Mean 3.26 2.44 3.04 2.91
Evaluation of groundwater recharge rates in the Kizinga catchment in Dar es Salaam region 201

Figure 2. The groundwater flow net in

the study area.
Abbreviation Site Mean hydraulic
head (m)
Pg Pugu 224
Gt Gongolamboto 63.5
Uk Ukonga 43.2
Airport 37.4
Kw Kiwalani 22.2
Tr Tazara 20.1
Ym Yombo 14.1
Ch Chang’ombe 12.6
Tm Temeke 10.9
Mb Mbagala 11.2
Mt Mtoni 9.0
Kr Kurasini 6.3

The fieldwork involved rainwater sampling in different sites within the study area for the
rainfall period of March, April and May in the year 2000.
Another fieldwork activity was to collect water from boreholes in some selected
locations in the study area.
Chloride determination from water samples was undertaken following standard
method as reported by (APHA 1985). The results obtained from rainwater samples are
given in Table 1.


3.1 Groundwater resource accumulation and flow

Hydraulic heads from water level measurements at various points and elevation at various
borehole points indicate the presence of a close correspondence to topographic heights.
Water resources of arid areas 202

The comparison between hydraulic head and topographical height shows that the
direction of groundwater flow is roughly to the drainage pattern which follows the
gradient of the land surface. Groundwater movement in the study area is therefore
approximately to the north east which is generally the direction of Kizinga river (Figs 1
& 2). The above observations on the groundwater movement in the study area suggest
that groundwater starts flowing from Pugu and Kisarawe hills towards low lying plains of
Yombo; Changombe; Temeke; Mbagala; Mtoni and Kurasini. This shows that
precipitation within Pugu and Kisarawe hills is the major source of groundwater recharge
in the study area.

3.2 Aquifers properties in the study area

Layers of sand are important for the hydrogeology of the study area as they are mostly
accompanied with good water bearing capacity and they allow significant quantities of
water to be drawn from them (Fig. 3(d)). Generally the texture of sands are medium to
coarse with gravels and pebbles existing in clay matrix. Clay layers tend to hold water
which can not be withdrawn easily and therefore they don’t have good water bearing
capacity (Figs 3(a & c)).
Significant amount of groundwater has been found basically to occur in two types of
aquifers namely sands and gravels and limestone. Clay and clay bound sands are poor
aquifers and their importance is mainly on the formation of confining layers for most of
sand and gravels aquifers (Fig. 3(b)).


Evaluation of groundwater recharge has significant implications for not only the study of
groundwater quantity, but also water quality. Infiltrating water can carry contaminants
Evaluation of groundwater recharge rates in the Kizinga catchment in Dar es Salaam region 203

Figure 3(a & b). Lithology of aquifers

with their scales in (m) in some sites of
the study area.
ground surface to the aquifer. Understanding the rate and mechanism out of which such
infiltration takes place can therefore lay a foundation in setting down strategies for the
prevention of groundwater contamination. Three methods were used to estimate
groundwater recharge. These are: the water balance method, hydraulic method and
chloride profile method.
Water resources of arid areas 204

Figure 3(c & d). Lithology of aquifers

with their scales in (m) in some sites of
the study area.
Evaluation of groundwater recharge rates in the Kizinga catchment in Dar es Salaam region 205

Figure 4. A comparison between

annual groundwater recharge, rainfall
and actual evaporation.

4.1 Water balance method

The method was used under the following assumptions:
– Precipitation is the only inflow into the basin i.e., there is no leakage or underground
channel to the basin
– River discharge and evapotranspiration is the ultimate water outflow
– Basin storage is steady and hence the in storage is considered to be zero for long term
The water balance method requires the use of a combination of actual evaporation,
surface runoff and precipitation data in order to estimate annual groundwater recharge.
Groundwater recharge in this method is calculated as a remainder when losses, identified
in the form of runoff and evaporation have been deducted from precipitation. This can be
presented in the following equation:

Where: P—Precipitation (mm), E—Actual evaporation (mm), R—Runoff over the

catchment (mm) and ∆S—Change in Storage (mm).
The value of groundwater recharge obtained using water balance method gave the
average value of 81.3mm/year. The comparison between annual groundwater recharge,
annual rainfall and annual actual evaporation shows that, the values of recharge in most
cases increase with increase in rainfall and decrease with increase in actual evaporation
(Fig. 4) and that, annual groundwater recharge and annual rainfall are highly correlated.
Water resources of arid areas 206

The annual actual evaporation in the study area always exceeds annual rainfall.
However a plot of mean monthly actual evaporation and rainfall for the one year period
(Fig. 5), shows that there are few months when rainfall exceeds actual evaporation. These
months are mainly, March; April; and November and it is expected that during these
months, groundwater recharge takes place.

4.2 Hydraulic method

This method was used to estimate the amount of annual groundwater in flow (Q) in to the
Kizinga river catchment area. An average hydraulic gradient (I) of 8.063×10−3, hydraulic
conductivity (k)

Figure 5. Mean monthly variation of

rainfall with actual evaporation for the
year 1968 in the study area.
of 3.14×10−5m/s along a cross section at the center of the basin having the maximum
aquifer thickness of 28m and a surface width of 27km, were used.
Darcy’s law, Q=KIA were used

Where: Q is the quantity of water (m3/s), K is the hydraulic conductivity (m/s), I is the
hydraulic gradient and, A is the area (m2).
The value obtained was 6036076.153×109mm/year and when extrapolated to the entire
basin’area of 191km2, this amount of annual groundwater in flow in mm per year was
calculated such that,
Recharge rate=(6036076.153×109mm/year)/191×1012mm=31.6mm/year.
Evaluation of groundwater recharge rates in the Kizinga catchment in Dar es Salaam region 207

4.3 Chloride profile method

The technique regards chloride as an inert element, and compared with other inorganic
ions, it is not added or removed by water rock interaction. The element is considered as
an inert in the hydrological cycle having its source from the atmosphere. It has the
advantage over tracers involving water molecule in that atmospheric inputs are conserved
during recharge processes allowing a mass balance approach to be used (Nkotagu 1996).
On using the chloride profile method, it is assumed that the amount of water and
chloride added at the surface should equal the amount of water and chloride percolated
down. This however is not always true and therefore the following assumptions were
considered when using this method.
(i) Recharge is only that derived from precipitation
(ii) Recharge is largely by piston flow mechanism
(iii) Chloride in soil water is from precipitation and dust only
(iv) The precipitation amount used in the recharge and soil water age equations is
reasonable for the time represented by samples
(v) The total chloride input value used in the recharge and soil water age equations is
reasonable for the time represented by the samples
(vi) Dispersive mixing of water and chloride is small
(vii) The chloride uptake by plants is negligible
Knowing that there is a possibility of groundwater being affected by marine intrusion or
marine connate source as the study area is situated in the coast, the use of the method
involved boreholes with water whose chloride concentration values fall within acceptable
ranges of freshwater and
Table 2. Summary of the groundwater yield in the
study area.
Total No. of boreholes 130
Maximum yield 60.923m3/h
Minimum yield 0.220m3/h
Total annual yield 9.4×106m3/year

out of seawater. This was achieved by including in the determination of groundwater

recharge, only boreholes with chloride content whose ratio is less than 1.
Groundwater recharge using this method was estimated as follows. The mean chloride
content of precipitation was found to be 2.9mg/l and the mean chloride concentration of
groundwater was found to be 71.8mg/l. The ratio of chloride content of precipitation to
groundwater was determined to be 0.04. A long term mean annual precipitation of
1124mm was used in the calculation. Estimation resulted in groundwater recharge rate of
Water resources of arid areas 208


The three methods gave a mean value of 52.8mm/year(Table 2), equivalent to

10.1×106m3/year. This indicates that, 4.7% of the long term mean annual precipitation,
which is 1124mm, ends up as annual groundwater recharge. It can then be concluded that
at present, annual groundwater production rates which is 9.4×106m3/year is
approximately equal the annual natural groundwater recharge rates from the study area.
The value obtained using water balance method is much larger as compared to the
values of the other two methods. The big value in this method is likely to have been
contributed by errors in the process of data taking. The system that was used in
measuring runoff which based on water level recording two times a day is likely to have
introduced some errors. Such errors may be missing of flood peaks especially that
occurring at night and therefore registering less storm runoff than real values happening
in nature.
According to Matondo 1978, the personnel engaged in data collection by that time in
most basins including Kizinga, were unskilled or only semi skilled and therefore less
accurate and efficient in collecting data.
There was no even distribution of rain gauge stations in the basin. Mostly only Dar es
Salaam airport had a recording gauge (Matondo 1978). The existing raingauge therefore,
did not facilitate studying the rainfall distribution in respect to time and space. This
restricts further the accuracy of investigations.
It can therefore be seen that the rainfall and runoff records might have errors, which
then could possibly contribute to more errors in the computation of effective rainfall and
average precipitation, and therefore the final results. In additional to shortcomings
mentioned above, the data used in this method were recorded about 20 years ago while
the other two methods used the data recorded within last two years. It is possible
therefore that, the soil condition 20 years back supported more groundwater recharge.
This is supported by the fact that the land in the study area has been disturbed through
construction and cultivation.


The major contribution in recharging the study area has been found to be the faults on the
slopes of Pugu and Kisarawe hills, which are quite permeable and that the direct
infiltration of rainwater is the main source of groundwater recharge in the study area.
The average value of annual groundwater recharge rates has been found to be
52.8mm/year after combining all the three methods used. This value is approximately
10.1×106m3/year and it is 4.7% of the long term mean annual precipitation of 1124mm. A
projection of maximum groundwater abstraction showed an increase of more than 100%
after every two years. However the natural groundwater recharge is expected to remain
constant, and therefore the maximum production rate will be more than natural recharge
rate within a period of few years to come. This relation when projected over a long period
may result in negative consequences such as depletion of groundwater supply, reduced
Evaluation of groundwater recharge rates in the Kizinga catchment in Dar es Salaam region 209

stream flow, deterioration of water quality and more importantly land subsidence may be
expected in the near future.
On the other hand there is no comprehensive legal mechanism to ensure proper
management of groundwater resources. The Water Utilization Act has not provided a
holistic approach to the management of water resources especially with regard to the
management of groundwater resources. There is no specific provision for groundwater
abstraction under the Act and instead groundwater exploitation has been provided for its
management in the same way as surface water. There is no separate provision under the
Act to regulate groundwater-drilling operations. However, abstraction of groundwater of
more than 22,700 litres per day requires a water right issued under the Act. The Act has
not demanded for operators of wells or boreholes to submit data and records to the water
authorities. It is therefore possible that, commercial drilling of groundwater of substantial
scales has been conducted without adequate monitoring and controls.
Clear understanding on the aquifer parameters and recharge rates for other parts of Dar
es Salaam and the country at large is fundamental before embarking on further
exploitation of the resources. Studies on the subject however are very limited to academic
purposes and have not been able to comprehensively provide a clear understanding on the
aquifers that provide the resource. In general, the studies that have been conducted so far
indicate a negative trend in the status of groundwater in different parts of the country.
The absence of adequate data and legislation has been impinging on effective
management of groundwater resources.
The Kazimzumbwi forest which is in the Pugu and Kisarawe hills is suffering a
massive deforestation from illegal harvesting of forest products. The capacity of the
faults to serve as groundwater recharge will consequently be affected. It is possible
therefore that, in the near future the rate of natural recharge will decrease while that of
abstraction will keep on increasing. It is recommended that, the faults on the slopes of
Pugu and Kisarawe hills, which serve in recharging the area be conserved and protected
from disturbance to ensure continuation of safe and enough groundwater supply. Possible
alternatives for freshwater supply should be used. Measures that reduce water wastage
must be introduced and encouraged. More studies on groundwater recharge and aquifer
performance need to be conducted in the study area and others around Dar es Salaam
using other methods so as to have a complete understanding on the aquifer system in Dar
es Salaam city.


We would like to thank all those people who contributed to the preparation and
completion of this work. Our special thanks go to the Department of Geology of the
University of Dar es Salaam for the facilities they have provided to us during our
research. Many thanks go to MHO program through the Faculty of Science University of
Dar es Salaam for the financial support in undertaking the research. We wish to
acknowledge the assistance of the Staff of the institutions in that time; Ministry of Water,
Ubungo Maji; DAWASA headquarters and Tanzania Meteorological Agency Dar es
Salaam office for supporting us with necessary data. We are grateful to the Management
Water resources of arid areas 210

of Lawyers’ Environmental Action Team (LEAT), for their support on access to the
organizational facilities and information during the preparation of this paper.


APHA, 1985. Standard Method for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. 16th Edition.
American public Health Association, Washington, D.C.
Matondo, J.I. 1978. A kinematic conceptual model for Kizinga basin for Estimation of Hydrological
variables. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Dar es Salaam.
Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) 1979. Coast/Dar es Salaam regions water master plan.
Dar es Salaam.
Nkotagu H.H. 1996. Hydrological and Isotopic characterization of a fractured basement
groundwater flow system in Semiarid Area of Dodoma, Tanzania. Znge: Berlin, Techn. Univ.
Serviceplan, 1997. Report on the evaluation of groundwater sources of Dar es Salaam. Supporting
Report B. Dar es Salaam.
Theme C:
Socio-economic aspects
KNUST experiences in capacity building in
the water and sanitation sector
S.N.Odai, F.O.K.Anyemedu, S.Oduro-Kwarteng & K.B.Nyarko
Department of Civil Engineering, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: Capacity building for the water and sanitation sector in

Ghana has been in existence in the Civil Engineering Department (DCE)
of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)
since the university was established. The activities of the department in
the area of capacity building for the water and sanitation sector have
become very popular after the establishment of the water supply and
environmental sanitation programme (WSESP) in 1996. In fact, this
recent development has brought the department to the forefront of
capacity building and applied research in the water and sanitation sector
of Ghana. The project, aimed at capacity building for sustainable
development and growth in the water supply and sanitation sector in
Ghana and the West African sub-region has so far produced several
professionals from Ghana, from three West African states and one from an
East African State. Capacity building through short courses and tailor-
made programmes has helped in training several institutions and
communities in Ghana leading to sustainable development. The project
has impacted positively on both institutional and human capacities in the
country. The paper looks at the experiences of KNUST in providing high-
level and low-level capacity building for Ghana.


The human resources requirements of the water and sanitation sector are largely similar
to those of other professions. Factors militating against capacity building in the sector
have been mainly due to lack of funds and lack of understanding of the urgency of the
need to improve the sector. In many developing countries of Africa, improvement in the
water supply and environmental sanitation sector has lately been recognised to have a
direct positive impact on public health (Ghana Government, 2003). The development of
the sector is seen as crucial to the successful control and eradication of communicable
diseases in general. As a result, governments, policy makers, non-governmental agencies,
Water resources of arid areas 214

and external support agencies have begun directing attention to issues related to these
sector in an effort to improve the overall health of citizens by facilitating easy
accessibility to water and sanitation.
Until the last decade, the progress and growth in the water supply and environmental
sanitation sector has been little and very slow. One of the major factors hampering the
desired rate of progress and growth in the sector has been the lack of adequate personnel
and professionals with the requisite skills, expertise and experience to lead and manage
the sector. In fact, during the 1991 UNDP symposium at IHE-Delft, on A Strategy for
Water Sector Capacity, it was acknowledged that capacity building in the water supply
and environmental sanitation sector was essential for the development, growth and
sustenance of the sector at the local, national and even sub-regional levels (KNUST,
In the wake of this symposium, it was felt that the training and re-training of
professionals for and within the water supply and environmental sanitation industry must
become part of the central focus of academic institutions that have long traditions of
providing quality leadership training as well as professional expertise. The UNESCO-
IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft and the Department of Civil Engineering of
the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi
quickly took the initiative to develop a programme for supporting the restructuring and
strengthening of the water supply and sanitation sector in Ghana and the sub-region. The
programme was preceded with a needs assessment of the situation in several
neighbouring countries, to assess the percentage coverage of sanitation and water supply
in urban and rural communities, and the statistics were stunning.
Following this needs assessment, the DCE of KNUST in collaboration with
UNESCO-IHE in 1996 initiated a programme for developing human resource capacity in
the water supply and environmental sanitation for a wide range of beneficiaries, spanning
from sector professionals to low-level operators and sometime even uneducated water
board members. The high-quality training programme in the water supply and
environmental sanitation sector was conceived under the project name “Water and
Environmental Sector Capacity Building and Sustainable Development in Ghana and the
Region” designed by the KNUST-Kumasi and UNESCO-IHE. The project aims at
providing the sector within the West African sub-region with the necessary skills,
knowledge and expertise to meet the demands, challenges and opportunities anticipated
with the projected growth in the region.
This paper presents the experiences of KNUST in capacity building in Ghana and the



The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) was established
in 1951 to train Scientists and Technologists for both Ghana and other African countries.
Academic programmes are run at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels by different
faculties, schools and institutes. Training in water-related disciplines is offered in several
departments in the university.
KNUST experiences in capacity building in the water and sanitation sector 215

Presently, the DCE, the Chemistry Department, and the Geological Engineering
Department collaborate in delivery of education and training in water quantity and
quality. The programmes of the Department of Civil Engineering cover both surface and
groundwater resources and water quality analyses, while the Chemistry Department is
involved mainly in water quality analyses, and the Geological Engineering Department
involved in groundwater resource development. In addition, the Agricultural Engineering
Department looks at irrigation and water for food, the Biological sciences Department
works on environmental science, while the Physics Department masters in groundwater
and limnology.
Since 1996, the DCE and UNESCO-IHE have been developing human resource
capacity in water supply and environmental sanitation, targeted at all levels of sector
professionals (sometimes including persons with low-level education). Since the
establishment of WSESP which has the primary focus of postgraduate training for the
sector, several, short courses such as Public Private Participation, Water Treatment,
Wastewater Treatment, Solid Waste Management, Urban Water Transportation and
Distribution, etc., have been offered annually.


The institutional capacity of KNUST to act as a capacity building centre in the water and
sanitation sector is discussed under the following sub-headings.

3.1 Human resources

The departmental academic strength comprises of 22 highly qualified lecturers, mostly
PhD graduates from prominent universities in addition to experienced technicians who
support the execution of educational programmes and consulting services; eleven out of
the 22 staff members in the department specialise in water and sanitation issues.
Specifically there are 5-PhD, and 6-Msc holders in the two sections. Three out of the six
MSc’s are currently pursuing sandwich PhD programmes with UNESCO-IHE; one in
Wastewater Treatment, one in Utility Management, and the third in Water Treatment.

3.2 Facilities
The facilities at KNUST for training purposes include refurbished classrooms, a
computer laboratory that gives access to each participant, a refurbished laboratory that
allows for water and wastewater quality analyses for training and research purposes.
Students and lecturers in the DCE, together with other departments in the School of
Engineering, have access to a well-equipped library, apart from the main library of the
University. In addition, a collection of specialised books is at the disposal of the staff and
participants in WSES project. A 30-room hostel has been built purposely for the MSc
participants. These rooms are also available for use by short course participants when
these are organised during the vacation periods. The university now has Internet
connectivity for research, and a website has been created for the project.
Water resources of arid areas 216

Lecture notes, mostly from UNESCO-IHE, in addition to modern ICT equipment

facilitate our objective of capacity building.

3.3 Networking and outreaching capabilities

At the national level, the Department has strong links with sector organisations in Ghana,
such as the Ghana Water Company Limited, Community Water and Sanitation Agency,
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, The Environmental Protection
Agency and the Water Resources Commission. This link is maintained through quarterly
meetings held together with these agencies. The main objective of this networking is to
enable the university identify the problems of industry at first hand and provide the
necessary advice.
The department also depends on its international links to facilitate information
acquisition. Presently, the university has active links with UNESCO-IHE in Delft, the
University of Newcastle in UK, the University of Bristol in UK, and the National
University of Rwanda.
In fact, the department’s links with industry and the sector professionals have led to
the active participation of these professionals in part-time lectures and the running of
some short courses. The strategy is such that use is made of these professionals for
training and lecturing where there is a gap. The departmental strategy is to maintain this



The Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation Project is aimed at capacity building for
sustainable development and growth in the water supply and sanitation sector in Ghana
and the West African sub-region. It seeks to strengthen the sector through training of
high-level personnel for institutions and organisations that have a stake in the water
supply and environmental sanitation industry and professionals with active careers in the
sector, in addition to training of low-level personnel.
In Ghana, the programme targets the following sector organisations and their
● Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL),
● Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA),
● Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
● Ministry of Works and Housing MWH),
● Ministry of Local Governments and Rural Development (MLGRD),
● Ministry of Health (MoH),
● Ministry of Environment and Science (MES),
● Water Research Institute (WRI),
● Consulting firms and contractors,
● Water-related industries,
● Small Towns Water Operators and Managers.
KNUST experiences in capacity building in the water and sanitation sector 217

4.1 Postgraduate studies

The training is a formal type that aims at providing advanced level training at MSc
degree level for people with interest in the water supply and sanitation sector and related
fields. This group of trainees takes up top positions in agencies such as Community
Water and Sanitation Agency and Ghana Water Company Limited. Besides young BSc
holders, the programme is also designed to cater for professionals with industrial
experience who want to improve their analytical skills and enhance their career skills and
professional expertise. The table below gives the statistics of students who have
graduated from the official MSc programme since its commencement in 1997.
To our satisfaction, most of the graduates are working in responsible positions to
implement the techniques they have acquired from their study.
The major challenges facing potential participants of the programme include:
– Employers not willing to release employees for two years
– Employers not willing to grant study leave with pay
– Duration of two years seems too long for some participants
– Discontinuation of scholarship for foreign students.
To help overcome some of the challenges above we consider using distance and
electronic learning and modularised programmes. Scholarships for foreign students may
be difficult to obtain but through our partnerships schemes, these may be possible (Odai
et al, 2004).

4.2 Short/refresher courses

Besides the MSc programme, the project develops short and refresher courses to enrich
and refresh the knowledge of professionals already working or engaged in projects in the
sector. Several topics have been treated since the establishment of the project. The topics
are selected based on needs assessment in the sector through interviews and informal
The target group includes staff from the organizations mentioned above in addition to
consulting firms and contractors.
Topics of the short courses ran include:
– Operation and maintenance of water distribution systems (with computer applications)
– Solid waste management
– Water treatment technologies
– Wastewater handling, management and disposal
– Water quality analysis
Table 1. Statistics of graduates.
Year Total Ghanaians Foreigners
1999 7 7 0
2000 6 6 0
2001 15 13 2
2002 15 12 3
Water resources of arid areas 218

2003 10 9 1
Total 53 47 6

Table 2. Statistics of short courses (since 1999).

Year Number of short Total number of
courses participants
1999 2 17
2000 6 50
2001 3 27

– Groundwater flow pollution modelling

– Public private participation in the water sector.
It has been realized that most organizations that benefit from our training have more and
interconnected needs, hence the most likely way forward is to develop tailor-made
programmes for them, which will meet their needs holistically, rather than individual
courses. The other reason being, marketing of the courses are becoming more demanding.

4.3 Tailor-made training

The tailor-made courses are unique because they are usually developed through
interactive and feedback discussions, in order to meet the requirements of the client
institution. Target groups include technicians and professionals from the district
assemblies, civil servants from the ministries, NGOs and rural water systems operators.
Professionals from these agencies are given these specialised trainings to improve their
performance. The WSESP is presently running two tailor-made programmes for sector
agencies. They are municipal engineering course and small towns’ water supply
operators’ course.
Municipal engineering course: This course is organized with the primary aim of
upgrading the technical and managerial capacity of the District Assemblies within the
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (KNUST, 2002b). The personnel
upon completion of the course are required to be able to do the following in addition to
other assignments.
– Plan their needs in infrastructure and resources,
– Operate and maintain infrastructure,
– Estimates materials and manpower needs for the construction of infrastructure, etc.
The course is organised for duration of four weeks and the courses offered are
– Planning and Management
– Refuse management
– Excreta disposal
– Drainage
– Infrastructure
– Water supply
– Roads and Highway
– Electricity Service
KNUST experiences in capacity building in the water and sanitation sector 219

– Telecommunication
– Structural Building works
Table 3. Statistics of municipal engineering
Year Total no. of participants
February 2003 10
August 2003 23
January 2004 15
Total so far 48

Table 4. Small towns’ water systems trainings.

Year Total
August 2003 145
February 2004 38
Total so far 183

Small towns’ water supply operators’ course: This course is organised with the primary
aim of upgrading the technical and managerial capacity of water board members and the
system operators to enable them achieve sustainability. Needs assessment showed that
there are more than 2000 people in the 210 districts in Ghana needing the first round
training. The objectives of the training are (KNUST, 2003)
– To update the knowledge, technical and management skill, and attitude of operating
staff of small town water systems for effective and efficient operation and
maintenance, and management of the water systems.
– To train water and sanitation board members to effectively oversee and manage the
water system and deal with consumer complaints and requests satisfactorily.
The global objective is to attain sustainability, which will subsequently lead to improved
health conditions and productivity.
The attendance statistics is shown in the table below, and it is impressing to note that
the number of participants has increased since we started the tailor-made courses.
The course is organised for duration of one week and the courses offered are
– Water supply system operation and maintenance
– Borehole pumping system operation and maintenance
– Managing system information
– Water and health
– Roles of the water board
– Budgeting and tariff setting.
Water resources of arid areas 220


In Ghana, statistics show that there is low capacity in the water and sanitation sector. Our
experience in capacity building shows that organizations are aware of their need but
sometimes they need help to articulate such needs. The capacity building programme of
sector professionals and low-level personnel will be strengthened, and sustainability
enhanced. It is anticipated that the 210 districts in Ghana will eventually benefit from our
programmes. The department is gradually shifting to tailor-made programmes since the
short courses do not proof to be financially sustainable and looking for clients who will
patronise the course places extra demands on us. The recent thinking of tailor-made
programmes is catching on since there is usually money available for particular
organizations to build capacity. We therefore develop programmes, which we discuss
with donors and such organizations; upon approval of the courses we then prepare
teaching materials and the cost estimates. This approach seems to becoming popular with
us because of the high response of participants and the monetary value. Thus we can
ensure sustainability in this process of capacity building in the water and sanitation sector
in Ghana.


Ghana Government, 2003. Ghana’s poverty reduction strategy. National Development Planning
Commission, Accra, Ghana. 112–113.
KNUST, 2002a. Brochure for MSc programme in Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation.
KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana.
KNUST, 2003. Evaluation report on operation and maintenance. Department of Civil Engineering,
KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana.
KNUST, 2002b. Proposal for municipal engineering and infrastructure management course.
Department of Civil Engineering, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana.
Odai, S.N., Andam, K.A., & Trifunovic, N. 2004. Strategic partnerships for sustainable water
education and research in developing countries. Proc. Int. Conf. on Water Resources of Arid and
Semi Arid Regions of Africa, Gaborone Botswana, 3–6 August 2004.
Strategic partnerships for sustainable water
education and research in developing
Department of Civil Engineering, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
Vice-Chancellor, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
UNESCO-IHE, Delft, The Netherlands
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: The past decade has seen tremendous investment in water

and sanitation for both the urban and the rural communities in developing
countries. For effective and sustainable implementation of these projects,
local capacity is required. The training of such professionals is becoming
increasingly expensive for governments of developing countries, in
addition to the fact that there are few institutions offering such
programmes. The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and
Technology (KNUST) realising the modern trend in water education and
research has entered into strategic partnership with some twenty other
institutions around the world to jointly train professionals in the sector;
and other external support agencies for financial support. This strategic
partnership for water education and research is seen as one of the major
emerging options for water education and research around the world. This
paper looks at the benefits and challenges of such global partnerships for
developing countries.


The development of the water and sanitation sector is seen as a crucial process to the
successful control and eradication of communicable diseases in general. Increasingly,
more governments are realising that improvement in the water supply and environmental
sanitation sector has a direct positive impact on public health. There are stories about
communities where charging for the provision of potable water caused the inhabitants to
go back to other sources, e.g. nearby streams, which are not potable. This practice
resulted in some persons suffering from diarrhoea, while others suffered from guinea
Water resources of arid areas 222

worm infestations. These are some of the challenges encountered by governments of

developing countries. As a result of these attitudes, the government, external support
agencies and policy makers have begun directing attention to issues related to the sector
in an effort to improve the overall health of the people (Ghana Government, 2003). To
achieve this noble objective, water education and research is being enhanced at the
tertiary institutions.
Water education and research is becoming increasingly diverse and subsequently,
more expensive for most developing countries around the world. Thus providing the
needed education and research in the sector requires more input which is not accessible
locally in one country, hence the need to enter into strategic partnership with other
institutions to complement each other and to share experiences. In addition, it is
necessary to collaborate with external support agencies working in the sector for financial
In general, the financial base for service provision is quite weak for most institutions.
For example, the Department of Civil Engineering (DCE) of the Kwame Nkrumah
University of Science and Technology (KNUST) depends on subventions from central
government in the provision of its services. However, this is not adequate for
postgraduate education in water and sanitation, hence the need to collaborate with
agencies who can support us financially.
The department organises short courses for sector professionals and offers consultancy
services to make additional income. However, as mentioned above these efforts must be
augmented for sustainable delivery of the services of the department. Current trends
encourage the need to enter into strategic partnerships with institutions and agencies to
enhance the sustainable delivery of our services.
Generally, in a large number of developing countries there are still only a few people
and institutions that have sufficient knowledge to solve the complex technological as well
as institutional sector problems of concern. As indicated by different groups of
professionals on many occasions, the major causes are (UNESCO-IHE, 2002):
● Lack of sufficient capacity provided by qualified professional staff;
● Lack of highly developed knowledge centres;
● Lack of sufficient institutional and governance qualities and capabilities to ensure an
integrated approach to sector problems;
● Lack of ‘communities of practice’ through which professionals and institutions can
effectively exchange information, knowledge, experience and good practices.


To overcome some of these challenges, the DCE has entered into partnerships with
several institutions and external support agencies for water education and research. This
is in recognition of the modern trend of education, which takes advantage of virtual
classrooms and uses expertise around the world as guest lecturers.
Strategic partnerships for sustainable water education and research in developing countries 223

2.1 Partnership with WANet

The West Africa Network for Capacity Building in IWRM (WANet) was established in
June 2002 for the purpose of training Policy/Decision Makers, IWRM Professionals, and
Technicians. Three institutions, namely, the KNUST of Ghana, the National Water
Research Institute of Nigeria, and EIER/ETSHER of Burkina Faso are involved. The
various training activities in IWRM proposed for these identified target groups are
presented below.

2.1.1 Policy/decision makers

This group is made up of professionals, executives and, bureaucrats who are involved in
policy-making and implementation of IWRM programmes. Specifically, the group
includes government policy makers (political leaders, ministers of water, agriculture,
environment etc, Governors, Mayors), and senior managers of IWRM-related institutions.

2.1.2 IWRM professionals

This group is also quite broad, made up of Water Experts/Consultants, Future Managers
in the Water/IWRM domain, and Trainers/Educationalists. IWRM consultants include
professionals with diverse specialisations in water management and its use. These include
Planners, Engineers, Economists, Social Scientists, Agricultural Workers and Ecologists
(Donkor and Nyarko, 2002). The Future Managers sub-group will concentrate on
students at the postgraduate level specialising in IWRM-related subjects.
Trainers/Educationalists include academic staff of universities in the field of IWRM and
trainers and professionals at training institutes.

2.1.3 Technicians
This group is made up of those charged with the operation and maintenance of facilities
used in the direct provision of IWRM services such as water treatment plants,
maintenance of water supply system, etc.
Cap-net helped establish this partnership and they continue to support WANet
financially for its activities in getting the institutions involved to build the capacity and
the materials they need to kick-start their trainings. WANet is however faced with the
challenge of offering training in English and French.

2.2 Partnership with UK institutions through British Council

British Council (BC) offers opportunities for linkage between universities in UK and
other countries. The British Council wholly provides the budget for these links. The
activities under such links include staff exchange between the two universities,
equipment purchase, research and sometimes students’ exchange.
Currently, the DCE has two of such links with two universities in the UK, under
different themes. There is one with the University of Newcastle upon Tyne under the
Water resources of arid areas 224

theme “shelter and sanitation for the homeless” (1999–2005), and the other with the
University of Bristol under the theme “sustainable water delivery for the poor” (2003–
2006). These links are established based on the mutual consent and interest of the two
institutions involved since they will have to make their expertise and facilities available
for use by the other institution.
Under the link arrangements, staff from UK institutions may serve as lecturers in
Ghana, with the cost borne by BC. On the other hand, staff from Ghana benefit from
sitting in some courses, having discussions with experts, having access to their library
materials and electronic journals. The staff exchange grants staff from both institutions
the mutual benefit of learning of new areas of research.
Ghanaian students on exchange to a UK institution benefit from having access to
facilities for research, while students from UK benefit from best practices in Ghana. Over
50 Ghanaian students and 40 British students have benefited from this partnership
exchanges. This students exchange programme has been at the BSc level, and recently
extended to PhD students. MSc students are yet to be included in the programme.

2.3 Partnership with DANIDA

DANIDA is a bilateral agency, very active in the water and sanitation sector in Ghana.
The agency supports Ghana in physical and institutional developments in the water and
sanitation sector. They have already invested millions of euros in the sector. They have
been working with the Water Resources Commission, Water Research Institute,
Hydrological Service Department, and the Meteorological Service Department for data
collection for water resources management.
In December 2002, the DCE was invited to attend a stakeholders’ workshop at which
it presented its strategic plan for education and training in the sector. The department’s
strategic plan included networking with sector agencies for education and research,
undertaking problem-oriented research to help develop the country. The result of that
workshop led to the signing of agreement between the DCE and DANIDA. DANIDA has
since been supporting the DCE with scholarships to train MSc students in water resources
engineering and management, and providing funds for external examiners from any part
of the world. This partnership is making financial resources available for the department
to enhance research and education. The department also now has a better relationship
with the above-mentioned agencies for easier access to data. These agencies can also now
fall on the department for consultation in research or capacity building.

2.4 Partnership for Water Education and Research (PoWER)

The Partnership for Water Education and Research (POWER) was founded in November
2002 by 17 institutions around the world (from countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and
South America). UNESCO-IHE has been in the center of all these activities. The main
objectives of the partnership are:
● To develop a sustainable and mutually beneficial global partnership in water education
and research between UNESCO-IE and regional collaboration centres that promotes
life-long learning through generation and sharing of knowledge in integrated and
sustainable water and environmental systems relevant to the developing world.
Strategic partnerships for sustainable water education and research in developing countries 225

● To combine the strengths of all partners and enhance the capacity of each partner in
order to produce joint products, such as, deliver capable professionals in the sector,
find innovative solutions for sector challenges, and build institutional capacity for
better efficiency.
In the process of combining strengths and levelling the capabilities of the individual
partners, joint products in the field of education, training, communities of practice, staff
exchange, and collaborative research will be developed in a multidisciplinary manner.
These shall be demand-responsive and duly accredited.


The list of the benefits of such partnerships is endless. Some of them are
● Combining expertise from various institutions to do research and publish papers
● Combining strengths to prepare lecture materials
● For very expensive experiments, if one institute has the equipment the other institutions
can have access to them for their work
● There is leadership in research, since one institute may have all strength in a particular
area; and the other institution may depend on such an institution for direction
● Mutual benefit of learning of new areas of research
● Encourages distance and electronic learning
● Financial assistance usually available for research and training
● Knowledge from the north is made available to the south
● Best practices developed in the south are made available to the north.


The challenges that come with such partnerships are numerous but not destructive. Some
of them are mentioned below.
● Each institution must strive to attain excellence and international
● Strive to stay modern by improving ICT equipment and providing or having access to
video-and tele-conferencing facilities
● Make your strengths available for other institution to benefit from
● Source funding for the partnership
● Difference in languages of present and potential partners.
The present partnership is expected to grow into an international collaboration within
which partners will complement each other’s effort as done in the aviation industry, e.g.,
the alliance between KLM, Northwest and Kenya Airways.
Water resources of arid areas 226


Strategic partnerships for sustainable water education and research in developing

countries has come to stay, because modern technologies are available for easy
communication and sharing of knowledge. It is also getting more expensive to maintain
all the facilities and the internationally renowned experts in every institution, therefore
partners will share their facilities and expertise to help reduce cost of education in water.
Partner institutions are also continually challenged to stay abreast with modern trends in
water education.


Donkor, E. & Nyarko, K.B. 2002. Establishing nodal resource center in West Africa for capacity
building in integrated water resources management. Department of Civil Engineering, KNUST,
Kumasi, Ghana.
Ghana Government 2003. Ghana poverty reduction strategy. National Development Planning
Commission, Accra, Ghana: 112–113.
KNUST 2002. Brochure for MSc programme in Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation.
KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana.
Odai, S.N., Anyemedu, F.O.K., Oduro-Kwarteng, S. & Nyarko, K.B. 2004. KNUST experiences in
capacity building in the water and sanitation sector. Proc. Int. Conf. on Water Resources of Arid
and Semi Arid Regions of Africa, Gaborone Botswana, 3–6 August 2004.
UNESCO-IHE 2002. PoWER and knowledge for sustainable development.
Assessing demand for clean and safe domestic
water in eastern Zimbabwe
E.Manzungu, M.Machingambi & R.Machiridza
Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, University of
Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: This paper assesses rural people’s demand for clean and
safe domestic water in two districts in eastern Zimbabwe. It explores the
role played by physical, socio-economic and cultural factors in
influencing rural people’s willingness to pay for domestic water. A semi-
structured questionnaire was administered in January 2002 to
representatives of some 239 randomly selected households in Chitakatira
and Nyanyadzi wards. Willingness to pay for clean and safe domestic
water was found to be influenced by the availability of other water
sources, rainfall received in the catchment area, perceived safety of a
water source, age and occupation of respondents. Season and gender did
not significantly affect respondents’ willingness to pay. Demographic
characteristics influenced willingness to pay for clean and safe water,
which should be taken into account when implementing cost recovery
policies in the domestic water sector. For completeness, effective demand,
best illustrated by ability to pay, should be determined.


In 1996 it was estimated that 2.5 million Zimbabweans had no access to safe water
(Chenje and Johnson, 1996). The situation was worse in the rural areas where only 64%
of the population had access to safe water compared to 99% in the urban areas. A recent
survey confirmed that water in the rural areas was largely unsuitable for human
consumption due to bacterial contamination (Moyo and Mtetwa, 2000). The situation has
deteriorated in the last 5 years because of severe economic problems, worsened by the
withdrawal of donor support. Since independence in 1980 the donor community has
heavily financed Zimbabwe’s Rural Water and Sanitation Programmes. Reduction in
funding has resulted in poor maintenance of water supply facilities forcing rural
communities to revert back to unsafe water sources (NAC, 1997).
Water resources of arid areas 228

Local communities are increasingly being called upon to contribute in cash and kind to
the operation and maintenance of the domestic water sources, a development linked to the
Economic Structural Adjustment Programme that the Government of Zimbabwe started
in 1991. This World Bank/International Monetary Fund-supported programme advocated
for cost recovery in many areas including social services. Provision of domestic water
was not spared. For example, the enactment of both the Water Act and the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority Act in 1998 incorporated policies like cost recovery and
economic water pricing. This signified a policy shift towards the concept of treating
water as an economic good (Manzungu, 2001). However the concept, borrowed from the
international community, as captured in the World Water Vision (Cosgrove and
Rijsberman, 2000), is characterised by a number of inconsistencies (Savenije and van der
Zaag, 2002). In a country like Zimbabwe, where 75% of the rural population is regarded
as poor, (GOZ, 1995) there are legitimate grounds to ask whether such a policy best
serves the population.
A recent survey found that, at the local level, there were mixed signals regarding
people’s willingness to pay for water (Machingambi and Manzungu, 2003). Respondents
wanted the cost of water point establishment and repairs shared between the community
(69%), the government (11%) and the donors (5%). Sixty-three percent of the
respondents wanted the government to take the responsibility of establishing water
points. Close to half (43.9%) indicated that they had individually contributed towards the
establishment of the water points they were currently using. There was also a willingness
to participate in the maintenance of most domestic water sources except in the piped
water scheme apparently because of the high costs involved. The question is: Does this
willingness to participate in operation and maintenance of domestic water facilities
translate to a demand for clean and safe water by rural communities in Zimbabwe?
This study sought to determine whether there was a demand for clean and safe water
among the rural people by assessing their willingness to pay for domestic water in the
Lower Odzi subcatchment in Chimanimani and Mutare districts in eastern Zimbabwe. In
many respects this area typifies most rural areas in the country. In the study the demand
for safe and clean water was assessed using the contingent value method (Pearce,
Markandya and Barbier, 1989). The method is based on eliciting, from respondents,
valuations/bids, which to some extent reflect the strength/ depth of feeling i.e. degree of
concern about access to clean and safe water on the basis of a hypothetical market. The
hypothetical market is taken to include, not just the good itself, but also the institutional
context in which it would be provided, and the way in which it would be financed. The
respondent is asked to indicate whether or not they would be willing to pay (WTP) a
“starting-point bid/price (SPP)”. An iterative procedure then follows: the SPP is increased
to determine whether or not the respondent would still be willing to pay the increment in
the price. The last accepted bid, then, is the “maximum willingness to pay (MWTP)”.
Besides WTP, respondents were asked about their ability to pay for clean and safe water.
Assessing demand for clean and safe domestic water in eastern Zimbabwe 229


2.1 The study area

Chitakatira ward in Mutare district, and Nyanyadzi ward in Chimanimani district in
eastern Zimbabwe, were selected as the study areas because of the different rainfall
amounts received by the two areas. Water availability was hypothesised to influence
demand for water. Nyanyadzi is located in natural region V that receives less than
650mm per annum. Chitakatira falls in natural region III where annual rainfall amounts
of 680–800mm are received (Vincent and Thomas, 1960). The amount and distribution of
rainfall received in region V is less reliable than that received in region II. The ward was
used as a sampling unit since it is the government’s planning and administrative unit. Six
villages, each made up of 100 homes, normally constitute a ward. A ward is therefore
made up of approximately 600 homes (Makumbe, 1996).
Nyanyadzi ward had a total of 832 households (CSO, 1992). The Nyanyadzi Rural
Service Centre, which falls within the ward, is supplied with piped water as well as some
of the surrounding villages. An irrigation scheme near the service centre also constituted
a domestic water source for some respondents. According to the 1992 census there were
1224 households in Chitakatira (CSO, 1992). It also has a rural service centre, and
villages, supplied with piped water. The water is drawn from Zimunya dam. It is treated
by the national water utility, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA).

2.2 Data collection and analysis

Respondents were drawn from villages with and without piped water, and from the
nearby rural service centres. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered in January
2002 to a total of 239 randomly selected households from the two districts. The
questionnaire was administered to one respondent per household who was either the head
of the household or a representative. A total of 118 people (82 males and 36 females) and
121 people (70 males and 51 females), were interviewed in Nyanyadzi and Chitakatira
respectively. In Nyanyadzi a total of 83 respondents with access to piped water were
interviewed compared to 100 in Chitakatira. The questionnaire sought to obtain answers
to the role played by physical, socio-economic and cultural factors in influencing
respondents’ willingness to pay for water from boreholes, deep and shallow wells, rivers,
dams, canals and water taps. Informal interviews were also conducted with ZINWA,
Department of Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (AGRITEX) now split into
the Department of Agricultural Research and Extension (AREX) and the Department of
Agricultural Engineering (DAE) and local government officials.
Data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) for
windows version 10. Descriptive statistics were run for different variables so as to obtain
the frequencies, means and cross tabulations. Further analysis was done to determine the
effect of different variables on the SPP and MWTP using analysis of variance (ANOVA).
The Levene test was used to assess whether the used ANOVA model had a good fit. To
validate the ANOVA results, non-parametric tests were done. The Mann-Whitney test
Water resources of arid areas 230

was used to determine which of the factors; season, age, region, gender, occupation and
access to piped water affected respondents’ WTP regarding the establishment and repairs
of different water points. The Moses test was used to determine whether the observed
variation between variables was due to the influence of some of the aforementioned
factors. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to assess if the means of the variables in each
category were the same at 5% significance level.


In some cases, there were no significant differences in the observations between the two
wards that were studied. For this reason some data is presented in a collated form. Where
there were differences the data is presented separately for the two wards.

3.1 Profile of respondents

The profile of the respondents was hypothesised to have an effect on the demand for
clean and safe water. Table 1 presents the age distribution of the respondents. At least
70% of the respondents from both wards were communal smallholder farmers while 5%
of the respondents from each of the wards were government officials. The proportion of
student respondents in Chitakatira and Nyanyadzi was 2% and 5% respectively.
Nyanyadzi also had traditional healers among its respondents.

3.2 Conceptions of water

Table 2 shows the various uses to which water was put as well as whether it was regarded
as primary or commercial water use. Water was classified as primary when it was
regarded as a basic need i.e. when used for daily subsistence requirements for most
households. Commercial water use, for which people were supposed to pay, according to
the respondents, was any use that was not regarded as primary, especially if the use
generated a financial income. Most of the water uses were classified as primary.
Table 1. Age distribution of respondents.
Number of respondents
Age Chitakatira Nyanyadzi
(years) (n=121) (n=181)
15–30 29 22
31–45 46 42
46–60 34 32
61–75 10 17
>75 1 3

Respondents did not make a distinction between clean and safe water although the
general perception was that clean and safe water was free of bacteria. Table 3 gives
perceived characteristics of clean and safe water.
Assessing demand for clean and safe domestic water in eastern Zimbabwe 231

The perception of whether water was clean or safe was influenced by the source of the
water and the season in which that water was used as shown in Table 4. In the wet
season, across all water sources, water was perceived to be unsafe.

3.3 Willingness and ability to pay

Eighty-two percent of the respondents felt that primary water use should be accessed free
of charge, and 79.5% of the respondents felt that people had to pay for commercial use of
water. Some 2.1% of the respondents felt that water had to be paid for to enable the
maintenance of
Table 2. Patterns and classification of water uses.
Classification (%)
Water use % citing Primary Commercial
water use
Drinking 99.2 98.3 0.8
Cooking 99.2 54.4 0.4
Bathing 99.2 98.7 0.4
Laundry 99.2 98 0.8
Irrigating 80.8 70.3 10.9
Livestock 31 16.7 14.3
Brick making 23.4 9.2 14.6
Irrigating 25.9 7.9 18

Table 3. Characteristics of clean and safe water.

Characteristic % attributing % attributing it
it safe clean
Clear 43.1 38.1
Bacteria free 34.3 36.4
Chlorinated 3.8 3.8
Protected 9.6 9.6
Tasty 1.3 1.3
Not rusty 0.4 0.4
Not dirty 0.4 0
Piped 0.4 0
Treated 0.8 2.9
Water resources of arid areas 232

Table 4. Perception of water quality of various

sources across seasons.
Water quality in Water quality in
summer (%) winter (%)
Water Safe Not Clean Not Safe Not Clean Not
source safe clean safe clean
Borehole 66.1 1.3 67 0.4 53.1 1.7 53.6 1.3
Deep 6.7 2.1 6.7 2.1 3.3 1.3 3.3 1.3
Shallow 0.4 2.1 0.4 2.1 0.4 1.3 0.4 1.3
River 4.2 31.8 5.4 30.5 3.3 12.6 4.6 11.3
Dam 3.3 5 2.5 5.9 2.9 3.3 2.1 4.2
Canals 25.5 1.7 25.3 1.7 16.7 1.7 16.7 1.7

infrastructure. About 80% of the respondents said it was the responsibility of the
government to ensure that the communities had enough water.
Domestic water provision was said to involve some cost by 28.9% of the respondents.
Of these, 4.8% put the costs as ranging between Z$50 and Z$400 (Z$4000=US$1). This
was however misleading since the figures coincided with the monthly water bills for
respondents, especially those staying at rural service centres. The ability to pay different
sums of money for water for the month is as shown in Figure 1.
Ability to pay, it should be noted, is a function of affordability. It, however served, as
a good indicator of respondents’ demand since it showed the price respondents would
want their water supplied at. It was observed that generally the number of respondents
decreased with the increase in the amount to be paid. However Z$10 was the most
common WTP figure. Ability to pay was linked to the SPP and MWTP, which was
affected by a number of factors such as the source of the water, the season and the
treatment water was subjected to.

3.4 Factors affecting SPP and MWTP

A regression model to find the effect of rainfall received (β1), season (β2), gender (β3),
age (β4), occupation (β5) and access to piped water (β6) on the SPP and MWTP was run at
5% significance level. The general model was defined as:

The following hypotheses were then formulated to test the assumption of normality on
equal variance using the Levene’s test.
δ12=δ22=δ32=δ42=δ52=δ62 (2)
Assessing demand for clean and safe domestic water in eastern Zimbabwe 233

δ12≠δ22≠δ32≠δ42≠δ52≠δ62 (3)

Accept H0 if p>0.05
Further analysis was undertaken using non-parametric tests, namely the Mann-
Whitney, the Moses and the Kruskal-Wallis.

Figure 1. Respondents’ ability to pay

for domestic water per month.
Table 5. Comparison of respondents’ MWTP in
different seasons.
MWTP range (Z$/bucket—25 litre container)
0 1–20 21–40 41–100 >100
Source S W D S W D S W D S W D S W D
Shallow 8.8 7.9 7.1 33 32.9 33.9 0.4 0.8 1.3 0.4 0.8 1.3 0 0 0
Water resources of arid areas 234

Deep 6.7 5.9 5.4 12.6 22.6 23.4 0.4 2.1 0.8 0 0 0.8 0.4 0 0.4
Borehole 4.6 5 4.2 34.8 31.8 33.1 1 7 4.3 1.3 2 1 1.7 2.5 0.8 1.3 1 7
River 9.6 8.8 7.9 17.5 18 19.3 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.8 1.3 1.7 0 0 0
Dam 7.9 7.9 6.3 18.7 17.9 18.9 0 0.4 0.4 0.8 1.3 2.1 0.4 0.4 0.4
Piped 2.5 2.5 2.5 48.9 47.6 45 2.5 2.9 4.2 8.2 8.7 9.5 2.1 2.5 2.8
Canals 0.4 0.4 0.4 2.1 2.1 2.1 0 0 0 0.4 0.4 0.4 0 0 0
& water
Key: S—Summer; W—Winter; D—Drought; MWTP—
Maximum willingness to pay.

Rainfall: There was a significant effect of rainfall received in a particular area on the
demand for clean and safe water. Chitakatira generally had lower SPP and MWTP values
compared to Nyanyadzi. Water was therefore perceived to be more valuable in the
generally drier Nyanyadzi than in the wetter Chitakatira. The ANOVA test on the means
showed that except for the SPP and MWTP to repair broken down pipes, all other
variables were significantly affected by the amount of rainfall received. The Mann-
Whitney test confirmed that the amount of rainfall had an effect on all variables except
the SPP for repairing a broken down pipe. The Moses test showed that all variables,
except the SPP and MWTP for establishing a new borehole, had major differences within
them because of the rainfall factor. The amount of rainfall received in a particular
location can therefore be said to influence respondents’ WTP.
Source of water: Water from boreholes, piped water schemes, canals and water taps,
shallow and deep wells had a modal MWTP figure of Z$10 whilst that of dam and river
water was Z$0. Piped water was the most popular water source followed by borehole,
shallow well, deep well, river, dam, canals and water taps.
Season: The measures of association between season and the different variables were
also very small (ranging between 0.015–0.098) confirming minimal association between
season and the SPP and MWTP values. However, drought had the highest mean followed
by winter and summer. Table 5 shows the distribution of respondents’ MWTP across the
Water treatment: Treatment of water marginally changed the proportion of
respondents willing to pay more than Z$40 across all the water sources, especially for
piped, river and dam water. When treatment was factored in, the modal MWTP figures
remained the same for the respective water points although the MWTP figures rose to
Z$999. The proportion of respondents willing to pay Z$40 or less actually increased for
water sources such as the piped scheme and river, whilst it decreased in the case of water
from boreholes, shallow and deep wells. The modal MWTP figures for different water
sources did not change. The distribution of respondents’ MWTP with and without
treatment is shown in Tables 6 and 7.
Gender: The ANOVA, Mann-Whitney and Moses tests revealed that gender did not
significantly affect the SPP and MWTP values of the respondents. Except for the SPP
and MWTP of establishing a new borehole and repairing it, all other variables showed
that males had higher mean WTP figures than their female counterparts.
Assessing demand for clean and safe domestic water in eastern Zimbabwe 235

Age: The means for the different variables were found to have small variances with
the 30–45 and 60–75 year age groups having the highest SPP and MWTP figures whilst
the dependent (15–30 and 75+ year) age groups had the lowest values. ANOVA tests
showed that the SPP and MWTP for a new deep well were affected by age. The Kruskal-
Wallis test showed that the SPP for a new water source, as well as the SPP and MWTP
for the repair of a borehole, were different for
Table 6. Comparison of respondents’ MWTP for
treated water.
Treated water—MWTP range
(Z$/bucket—25 litre container)
Source of 0 1–20 21–40 41–100 >100
Shallow 6.7 32.9 2.5 1.3 0.4
Deep well 5.4 22.1 2.1 1.7 0.4
Borehole 4.6 32.5 3.7 2.5 1.3
River 7.1 20.6 0.8 2.1 0.4
Dam 5.9 19.8 0.8 2.1 0.4
Piped 2.9 44.7 5.1 9.2 2.4
Canals & 0.4 2.5 0 0.4 0
water taps

Table 7. Comparison of respondents’ MWTP for

untreated water.
Untreated water—MWTP range
(Z$/bucket—25 litre container)
Source of 0 1–20 21–40 41–100 >100
Shallow 9.2 32.5 0.8 0.4 0
Deep well 6.7 23.4 1.7 2.1 0.4
Borehole 5 34.2 1.7 0.8 1.7
River 8.8 18.4 0.8 0.4 0
Dam 7.1 19.2 0 0.8 0.4
Piped 5.4 45.5 3.7 7.8 1.2
Canals & 0.4 2.1 0 0.4 0
water taps

respondents with the different ages. It can therefore be concluded that age affected these
variables particularly the 15–30 and 75+ year age groups.
Occupation: Traditional leaders’ MWTP was Z$1 for borehole water, Z$5 for piped
water and Z$0 for all the other water points as well as for all repairs. Communal farmers,
Water resources of arid areas 236

local government officials and students had higher SPP/MWTP figures for most variables
in decreasing intensity than traditional leaders, Agritex and ZINWA officials. ANOVA
tests revealed that the SPP and MWTP for establishing a new deep well, SPP and MWTP
for a new borehole, SPP and MWTP for repairing a borehole, and SPP and MWTP for
repairing a broken down piped scheme, had significant variances due to occupation of the
respondent. There was minimal negative association between occupation and the SPP and
MWTP for a new water source, SPP and MWTP for a new borehole, SPP and MWTP for
a new deep well, and the SPP and MWTP for borehole repairs. The SPP and MWTP for
establishing a new deep well, SPP and MWTP for a new borehole, SPP and MWTP for
repairing a borehole and SPP and MWTP for repairing a broken down piped scheme were
shown to be significantly affected by occupation according to the Kruskal-Wallis test.
Occupation had a weak association with these variables. This could be explained by the
fact that more respondents did not have a stable income hence their responses masked
those of respondents with stable sources of income.
Access to piped water: The Levene test for equality of variances on the impact of
access to piped water on respondents’ SPP/MWTP showed that there was homogenous
variance, which implied that access to piped water did not affect differences in the
SPP/MWTP. However, the Mann-Whitney test showed that access to piped water
affected WTP for all water sources although respondents with piped water had lower
SPP/MWTP figures compared to those without piped water except for borehole water.
In order to establish whether demand for a better water service delivery existed in the
communities, respondents were further asked whether they were willing to contribute
towards the establishment of a new water source that would save women time compared
to an old source, new borehole and deep well.
Investment in a new water source for women’s needs: Respondents’ SPP and MWTP
were not much different for a new water source that would save women time compared to
an old source across the seasons. However, during drought the SPP/MWTP figures were
higher than in winter and summer. The Levene test showed that variances in the SPP and
MWTP values observed were due to the effect of the amount of rainfall received.
Parameter estimates showed that Chitakatira had lower SPP and MWTP values than
Nyanyadzi. Agritex/ZINWA officials, traditional leaders and local government officials
had a decreasing effect that is lower SPP and MWTP values compared to communal
farmers and students. Gender did not affect the respondents’ SPP and MWTP values
although males had higher SPP and MWTP figures than females. The Mann-Whitney test
showed that access to piped water affected the SPP/MWTP. Respondents with piped
water had higher SPP/MWTP than their counterparts without.
For the establishment of a new borehole, Chitakatira had lower WTP figures compared
to Nyanyadzi, which decreased the SPP and MWTP values. Traditional leaders had
lowest WTP figures whilst the Agritex/ZINWA officials had the highest SPP and MWTP
figures. Drought had higher SPP and MWTP values followed by winter then summer. In
this case females were found to have higher SPP and MWTP values than males. Access
to piped water was shown not to affect respondents’ SPP/MWTP for establishing a new
Occupation, age and region had significant effects on the SPP and MWTP for the
establishment of a new deep well. Traditional leaders still had a decreasing effect on the
SPP and MWTP whilst students had the highest SPP and MWTP values. The 15–30 year
Assessing demand for clean and safe domestic water in eastern Zimbabwe 237

age group had the lowest SPP and MWTP values. Chitakatira had lower WTP values than
Nyanyadzi, which lowered the SPP and MWTP values. Gender did not significantly
affect the SPP/MWTP values although males had higher SPP and MWTP values than
their female counterparts. Season did not have a significant effect on the SPP and MWTP
values for the establishment of a new deep well.


The evidence gathered in this study showed interesting perceptions held by rural people
in relation to WTP for clean and safe domestic water. At a general level it can be said that
there is no substance in the assertion that poor people do not want to pay for water. In
Zimbabwe poor people have already begun to meet operational and maintenance costs in
domestic water sources (Machingambi and Manzungu, 2003), and in publicly owned
irrigation schemes, contrary to claims that the government maintained these schemes
(Manzungu, 1999). Worldwide it has been documented that poor people tend to pay the
highest amounts for domestic water (Cosgrove and Rijsberman, 2000). Where payments
are not forthcoming the problem may be a lack of money rather than willingness to pay
(Machingambi and Manzungu, 2003). Poor community mobilisation methodologies may
also be another reason (Global Water Partnership, 2000).
The study has also provided insights into specific issues concerning the supply of
domestic water in rural areas, which may be of interest to policymakers and practitioners.
It was clear that there was a high awareness of the potential danger caused by
consumption of water containing bacteria. Respondents characterised clean and safe
water as being free of bacteria. There was also a realisation of the likely causes of the
contamination. This was shown by the fact that water was perceived to be generally
unsafe in the wet season (hence lower WTP figures than for the dry season). Piped water
had the highest WTP figures as it was rated the safest. River water was rated the most
unsafe; it had the largest proportion of respondents not willing to pay anything for it in
summer. Treating water had the effect of increasing MWTP figures.
In some cases physical scarcity of water also affected SPP and MWTP. This explains
why Nyanyadzi, the drier of the two regions, had respondents who were willing to pay
higher amounts of money for their water than their counterparts in Chitakatira. The
impact of physical scarcity of water on shaping the management of water resources is
increasingly being acknowledged internationally. It is not absolute scarcity of water that
is a problem but an economic scarcity regarding the availability of finances for the
development and management of water resources (IWMI, 2000). This explains the
paradox of a country like Zambia with more water resources than South Africa, but has a
greater percentage of the population suffering from water scarcity more than the latter.
Some commentators have also argued that water scarcity can lead to better adaptive
capacities, which may mean the adoption of more intensive water uses (Turton and
Ohlsson, 1999). This underlines the importance of analysing the role of social, cultural
and economic factors in influencing willingness to pay for water.
Socio-economic and cultural factors affected respondents’ WTP for water. The effect
of the respondents’ economic circumstances on WTP for water was illustrated by the fact
that economically dependent individuals’ (15–30 and the 75+ year age groups) were not
Water resources of arid areas 238

interested in contributing towards their water use. Their WTP was not affected by
whether the water was safe or unsafe since they showed no interest in paying for water.
Generally traditional leaders were not willing to pay for water because they considered
themselves as owners of the water, underlining the role of cultural factors in influencing
the demand for water. Perceptions about who owns water also affected WTP
(Machingambi and Manzungu, 2003). However safety was a fundamental factor in
influencing respondents WTP as even the traditional leaders who were unwilling to pay
for water from any other water source wanted to pay for the “safe” piped water.
Females were found to have lower WTP than males probably due to the fact that they
normally do not handle finances in the home. They therefore tended to be more
conservative regarding money issues than the males. However females had low WTP
figures in relation to investing in new water sources to reduce labour upon women. The
influence of physical, socio-economic and cultural factors on the WTP provided a basis
for respondents to portray their degree of concern about access to reliable, safe and clean
water, the ideal institutional context in which water could be provided and the way in
which it would be financed. Addressing such issues constitutes a more holistic
intervention in water issues affecting respondents, rather than merely focusing on cost


Demographic characteristics of respondents are important in influencing WTP for clean

and safe domestic water. Cost recovery policies should therefore be related to
demographic characteristics of the intended beneficiaries. While demand for reliable,
accessible, clean and safe water was shown to exist in rural areas, success of cost
recovery policies depends on the ability to pay.


The authors wish to thank the Water Research Fund for Southern Africa (WARFSA) for
providing the grant that made the study possible. Mr Chimedza of the University of
Zimbabwe’s Department of Statistics is greatly acknowledged for the assistance with data
entry and analysis.


CSO, 1992. Central Statistics Office, Census 1992, Provincial Profile: Manicaland. Government
Chenje, M. & Johnson, P. (eds.) 1996. Water in Southern Africa, SADC/IUCN/SARDC. Harare,
Print Holdings.
Cosgrove, W.J. & Rijsberman, F.R. 2000. World Water Vision: Making Water Everybody’s
Business. London. Earthscan Publications Ltd.
Global Water Partnership, 2000. Towards Water Security: A framework for Action. GWP,
Assessing demand for clean and safe domestic water in eastern Zimbabwe 239

Government of Zimbabwe, 1995. Poverty Assessment Study, Harare, Government Printers.

International Water Management Institute, 2000. World Water Supply and Demand: 1995 to 2025.
DTP Unit, IWMI—January 2000, Colombo.
Machingambi, M. & Manzungu, E. 2003. An evaluation of rural communities’ water use patterns
and preparedness to manage domestic water sources in Zimbabwe. Physics and Chemistry of the
Earth: Water Demand Management for Sustainable Use of Water Resources, 28(20–27):1039–
1046. Pergamon Press.
Makumbe, J.Mw, 1996. Participatory development: the case of Zimbabwe. Harare, University of
Zimbabwe Publications.
Manzungu, E. 1999. Strategies for smallholder irrigation management in Zimbabwe. PhD Thesis,
Wageningen University, The Netherlands.
Manzungu, E. 2001. A lost opportunity: The case of the water reform debate in the fourth
parliament of Zimbabwe. Zambezia, XXVIII (i):97–119.
Moyo, N.A.G. & Mtetwa, S. 2000. Water Quality Management Strategy for Zimbabwe. A paper
prepared for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Harare.
National Action Committee, 1997. Sustainability strategy for the National Rural Water Supply and
Sanitation Programme, Government of Zimbabwe, Harare.
Pearce, D., Markandya, A. & Barbier, E.B. 1989. Blueprint for a green economy. London,
Earthscan Publications.
Savenije, H. & van der Zaag, P. 2002. Water as an economic good and demand management:
paradigms with pitfalls. Water International, 27(1):98–104.
Turton, A.R. & Ohlsson, L. 1999. Water scarcity and social adaptive capacity: Towards an
understanding of the social dynamics of managing water scarcity in developing countries. Paper
presented at the Workshop on Water and Social Stability at the 9th Stockholm Water
Symposium on Urban Stability through Integrated Water-Related Management, hosted
Stockholm Water Institute (SIWI), Stockholm, Sweden, 9–12 August.
Vincent, V. & Thomas, R.G. 1960. An agricultural survey of Southern Rhodesia: Part I—agro-
ecological survey. Salisbury, Government Printer.
The role of supplementary irrigation for food
production in a semi-arid country—Palestine
Mohammed Yousef Sbeih
Irrigation Project Coordinator, American Near East Refugee Aid
(ANERA), Ramallah, West Bank, Palestine
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: Palestine consists of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The
proclaimed state of Palestine has a land area of 6657km2. Water is
considered an essential factor of life and needs to be developed in arid
countries. Reuse of treated wastewater for irrigation as supplementary
irrigation will increase the irrigated area in Palestine and replace fresh


Palestine consists of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The proclaimed state of Palestine
has a land area of 6657km2. Water is always considered as an essential factor of life and
development in arid and semi-arid countries. In Palestine the total per capita water
consumption is 139m3.
The total available water for Irrigation is 239 M.C.M. which is responsible for
irrigating only 330000 dunums out of 2314.000 dunums cultivated that can be irrigated if
water is available i.e. 5% of the total cultivated land.
The average rainfall is 450mm and unfortunately there isn’t any water harvesting
structures i.e. dams, most of this rainwater flowing towards the Dead Sea or the
Mediterranean Sea as waste. So harvesting this water in individual farmer land and using
this water for supplementary irrigation to irrigate olive trees, almonds, grapes and cereals
will be of a great impact on the Palestinian land for feed production. It should be noted
that there are few farmers who practice supplementary irrigation for production of
vegetables that are planted in summer as individual initiative. The quantity and quality of
production that they have is extremely tangible.
Since most of the land in Palestine is planted by olive, grape, and cereals,
supplementary irrigation should be introduced and practiced where the production of
wheat via irrigation by treated wastewater was three times that under rain fed planting
project implemented in a pilot project.
The role of supplementary irrigation for food production in a semi-arid country-Palestine 241

Reuse of treated wastewater for irrigation as supplementary irrigation will increase the
irrigated area in Palestine and will replace the fresh water that can be used for domestic


As it was mentioned before, Palestine is a semi-arid country, where the average rainfall is
450mm. The availability of water is questionable. Furthermore, the availability of water
for agriculture is reducing in a tangible way due to the following:
1. The normal increase in growth rate, the population of the country is increasing, so the
demand for domestic water is also increasing. This will affect the availability of water
for agriculture.
2. Since rainwater is the only source of water, the quantity of rainwater (rainfall) has been
decreasing in the recent years.
3. There is a huge conflict on water issues at this stage between the Palestinians and the
Israelis since Israel occupied Palestine. It should be mentioned here that during early
negotiations in the peace process, four main issues have been delayed since 1992; they
are Jerusalem, refugees, water and borders. Still after 8 years of negotiations, there
hasn’t been any significant movement on these issues. So the quantity of water that
can be available for the Palestinians will probably not be increased.
4. The quality of ground water wells especially in Gaza and Jericho becomes saline and
shortly it cannot be safely available for agriculture.
From the above, it seems that extra availability of water for additional irrigated area or
even to sustain the irrigated area is not an easy task.
Total cultivated area in the West Bank is 2100.00 dunums, but the irrigated area is
110000 dunums. From the small experience (pilot project) for this field as well as other
country experience i.e. Syria. It has been proven that the production of crops under
supplementary irrigation is 3 times higher than under rain fed crop, in addition to the
increase in the quality of the product. So if supplementary irrigation has been practiced
we can easily increase the production of rained crops to three times or twice. This will
play a major role in providing food for the people and even exports can take place and the
net income of the country will be increased.


It is foreseen that the world’s food production has to be doubled in the next 25 years, and
thus, the agriculture continues to be an important sector in the 21st century. Meanwhile,
the agriculture sector remains the largest user of the water resources, and it is evident that
there is a decline of agricultural water due to increasing demands from cities, industries,
and hydropower utilities in the developing countries such as Asia. Much of the water has
to come from irrigation water savings.
Water resources of arid areas 242

Population and economic growth in many developing countries of Asia have created
serious problems, such as the shortage of food, the scarcity of water, and the deterioration
of the environment.
Some of the irrigation and drainage projects have been seriously criticized due to their
high-cost and low-efficiency for the construction and maintenance. The concept of
maximum yield is now changing to optimum yield for creating an efficient irrigation
schedule. The water saving is the most sustainable conservation, because it reduces the
new construction needs to meet the increased water demand. The major issues of
agricultural water are how to increase withdrawals about 15–20% by water saving, how
to increase storages 10–15% by new irrigation facilities, and how to conserve the water
quality of irrigation.


4.1 Definition
ICARDA defines supplemental irrigation (SI) as; the addition of essentially rain fed crops
of small amounts of water during times when rainfall fails to provide sufficient moisture
for normal plant growth, in order to improve and stabilize yields. Accordingly, the
concept of SI in areas having limited water resources is built on three bases:
First: water is applied to rain fed crops, that would normally produce some yield
without irrigation;
Second: since precipitation is the principal source of moisture for rain fed crops, SI is
only applied when precipitation fails to provide essential moisture for improved and
stabilized production and;
Third: the amount and timing of SI are not meant to provide moisture stress-free
conditions rather to provide minimum water during the critical stages of crop growth to
ensure optimal instead of maximum yield.
The management of supplemental irrigation is seen as a reverse case of full or
conventional irrigation (FI). In the latter the principal source of moisture is the fully
controlled irrigation water, while the highly variable limited precipitation is only
supplementary. Unlike FI the management of SI is dependent on the precipitation as a
basic source of water for crops grown.
Water resources for supplemental irrigation are mainly surface, but shallow ground
water aquifers are being increasingly used lately. Non-conventional water resources are
of a potential for the future, but an important one emerging is water harvesting (Dwas

4.2 Improving production with SI

Research results from ICARDA and other institutions in the dry areas as well as harvest
from farmers showed substantial increases in crop yields in response to the application of
relatively small amounts of supplemental irrigation. This increase covers cases with low
as well as high rainfall. Average increases in wheat grain yield under low, medium and
high annual rainfall in Tel Hadya reached about 400%, 150% and 30% using amounts of
The role of supplementary irrigation for food production in a semi-arid country-Palestine 243

SI of about 180, 125 and 75mm respectively. Generally, optimal SI amounts range from
75mm to 250mm in areas with annual rainfall between 500 to 250mm, respectively.
Determining the optimal amount under various conditions will be discussed later (Oweis
When rainfall is low, more water is needed but the response is greater, but increases in
yield are remarkable even when rainfall is as high as 500mm. The response was found to
be higher when rain distribution over the season is poor. However, in all rain fed areas of
the region it was found that some time in the spring there is usually a period of stress,
which threatens, yield levels. This soil moisture stress usually starts in March, April of
May, if total annual rainfall received is low, average or high respectively (Oweis 2001).
In Syria average wheat yields under rain fed conditions are only 1.25t/ha and this is
one of the highest in the region. With SI the average grain yield was up to 3t/ha. In 1996
over 40% of rain fed areas were under SI and over half of the 4 mil tons national
production was attributed to this practice. Supplemental irrigation does not only increase
yield but also stabilizes farmer’s production. The coefficient of variation in rain fed
production in Syria was reduced from 100% to 10$ when SI was practices. This is of
special socio-economic importance since it affects farmer’s income (Oweis 2001).

4.2.1 Introduction
Historical Palestine is located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, as
well as to the Red Sea from the south. The present proposed Palestinian state consists of
West Bank and Gaza Strip. The other part of Palestine is occupied by Israel in 1948. This
study focuses on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The proclaimed state of Palestine has
a land area of 6657 square kilometres (Kateeb 1993). Population senses has been taken
place recently by the Bureau of Statistics early 1998. It is reported that the population of
the West Bank is 1571571 and Gaza Strip is 963026 where the total population of the
Palestinian people is 2534598 people.
Ground water is the main water source in the country. It is recharged by rainfall.
Rainfall varies from 100mm in the south east to 800mm in the north. The average rainfall
is 550mm (Sbeih 1995). Where the average rainfall in Jordan Valley is from 100mm to
270mm/year (Zaru 1992), and in Gaza is 200–400mm/year (Abu Safieh 1991).
Not all the rainwater is available to the Palestinian due to Israeli Military orders.
Water is abstracted from the ground water through 340 wells in the West Bank and 1781
wells in Gaza. In addition to that springs contribute a lot, where half of the irrigation
water in the West Bank is due to springs.
The quality of the available water varies from almost rain water to brackish water. In
the Jordan Valley where it is the lowest point in the elevation in the world where
temperature is very high in this area especially in summer. As example, the chloride
content is reaching 68mg/l and the SAR reaches 11.7 where the TDS reaches 5000PPM.
Still the utilization of this saline water is not as efficient and environmentally safe as it
should be where further utilization of this water could play a major role in developing the
area where still the irrigated area consists of not more than 6% of the cultivated area in
the West Bank.
Water resources of arid areas 244

It should be mentioned that not only saline water does already exist and utilized
unproperly, but it also seems to be that the additional water that can be allocated for
irrigation is also saline water which is going to be from:
1. The Eastern aquifer to be used in Jordan Valley.
2. From the treated waste water from different cities and villages in the West Bank.

4.2.2 Water sources in occupied Palestine West Bank

Two main water sources are available for Palestinian in the occupied Palestine (West
Bank and Gaza Strip) for agricultural, domestic and industrial use. These are rainfalls and
ground water sources—Palestinians consume water mainly through ground water wells
and springs (where rainfall is considered the main recharge). The total annual water
springs discharge varies according to the rainfall. The total annual flow of the 113 fresh
water springs in the West Bank ranges between 24 M.C.M. (as in the year 1978/79) to
119.9 M.C.M. (as in the year 199/92) and with an average of 52.9 M.C.M. as calculated
from the annual flow in the past 24 years. Around 86% of the total annual flow of these
113 springs is within the eastern drainage (in/or toward the Jordan Valley), while the
other 14% is within the western and south-west (Nusseibeh 1995) where the total
estimated annual water discharge from ground wells is 60 M.C.M. (Awartani 1992). So
that the total annual water available to Palestinian is 113 M.C.M. In addition to that there
is another 2.5 M.C.M. is collected directly from the rainfall in cisterns in Palestinian
houses. So that the total available water is 116 M.C.M./year, for more information see
Table 1. Gaza Strip

Water situation in Gaza Strip is very critical. The Gaza Strip lies on top of two water
strata. The upper is fresh water, the lower carries saline water. The annual consumption
of water is at present in the vicinity of 100 M.C.M. These aquifers get replenishment of
some 60% leaving a deficit of 40 M.C.M. of water (Shawwa 1991).
Even the Gaza water is lower in quality than West Bank, but due to the complication
of the situation there and due to the geographic location where my work is more in the
West Bank. This paper will address West Bank issues more clearly.
Table 1. Basic land and water indicators for Israel
and the occupied Palestinian and other Arab
West Gaza Israel
Bank Strip
Total area 5573000 360000 20000000
Population (1988) 900000 600000 4300000
The role of supplementary irrigation for food production in a semi-arid country-Palestine 245

Area of land 2100000 214000 4250000

Area of land 110000 120000 850000
irrigated (dunums)
Percentage of total 5 56 44
irrigated land (%)
Percentage of total 38 59 21
land cultivated (%)
Annual water 95 80 1320
consumption for
irrigation (million
Annual water 27 21 325
consumption for
(million m3)
Annual water 3 2 125
consumption for
industry (million
Total annual water 125 103 1770
(million m3)
Total per capita 139 172 411
water consumption
Per capita water 30 35 75
consumption per
household (m3)
Per capita water 3.3 3.3 29
consumption for
industry (m3)
Per capita water 106 133 307
consumption for
irrigation (m3)
1 dunum=1000m2.
Source: Israeli land and water policies and
practices in the occupied Palestinian and Arab
territories, unpublished study in Arabic
(Economic and Social Commission for Western
Asia, Baghdad, 1990), p. 8.

4.2.3 Irrigated areas in the occupied Palestine

In Palestine, being a semi arid country, we are confronted by a demographic growth, and
agricultural development as well livestock and industrial development. Thus in essential
growing water requirement makes the rational management of water resources supremely
important in order for development to be lasting and for environment to be served.
Water resources of arid areas 246

On a global basis at least 60% of all water abstracted at present is used for agricultural
production. In Palestine 70% of all water consumed is due to agriculture.
Here in Palestine, agriculture is considered to be one of the main national income.
Agricultural production contributes 47.61% of the total national income in 1970.
The potential for irrigation to raise both agricultural productivity and the living
standards of the rural poor has long been recognized. Irrigated agriculture occupies
approximately 17% of the world’s total available land but the production from this land
comprises about 34% of the world total.
In Palestine, irrigation is considered to be the spinal chord of plant production for the
following reasons:
1. Palestine is considered as a semi arid region where some of the crops cannot be grown
without irrigation (example, citrus).
2. In the Jordan Valley, which constitutes the main agricultural production for the
country, irrigation is a must due to low rainfall and high temperature.
3. With irrigation the same plot of land can be planted up to three times per year while it
cannot be planted more than two times with dry farming.
4. Different varieties and crops can be planted in any region due to the availability of
water i.e. more flexibility of planting several crops at different regions in different
times of the year.
5. Job creation: Since the labour requirement per irrigated dunum is more than double
that of job required per dry farming per one season. This has now become more vital
due to continuous of closures of the West Bank and Gaza Strip where the number of
labourers that are working in the Palestinian part that occupied in 1948 is sharply
6. Agricultural production is much higher for irrigated farming than for dry farming per
dunum per season. As example average tomato production per dunum is as follows:
– Dry farming: 2–3 ton per dunum per season.
– Irrigated (open land) 6–8 ton per dunum per season
– Irrigated (greenhouse) 12–16 ton per dunum per season
7. Net income per dunum of dry farming does not exceed $150 while from irrigated area
the net income can exceed $1500 per dunum.
8. Especially in Palestine, where the horizontal expansion in agriculture by increasing the
total cultivated area due to the Israeli occupation, and shortage of water. The vertical
expansion could be the main parameter to play with. Irrigation will be the main
element in this formula. So that providing extra water for irrigation to irrigate as much
as possible of the cultivated area is a must. This implies that Palestinian should use
any drop of water. Regardless the quality of that water practically and efficiently:
Table 2 shows the irrigated area in each district in Palestine where the total irrigated area
in 1993–94 was 217000 dunum (PSBS 1996).
The role of supplementary irrigation for food production in a semi-arid country-Palestine 247

Table 2. Distribution of area that could be irrigated

in the West Bank (Source: Awartani, 1991).
Location Dunum
Plains in Jenin and Tulkarem 99600
Highland 27740
Eastern slopes 64.6
Jordan Valley 93.5
Total 535.1

4.2.4 Available area that is ready for irrigation

Where in Gaza Strip the irrigated area could be doubled or tripled in terms of
topographical situation but due to the limitation of the water both quality and quantity it
is very difficult to increase the irrigated area while in the West Bank the area that could
be irrigated in terms of topographical conditions estimated to be 535 thousand dunums
(Awartani 1991) as in Table 2.
Where in the study conducted by PWA in 1992 in order to develop a plan for the
western Ghore the following locations could be the most suitable area to be ready for
irrigation. Northern Ghore

The areas suitable for irrigated agriculture in this region include:
18000 dunums in Ein Al Beida, Bardalla villages
5300 dunums in the Ghore
3500 dunums in the Ghore
But the Ghore and Zhor areas are mostly closed by the Israeli Military orders. El-Bique Valley

This is a large flat area to the west of the hills of northern Ghore. This area includes about
18500 dunums of fertile smooth deep soil. The Palestinian farmers as rainfed excluding
5500 dunums where the two settlements their (Baquat and Roi) are occupying cultivate
all this area. Upper El Fara’ Valley area (Semi-Ghore)

In this area, there are 13100 dunums that are suitable for irrigation and can be easily
irrigated as follows:
Sahl Tubas 3600 dunums
Sahel Tayassear 900 dunums
Sahel Tammun 1900 dunums
Sahel El Fara’ 5000 dunums
El Nassarieh (additional) 1700 dunums
Water resources of arid areas 248

Where there are another 7000 dunums, which are already irrigated. The middle and south Ghore

This region extends from approximately grid north 180 (northern of Marj Najeh) in the
north to the Dead Sea in the south and from the Jordan River in the east to the feet of the
west-bank mountains.
The total area that could be ready for irrigation in this area is 145500 dunums. In
summary, the total area that can be used in irrigated agriculture in the western Ghore will
Northern Ghore 26800 dunums
Biquia Valley 18500 dunums
Semi-Ghore 201000 dunums
Southern Ghore 145500 dunums
Total 210900 dunums

Where about 44000 (PCBC 1991) dunums of this area is currently irrigated. So the total
additional area that could be irrigated in the West Bank is (210900−44
000+(535100−935000)= 608500 dunums.
It should be mentioned that the Jordan Valley produces more than 59% of the
vegetables produced in the West Bank. It also produces 100% of the bananas produced in



Still the term supplementary irrigation is not even used formally and officially in
Palestine. Until this time there is not any plan of implementing any project of
supplementary irrigation. This is mainly due to the lack of qualified staff at the Ministry
of Agriculture as well as to the lack of great interest to agriculture from M.O.A. due to
the following reasons:
1. The lack of responsibility of the Palestinian Authority on most of the agricultural land
due to the occupation.
2. The lack of finance and funding to development projects.
Nevertheless, there are individuals who attempt to use supplementary irrigation, an
example of that are few farmers in Sinjel town in the Ramallah area.


This village is located just between Ramallah and Nablus cities, situated 20km to the
north of Ramallah. The total agricultural area in the village excess 4000 dunums, out of
these areas. About 1000 dunums are plain and flat.
The role of supplementary irrigation for food production in a semi-arid country-Palestine 249

This 1000 dunums is planted with vegetables in summer and cereals in winter. All of
this area is rain fed, there are no source of water for irrigation since this area is located
close to the village (houses), it is easy for the farmers to bring water by mobile tanks.
Usually the farmers in summer, bring some water and store them in a container
(barrel) of 200 liter capacity each, since the ownership of land is between 3–5dunums, the
number of barrels used are 6–8.
In summer farmers used to plant vegetables, at the time of planting the seedlings,
farmers used to irrigate the seedling by a bucket. Farmers used to mix the fertilizer water
and irrigation at the time of planting the seedlings. Later on, after 20 days the second
irrigation with fertilizer is applied. The third one and the last one are provided with
fertilizer before flowering. The total amount of water applied per each plant is not more
than 1 liter, for a dunum of 1000 plants, 1000 liter is applied 1 cubic meter of water
applied for the whole season per one dunum. While for the irrigated area the minimum
irrigation water requirement is 70m3/dunum per the season.
In this village, Sinjel, and through my investigation, in the year 2000 I found 3 farmers
who are using this approach technology, when I asked one of them what is the result that
you will expect, he broadly replied:
1. The quality of agricultural product that I used to obtain for the last two years where I
used to use supplementary irrigation is much better than the product of my neighbor in
the same plot of land in the village, so the price per 1kg. That I got is much higher
2. The total production is much higher than that of my neighbor, i.e. I got 4 tons each per
dunum, my neighbor got 2 tons of squash per dunum.
3. The period of production that I have is much bigger than that of my neighbor has, this
means that total income that I gained is much higher. I used the produce vegetables for
2 months, while my neighbor only one month, i.e. the harvesting period is much
higher when supplementary irrigation used.
I informed this farmer that I am working on an irrigation project coordinator for an NGO
that provides funds for farmers. Since this farmer believes that he was happy from his
production since he has only 3dunums and all of his family working in this plot of land,
he did not ask what service that since that we offered, this totally indicated that he is
happy, and he did not need any further assistance. At that time there was visiting
irrigation professor from Canada. This professor told me that we should use him as a
model to encourage people using appropriate technology.
Another example of using supplementary irrigation is found in Hebron where a farmer
from Al Tamimi family, who has a grape field and luckily a pipe water pass through his
field and used to get some water from this pipe and provide some water for his grape. In
winter since the rainfall in Hebron is not exceeding 300mm, as well as in July.
Water resources of arid areas 250

Table 3. Results of El Bireh wastewater treatment

pilot plant using treated wastewater.
Treatment Production of wheat
(anber variety), all the
plants (kg/dunum)
Irrigation with 2520
treated wastewater
with fertilizer
Irrigation with 20036
treated wastewater
without fertlizer
Without irrigation, 1600
with fertilizer
Without irrigation, 572
without fertilizer

It is well known in Hebron, that the quality of grape of that man is the best in Hebron,
since Hebron is of the biggest producing city (country) in Palestine.
Since the municipality constructed a pilot treatment plant, it thought of planting crops
using the treated effluent. This was funded by American Near East Refugee Aid
(ANERA). Three crops were selected by the Agriculture Department to be planted for the
first time in Palestine using treated wastewater:
● Artichokes on 150m2—planted on October 31, 1993.
● Onion frozen production on 500m2—planted on November 6, 1993.
● Wheat on 1000m2—planted on November 22, 1993.
● Drip irrigation as well as sprayers were used.
Several treatments were made as follows:
● Irrigation with wastewater used, fertilization was used.
● Same as above, but without application of fertilization.
● Irrigation not used but fertilization was used.
● No irrigation and no fertilization (dry land farming).
All the agricultural practices were used (pesticides, ploughing, seed control, etc.
Table 3 shows the production of each kind of treatment. The impact of using treated
wastewater appears clear.

1. Time of planting was October 1993; all the crops received rainfall during the growing
2. Time of harvesting was June 2, 1994.
3. Production with irrigation with treated wastewater with fertilization was five times
without irrigation and fertilization.
4. Production increased the soil when irrigated with treated wastewater where fertilization
was applied on both cases (irrigated and non-irrigated).
The role of supplementary irrigation for food production in a semi-arid country-Palestine 251



Since the ownership of land is very small in size i.e. from 5–10 dunums, supplementary
irrigation can be easily implemented for vegetables, trees and to cereals to some extent
constructing of small ponds of 40–50m3 capacity, i.e. this pond can be located on a 14–18
meter square area. This pond can be located on the lowest point in elevation of the
individual land. This land serves two farmers if agreed upon where it can be sited on the
border of each farmer land.
Distributing of water to the plant can be done manually by lifting the water and
distributing it to the plants by a bucket. Another way of distributing this water that this
water can be lifted manually from the pond and poured into a barrel that can be located
on the dip of the pond with 1/2meter raised over the surface so water can be distributed to
the plant by gravity through pipe line. The farmer can distribute the water pipe from the
plant to another. These methods can be implemented
Table 4. Results of Al Beireh Pilot Wastewater
Treatment, 1994.
Crop Kind of Seed Hay
Wheat 870 Irrigation with 687.5 1375
type fertilizer
Irrigation 656.70 1373
Rainfed with Rainfed with 537.5 1187.5
fertilizer fertilizer
Rainfed without 500 1531.25
Wheat anber Irrigation with 864 1656
type fertilizer
Irrigation 824 1212
Fertilizer Rainfed with 600 1000
Rainfed without 236 336

easily with zero operation cost. Since only the farmer himself can conduct this job easily,
another method of distributing water is by using a small pumped electricity is available
since the head required is very small.
In the case of cereals water can be distributed easily by establishing ponds, so water
can be discharged into the farm then water can flow by gravity. In order to reduce the
Water resources of arid areas 252

cost of pumping farms can cooperate between themselves when each farmer can
construct his pond on the highest point in elevation on his land. His pond can receive
water from his neighbour’s field and so on.


To construct a pond of 50m3 the following is needed with estimated costs:

1. Excavation of 50m3 =$3900
2. Construction works =$2000
3. Plastering =$500
4. Parallel, pipes, buckets =$120
Total estimatated cost: =$3100


Assume a plot of land of 5 dunums planted with vegetables. The production of vegetables
of rainfed per dunum is 3 tons/dunum, the production of dunum with supplementary
irrigation is 4.1 ton.
The price per ton is $200 for The income per supplementary irrigation
rainfed crops. is 4×250=$1000.
The price per ton for The net income due to supplementary
supplementary irrigation is $250. irrigation will be 1000?=400 per dunum.
S the income per rainfed 5 dunums×400=2000 per session per 5
dunum=3×200=$600. dunums.


1. In Palestine the total cultivated area is 2314000 dunums, while the irrigated area is
230000 dunums, so any efforts for increasing the productivity of the cultivated area
should be considered due to the large area, while the production of the irrigated area is
on its maximum.
2. Providing of extra water or even to sustain the existing water for both irrigation and
domestic purposes is questionable due to the increase demand for domestic purposes
first and due to the Palestinian-Israeli water conflict.
3. Practicing supplementary irrigation is not costly and did not need that much
complicated technology.
4. The irrigated area only represents 6% of the cultivated area, where the land that can be
easily irrigated is estimated to be 608600 dunums. In the West Bank only, which is 6
times the land that is already irrigated but water is needed.
5. The salinity of the ground water is deteriorated by time due to over pumping, sea
intrusion and the low rainfall especially in the Jordan Valley and in the Gaza Strip, so
providing fresh water for irrigation is questionable.
The role of supplementary irrigation for food production in a semi-arid country-Palestine 253

6. The additional water that will be available for the Palestinians will be either from (a)
Eastern aquifer, (b) Jordan River, or (c) Treated wastewater. Where all of this water is
saline water, where there are another source such as the mountain aquifers, but this
seems to be difficult to be secured soon.
7. The early possible of expansion in irrigation will be in Jordan Valley where the
existing water wells and the future water that might be available is saline.
8. Since the treated water is in the full control of the Palestinians, more attention and care
should be paid in order to better and safe utilize of this water for developing the
agricultural sector in Palestine, and this water can be used for supplementary
9. The productivity of one cubic meter of water with supplementary irrigation is much
higher than that of irrigated land since the water prepared by irrigated dunum is 7
times more than the required for supplementary irrigation.
10. The existing irrigated area is already exhausted since this land used to be planted two
or three times a year where the other land used to be cultivated once a year even it
kept fallow on some years.
11. Palestinian Agricultural Ministry and Palestinian Water Authority should recognize
the situation and consider supplementary irrigation as a major element for food supply.


Abdul Jabar, Q. 1996. Chemical analysis of Jericho wells. PhD, Jerusalem.

Abu Arafeh, A. 1894. Jordan Valley, Jerusalem, published by Arab Studies Society.
Al Khateeb, N. Palestinian water supplies and demands. A proposal for the development of a
required water master plan, IPC, Jerusalem.
Awartani, H. 1991. Irrigated Agriculture in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Al Najah
National Univseristy, Nablus.
Awartani, H. 1992. Groundwater wells in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, PhD, Jerusalem.
ICID, 2001. General Report to the First Asian Regional Conference of International Commission
on Irrigation and drainage. Agricultural, Water and Environment, Seoul, Korea.
Nusseibeh, M. & Nasser Eddin, T. 1995. Palestinian Fresh Water Springs, Jerusalem, Palestine.
Palestinian Water Authority, 1992, Water Development Plan, Jerusalem, Palestine.
Sbeih, M. 1995. Recycling of treated wastewater in Palestine: Urgency, obstacles, and experience
to date, Elsevier.
Oweis, T. 2001. Supplemental Irrigation for field crops, water saving and increasing water
productivity: challenges and options. University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan.
Conversion of priority water rights to
proportional water permits and conflict
management in the Mupfure river catchment,
Tamsanqa Mpala
Scientific & Industrial Research & Development Center (SIRDC),
Harare, Zimbabwe
Water Resources of Arid Areas–Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: The Zimbabwe Water Act of 1976 was repealed and

replaced by the Water Act of 1998. The Water Act of 1998 (Chapter
20:24) came into force on the 1st January 2000 and with it came the
abolishment of the prior date system of water allocation. In the
promulgation of the new Water Act, existing water rights used under the
priority date system were to be converted to proportional water permits.
The objective was to promote equitable access to water resources for all
Zimbabweans and to encourage the sustainable utilization of the resource.
The challenge for the newly established catchment councils was therefore
to determine all existing water rights in their respective catchments and
conduct the conversion exercise based on water generated in the
catchment and water use by water right holders. This study analyzed the
existing water rights and water generation for the Mswenzi River
catchment and conducted the conversion to water permits with the Sanyati
Catchment Manager.


Any resource, such as water, when used by more than one user in a single catchment or
river basin, tends to attract conflicts about how it is shared and distributed.
This paper focuses to a large extent on a highly committed small river catchment;
namely, the Mswenzi River Catchment that forms part of a greater basin, which
eventually drains off into the Zambezi River and into the Indian Ocean. The Mswenzi is a
tributary of the Shuru Shuru River in the northwestern region of Zimbabwe. The Shuru
Shuru River in turn is a tributary of the Mupfure River that drains northwesterly and into
the Zambezi River. The study catchment has a total surface area of approximately
Conversion of priority water rights to proportional water permits and conflict management 255

158km2 with the Mswenzi River stretching a distance of 22km. The study catchment
generates on average an estimated 70mm of surface water per year, or 11.0*106m3/year.
Hence, this paper looks into the operationalization of water rights in the Mswenzi river
catchment and gives an analytical recommendation of converting the old water rights
used under the Zimbabwe Water Act (1976) to new water permits as recommended under
the new Zimbabwe Water Act of 1998. A water right, for the purpose of this study, has
been defined as a right to use beneficially a certain volume of water expressed in absolute
volumetric units per time unit, whilst a water permit is a permit or allowance for the use
of water, which specifies and restricts the use of water allocated. At the same time the
paper attempts to bring out the conflicts involved in the Mswenzi catchment between
upstream and downstream commercial water users. The paper discusses the legislative
policies by looking at the old and new Water Acts and highlights the important principles
that will govern conflict management and help spells out recommendations for water
authorities and catchment management institutions.


In Zimbabwe, the Water Act of 1976, which was repealed by the new Water Act of 1998,
vested all public water in the President and private water was water belonging to the
owner of land on which it was found. The right to use water was dependent on the type of
use. For primary use no right was required. Access of water for non-primary use was
based on the prior appropriation doctrine, where an appropriated right was based on the
application of the appropriated public water to some beneficial use. The granting of any
water right was the exclusive function of the Administrative Court sitting as the Water
Court. The right would only be granted if public water was available and if it could be
ascertained that the water would be put to beneficial use. The right granted was
dependent on the date on which the application for the right was made. This date
determined the applicant’s priority in the use of water applied for.
The new Zimbabwe Water Act of 1998, which replaces the old Water Act (1976)
sought to bring about equal and fair distribution of the available water resources in the
national interest for the development of the rural, urban, industrial, mining and
agricultural sectors. The major principles of the new Water Act were that all water would
now be owned by the State and any use of it other than for purposes of primary use
should be approved by the State. All stakeholders should be involved in decision-making
processes and contribute to sustainable management of water resources. Water resources
would be managed at catchment and sub-catchment levels, and the environment would
also be considered a legitimate user of water. One of the important changes of the Water
Act that is brought out in this study is that the priority date system of first come first
served of water allocation was abolished to enable the principle of equitable access to
water and sharing of water at all times. A fractional allocation system is now the
recommended allocation system for non-primary water use.
Water resources of arid areas 256


The Mswenzi River Catchment has an area of approximately 160km2, and on average
generates 11.0*106m3/a of blue water. Water generated in the catchment is based on the
annual unit runoff and the catchment area, where the water generated (m3/a), is a product
of the two.
Mean unit runoff for the catchment is 70mm/year and the calculated catchment area is
158.15km2. This gives an amount of 11.0*106m3/a as water generated in the catchment.
The Mswenzi River catchment has a total of 17 existing water rights owned by mainly
commercial farmers, who have built reservoirs with a total capacity of 7.3*106m3.
Among the 17 water rights, the total commitment level of the catchment is 65%. This is
water used, (m3/a) as a fraction of water generated (m3/a). The major dams in the
catchment are Balwearie and Tawstock dams, which have a combined capacity of
4.9*106m3, and serve a total of 8 water rights to various farmers in the catchment. The
other 9 water rights are served from smaller dams along the Mswenzi River. Table 1
shows existing water rights and current users in the catchment as well as the priority date
for each property.
The procedures for the conversion of water rights to water permits were that, (i) the
priority date attached to each water right be removed, (ii) volumes of flow and storage
rights as allocated in the old system remain the same and shall be used as permits until
such a time as the water authorities see fit to amend or revise the permit, and that (iii)
water rights be converted according to the applicants ability to beneficially use the water.
In the conversion exercise a simple formula has been recommended for the purposes
of the study catchment, which follows:
Permit (m3/a),

Where, S=storage (m3/a) abstraction from stored water.

F=flow (m3/a) abstraction from river flow.
The storage permit is the volume of water permitted to be stored and used while a flow
permit is the volume of water, which can be abstracted and used directly from the river.
The validity of the permits, is for a limited period of 20 years, thereafter they are
Table 1. Review of existing water rights and current
users in the Mswenzi catchment.
Water Property River Priority Abstraction Abstraction Dam
right right from right from
number flow storage
(103m3/a) (103m3/a)
7573 Kasama Mswenzi 19/10/66 0 45 Weir
8881 Dodington Mswenzi 06/03/70 0 136 Farm
tributary dam
Conversion of priority water rights to proportional water permits and conflict management 257

10626 Rem. of Mswenzi 31/10/73 0 910 Balwearie

10156 Balwearie Mswenzi 31/05/73 0 1040 Balwearie
10626 Rem. of Mswenzi 05/10/83 0 520 Balwearie
10156 Balwearie Mswenzi 01/06/81 0 130 Balwearie
10156 Balwearie Mswenzi 14/11/73 450 Balwearie
2276 Strathspey Mswenzi 28/05/49 0 400 Tawstock
2276 Strathspey Mswenzi 23/09/70 0 182 Tawstock
2276 Strathspey Mswenzi 24/10/73 0 518 Tawstock
12398 Handley Mswenzi 16/01/80 0 1530 Suri Suri
cross canal
10364 Cornucopia Mswenzi 24/10/73 0 523 Tawstock
9101 Handley Mswenzi 24/10/73 0 714 Tawstock
12007 Merchiston Mswenzi 28/01/81 0 611 Farm
14322 Merchiston Mswenzi 20/10/88 0 20 Farm
14321 Merchiston Mswenzi 29/10/90 0 5 Farm
12014 Merchiston Mswenzi 20/02/81 0 20 Farm
Total 450 7304
Source: Field notes, 2002.

Balwearie Farm, which is served by Balwearie Dam, utilizes an estimated 1.59*106m3/a

of water for its various crops under irrigation, hence the permit using the above formula
will be:
=1620*103m3/a for a validity of 20

Conversion for other properties in the catchment include:

Kasama, P=[45*103m3/a] for a
validity of 20 years.
Dodington, P=[136*103m3/a] for a
validity of 20 years.
Rem. Of Luton,
=1430*103m3/a for a validity of 20
=1100*103m3/a for a validity of 20
Water resources of arid areas 258

Handley Cross, P=[2244*103m3/a]
for a validity of 20 years.
Cornucopia, P=[523*103m3/a] for a
validity of 20 years.
=656*103m3 for a validity of 20 years.

The new permits as recommended for the study catchment after the conversion exercise
is shown in the Table 2.



The case singles out the dispute between upstream and downstream commercial farmers
holding water rights in the Balwearie and Tawstock Dams where the latter is
downstream. Downstream
Table 2. Water permits for Mswenzi river.
Water Property River Abstraction Dam Validity
permit permit
number (103m3/a)
7573 Kasama Mswenzi 45 Weir 20 years
8881 Dodington Mswenzi 136 Farm dam 20 years
10626 Rem. of Mswenzi 1430 Balwearie 20 years
10156 Balwearie Mswenzi 1620 Balwearie 20 years
2276 Strathspey Mswenzi 1100 Tawstock 20 years
12398 Handley Mswenzi 2244 Suri 20 years
cross Suri/Tawstock
10364 Cornucopia Mswenzi 523 Tawstock 20 years
12007 Merchiston Mswenzi 656 Farm dam
Total 7754

farmers who held earlier water right priorities in Tawstock Dam were outraged that they
were not receiving sufficient water from upstream Balwearie Dam and as a result
jeopardized their operations. As earlier applicants, Tawstock farmers were entitled to
water first, which meant that Balwearie farmers had to open the outlet gates at Balwearie
Dam and release water for Tawstock farmers before the former could store and use any
In 1982 An investigation came about as a result of a submission for a decision made to
the Administrative Court by Tawstock farmers who possessed water rights no, 2276,
Conversion of priority water rights to proportional water permits and conflict management 259

10364 and 9101 of Tawstock Dam and who are referred to as the applicants. The
applicants were concerned that the holders of water rights no, 10156, 10626 and 10659
(Balwearie Farmers) of Balwearie Dam who are referred to as the respondents, were
unable to pass sufficient water from their storage works to satisfy the downstream
priorities. The applicants maintained that the reason for this was that the outlet pipe of
Balwearie Dam was of insufficient internal diameter for this purpose and therefore the
operation of their prior rights was jeopardized.
In this case the two dams have a similar capacity and are separated by a mere 2km
where each dam has three participants in the utilization of the stored water. Two parts of
water right no. 2276 have the earliest priority, after which water right no. 10156 has its
turn. Then the remaining part of water right no. 2276 followed by the other two
participants is satisfied. The other two participants in water right no. 10156 then follow
each with separate priorities. This rather complex situation involves 6 separate water
rights and 9 priorities.
An agreement was reached at the Administrative Court between the applicants and the
respondents. It was agreed that:
● A siphon of 12 inches diameter be constructed and installed together with an outlet
pipe of not less than 12 inches diameter in Balwearie Dam. Both devices were to be
used to pass water that flows into Balwearie Dam and down to Tawstock Dam to meet
the entitlements of holders of water rights no, 2276, 9101 and 10364 together with the
primary requirement of 85 liters per second.
● Not less than 425l/s will be released from Balwearie Dam, and the construction and
installation of the siphon and the gauging weir immediately upstream of the
headwaters of Balwearie Dam shall be carried out by Balwearie farmers so as to be in
full operation.


The case has described the way in which the operation of priorities of this complex
situation worked under the old system and how the issue of satisfying earlier priorities
was resolved. In arbitration (a conflict management tool), the Tawstock farmers
submitted their argument before the Administrative Court who acted as the judge and a
solution was reached whereby both the Tawstock and Balwearie farmers signed an


It is recommended that measures be taken to establish actual water use rather than assume
values of water rights so that true commitment levels are achieved. It is also
recommended that conflict management play a more important role in water resource
management so as to empower local water authorities to handle such situations involving
disputes over water allocation. It is hoped these recommendations will lay the platform
for increased participation, negotiation and dialogue for better basin management.
Water resources of arid areas 260


The main objective of this study was to establish how existing water rights in a small
catchment were operated under the old system based on the 1976 Water Act and to
describe the conversion process with the requirements of the permit system. The results
from the study show that most storage rights were operated with staff gauges installed in
the basin that enabled the stored volume and abstraction to be determined for any
reservoir level.
The study also showed that senior water rights consumed water impetuously without
much consideration for downstream users and therefore new users found it difficult to
receive a full entitlement of water allocated. The new system now allows new users the
opportunity to be given an abstraction permit for their beneficial use therefore
disregarding priority.
The study revealed through a questionnaire that there was little cooperation and
communication over data between upstream and downstream users that often resulted in
disputes over water allocation. Of the seven farmers interviewed, six of them said they
were not aware of the water reform. It is important therefore that water authorities and
catchment agencies seriously consider the issue of enhancing dialogue and cooperation
between different users and assist in the issuing of water permits to improve the
management of water at catchment and basin level.
The results of the study showed that the Mswenzi is a highly committed catchment
with a total use of flow and storage water rights totaling 6900*103m3/a for all the water
right holders in the catchment. The Mswenzi generates on average per year,
11070*103m3/a of water, bringing the water commitment of the catchment to 62.3%. The
study showed that in the conversion process from the old water rights into new water
permits, the permits would have to use the same volumes as previously granted for their
water rights and discard the priority date. Therein catchment councils have the obligation
of amending or revising the water permit according to beneficial use of the permits and
accommodation of new entries among other criteria.
Perceptions of the commercial farmers in the catchment have shown that the majority,
almost 80%, of the big stakeholders in the catchment are unaware of the principles of the
water reform and how their new water permits will be operated. Conflicts over water
allocation have emerged under the old system due to misperceptions and lack of adequate
data and it is anticipated that the new permit system will mitigate the grounds for
conflicts in the future.


Ashton, P. 1999. Southern African water conflicts: Are they inevitable or preventable? In: Water
for Peace in the Middle East and Southern Africa, Geneva, Green Cross International, 2000.
Biswas, A.K. 1993. Management of International Waters: Problems and Perspectives, Water
Resources Development, 9.
Heun, J. 1998. Water resources planning and analysis, Lecture Note, Dept. of Civil Engineering,
University of Zimbabwe, Harare.
Huffaker et al. 2000. The Role of Prior Appropriation in Allocating Water Resources into the 21st
Century, Water Resource Development, 16.
Conversion of priority water rights to proportional water permits and conflict management 261

Jaspers et al. 1999. An external review of the Mupfure Catchment Integrated Water Management
Project, Prepared for the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Harare.
Lang, H. 1997. Options for a New Water Rights System. Draft Unpublished Paper, October.
Manzungu, E. 1999a. Conflict management in the Umvumvumvu Catchment, In: Water for
Agriculture in Zimbabwe: Policy and Management Options for the Smallholder Sector,
University of Zimbabwe, Harare.
Manzungu, E. 1999b. Strategies of smallholder irrigation management in Zimbabwe, PhD Thesis,
Wageningen University, Netherlands.
Manzungu, E, Senzanje, A & Van der Zaag, P. 1999. Water for Agriculture in Zimbabwe: Policy
and Management Options for the Smallholder Sector. University of Zimbabwe Publications,
Mazvimavi, D. 1998. Water Resources Management in the Water Catchment Board Pilot Areas,
Phase I: Data Collection, CASS Technical Paper, NRM Series; CPN 95/98, University of
Zimbabwe, Harare.
Natsa, T.F. 1999. From priority date to fractional allocation: Towards equitable distribution of
surface water resources in Zimbabwe. MSc Thesis, University of Zimbabwe, Harare.
Resolve Inc. et al. 2000. Participation, Negotiation and Conflict Management in Large Dams
Projects, Final version, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa.
Van der Zaag, P & Nyagwambo, L. 1998. Water Allocation Criteria for the Mupfure Catchment,
Final Document, December 1998, Harare.
Van der Zaag, P. 2001. Water Law Lecture Notes, Department of Civil Engineering, University of
Zimbabwe, Harare.
Wallensteen, P & Swain, A. 1997. Comprehensive assessment of the freshwater resources of the
world. International fresh water resources: Conflict or cooperation, Stockholm, Sweden.
Wolf, A.T. 2000. Indigenous Approaches to Water Conflict Negotiations and Implications for
International Waters, Published in: International Negotiation: A Journal of Theory and
Practice, December 2000.
Zimbabwe 1996. Zimbabwe Water Act 1976, (Chapter 20:22), Government Printers, Harare.
Zimbabwe 1999. Zimbabwe Water Act 1998, (Chapter 20:24), Government Printers, Harare.
Impacts of water development in arid lands of
Southern Africa: socio-economic issues
University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: Aridity characterizes an expansive area of Southern Africa.

By manipulating their environment and available resources, the
inhabitants of this area have devised mechanisms that enable them eke a
living. Although unfavorable climatic and environmental conditions
contribute to precarious living conditions for the inhabitants of the arid
lands all over the world, those in Southern Africa are particularly
vulnerable due to low technology and high dependence on natural
resources exploitation. Many water development projects have been
undertaken causing varying environmental impacts that have reduced the
performance of the economy and undermined sustainability of projects
meant to off set the difficult situations prevalent in the arid lands in
Southern Africa. Impacts of such undertakings must be identified prior
and after project implementation and mitigative measures taken into
consideration during the planning stage. The multisectoral nature of water
resource projects should be taken into consideration during the planning
and implementation phases. Partnerships and indigenous knowledge are
vital in ensuring success.


Southern Africa has an expansive area that is characterized by aridity, a condition of

perpetual moisture scarcity. The inhabitants of such areas have devised mechanisms
which enable them eke a living through manipulations of the environment and available
resources, water being key to all the activities. The activities of these areas are
predominantly changing due to adjustments that must be made in response to the
prevailing climatic conditions. Although recurrent droughts, climatic variability and
uncertainty heavily contribute to precarious living conditions for the inhabitants of the
arid lands all over the world, those in Southern Africa are particularly vulnerable due to
low technology and high dependence on natural resource exploitation. Due to the
prevailing climatic conditions and high sense of uncertainty, many water development
projects have been undertaken or are proposed to provide more dependable water
Impacts of water development in arid lands of Southern Africa 263

supplies to meet both animal and human requirements in Southern Africa. In some areas,
irrigation water has been provided to overcome inadequate and/or unreliable rainfall
while in others domestic water supply schemes have been constructed including dam
building and borehole construction. The main justifying reason for such undertakings is
always that water in its natural state is seldom in a position to satisfy the requirements
which include public water supply for domestic use and/or livestock production;
regulated flow for hydro-electric power production; adequate supplies for industrial
processing and irrigated agriculture. Water development projects have been recorded to
cause adverse impacts to the environment the world over, Southern Africa included. Such
impacts are known to reduce the performance of the economy and undermine the
sustainability of projects implemented to off set the difficult situations found in the arid
lands. Such impacts need to be identified and/or predicted during the project planning
stage so that appropriate mitigative measures can be taken into consideration before and
after the project is implemented. Environmental impact issues in Southern Africa include
high population concentrations (both human and animal) attracted by the putting up of a
reliable water source; soil erosion; agricultural and chemical pollution from irrigated
fields as well as over exploitation of groundwater aquifers which may lead to collapse
and eventual destruction of the aquifer. Others include denying down stream populations
and habitats fresh water supply through damming or excessive abstractions to meet
upstream water demands. Through environmental impact studies, the multisectoral nature
of water resource development can be taken into consideration during the planning and
implementation phases of water resource development projects. Strong partnerships and
indigenous knowledge considerations are necessary to make sure all aspects of the
resource are included in such studies.


2.1 Environmental impact

An impact is described as a strong impression or effect on something or even somebody
so that a lasting impression is observable and/or measurable (Oxford advanced Learners’
Dictionary). An impact or repercussion of something can also be anticipated or expected
or predicted before it takes place. On the other hand, an EIA has been described as a
formal study that is used in achieving successful development of major projects through
incorporation of environmental considerations in project planning and management
(Westman, 1985). An EIA has been identified as both a planning and management tool
for sustainable utilization of natural resources. It seeks to ensure that development
options are environmentally sound and that any environmental consequences are
recognized early and taken into account in project planning, design and implementation.
EIA has its origins in USA where during the 1970s initial developments focused on
impacts to the biophysical environment and subsequently moved on to encompass and
integrate social, health, economic, improved public participation, risk and uncertainty.
During mid and late 1980s emphasis included cumulative effects, the integration of
project level environmental impact assessment with policy, planning, legislation,
monitoring and auditing. During recent times, EIA has been described as “a planning and
Water resources of arid areas 264

assessment process that involves forecasting the environmental consequences of a

proposed development process” (Mubvami, 2000). It involves “identifying, predicting,
evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social and other relevant effects of proposed
projects and physical activities prior to major decisions and commitments are made”
(Mutter, Topfer & Wichterich, 2002). EIA has evolved into a flexible planning tool that
allows governments, donor agencies and project developers to evaluate the environmental
implications of project proposals during the planning stage.
Since mid 1980s, many investors and funding agencies including the World Bank and
other multilateral banks require that their borrowers carry out EIA for proposed projects
and programmes. During this time, many lending institutions and international
environmental agencies like UNEP issued guidelines to assist such assessments and
ensure that projects are designed and implemented in an environmentally sound manner.
EIA is now widely accepted in both developed and developing countries as an important
tool for project planning. The role, fully acknowledged at the 1992 Earth Summit, has led
to several countries putting in place legislation that requires that an EIA be conducted
before projects are implemented.
The purpose of EIA focuses on providing a systematic, holistic and multidisciplinary
view of the impacts of a proposed project or undertaking such as the impacts of
constructing a dam across a river valley. These impacts include those affecting the natural
environment (both living and non-living) and the people who inhabit and use the
specified natural environment. In short, EIA examines the environmental and socio-
economic consequences of a proposed undertaking such as a river development project. It
emphasizes prevention or minimization of adverse impacts of the project on the
environment and the people. It also looks at the effects of the environmental factors on
the proposed project as well as the impacts of the people’s activities on the proposed
undertaking. Further, an EIA ensures that the ability of the biosphere to absorb effects of
proposed activities is not diminished. It is undertaken in order to identify, analyze and
assess potential environmental effects of a proposed project and where possible mitigate
against negative effects.
An EIA exercise can have varied consequences on a proposed undertaking. It can be
used to modify and improve the design of a proposal, it can ensure efficient use of
resources, it can enhance the social aspects of a proposal and it can be used to identify
measures for monitoring and managing impacts and to provide justification for a
proposed activity. The effectiveness of the EIA process will have a direct bearing on how
many of these results will be achieved. This is more so in highly fragile and vulnerable
ecosystems found over much of the arid lands of the world including those in Africa.
Since an EIA is conducted before an undertaking, its ultimate goal should be to ensure
that current development meets the needs of the present generations without comprising
the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Thus EIA would contribute
towards the attainment of sustainable development.


Most always, the purpose of water development is to provide adequate supplies of water
to meet various water demands. This is necessitated by the fact that in most instances,
Impacts of water development in arid lands of Southern Africa 265

water in its natural state is not in a position to satisfy the numerous demands placed upon
it, which may include:
– Public water supply for domestic use;
– Hydro-electric power production;
– Irrigated agriculture development;
– Water for livestock production;
– Industrial water for processing or for cooling machines;
– Water for sewage treatment;
– Fishing;
– Navigation;
– Recreation.
Water development projects are known to cause both positive and adverse environmental
impacts to the environment that need to be identified and/or predicted prior to project
implementation. Examples range widely depending on the nature and scale of the project,
its location and the type and level of technology required for its sustainability. A good
example is where a project involving groundwater recharge using wastewater must take
into consideration the danger of pollution from the wastewater from industrial and
residential sources. The cost of treatment of the water before using it to recharge ground
water must be considered included in the assessment. Similarly, the impacts of other land
use management activities taking place in the project area are known to affect the water
projects. Activities of unprotected catchment areas including unplanned deforestation
and/or overgrazing would produce sediments which would reduce the capacity and
adversely affect the life span and operation of a down stream reservoir greatly
undermining the project performance and disrupting its sustainability such as happened in
Kisongo dam in Arusha and Imagi dam in Dodoma, Tanzania (Msangi, 1987; Kitheka,
1993; Christiansson, 1981). On the other hand a well-managed cultivation system
(including terracing and aforestation) of a catchment area will prolong the life span of the
reservoir making it possible to meet multiple demands from its waters. All the occurring
impacts need to be identified and/or predicted during the project planning stage so that
appropriate mitigative measures can be considered before a project is implemented.
Needed also is post planning project monitoring to assess the impacts resulting from the



In the process of considering whether to carry out a major water project or not, the first
main concern is the extent of environmental change that will result from the construction
and particularly after the project is implemented. This change will be both to the physical
environment as well as to the people and other living organisms inhabiting that
environment. The changes to the physical environment will influence the social-
economic environment just like the people’s response to the physical change will affect
the physical environment. Thus both types of change must be considered when impacts
are predicted and later on monitored. Most of the changes will be permanent and in some
Water resources of arid areas 266

cases cumulative. Alternatives form part of the pre-implementation phase when impacts
are weighed and compared to provide careful and sufficient consideration of all possible
impacts, both negative and positive ones. The assessment process for water development
projects mainly addresses environmental impacts resulting from the project itself and
land use management practices occurring in the river catchment area. These impacts
could include high surface runoff; soil erosion and increased sediment flow and raised
concentrations that are a result of induced land use changes in a river catchment where a
project is proposed. Moreover, lack of knowledge or lack of apprehension of the
consequences of overgrazing the catchment areas contributes to the shortening of the life
span of a project (Msangi, 1996). Changed ecological conditions, such as the creation of
an ideal habitat for disease carrying flies, snails and mosquitoes, have also made areas
around a reservoir created behind a dam undesirable and unhealthy (Kaduma, 1977;
1972). Other impacts may include changes to groundwater levels, changes to river flow
and flow peaks, flooding or drying up of a river (Christelis & Struckmeier, 2001). Others
could be introduction of agricultural chemicals and fertilizer residues by surface runoff
from farmlands where irrigated agriculture is part of the project or where the project will
induce such undertakings. An indirect impact on an undertaking emanates from the
attitudes of the population towards the proposed project as well as attitudes held on water
resource use and management. In some parts of the dry lands in Southern Africa, attitudes
centering on cattle numbers as wealth are most likely to override environmental
conservation so that once water becomes available, the number and intensity of grazing
increases without due regard to carrying capacity of the range (Msangi, 1992; 1996;
Darkoh, 1989; Ellis & Swift, 1998). Such attitudes and other related social practices
should form part of the assessment during and after implementation of a water
development project.
The actual impacts of a water resource project depend on the purpose, scale and
location of the project. For a small water supply project for example, the positive impacts
will include the expected socio-economic benefits such as drinking water and water for
other domestic uses. Raised health and sanitation standards and the general well being of
the people will also be included. An indirect impact will include elevated economic
standards, as people enjoying good health will be able to work to produce more and thus
generate some economic returns. On the other hand negative impacts will include over
grazing of the land around watering points and beyond, along animal tracks and adjacent
land etc (Darkoh, 1989; Msangi, 1991, 1996; Stone, 1991). For a large water supply
project with pipelines and house connections and staggered animal watering points, the
adverse impacts on the physical environment would be minimized or controlled
completely. Thus alternatives ought to be considered carefully before implementation.
A water development project involving the construction of large structures such as
dams and canals will produce a varying range of impacts on both the physical and socio-
economic environments. Possible adverse impacts could include the displacement of
people and animal populations as happened when Lake Kariba and other large dams in
Southern Africa (Kaduma, 1997) and others including loss of flora and fauna; changes in
groundwater conditions, triggering seismic activity due to the presence of a large body of
water; deterioration of the health status of the environment through creation of ideal
habitats for disease vectors; lowered water quality from rotting inundated vegetation and
altered river flow characteristics (Kaduma, 1997). Conversely, the advantages of a large
Impacts of water development in arid lands of Southern Africa 267

scale water development would include creation of new habitats such as wetlands; the
production of much needed electricity for irrigation water to support agricultural
production; provision of hydro electric power for homes and for industrial
establishments; job creation from undertakings utilizing the water and generated power;
support improved economic conditions and the well being of the people; regulated river
flow and improved utilization of a river including the establishment of a fishery. The list
of indirect impacts is long and varied.
The creation of sub-surface dams that are more environmentally feasible than surface
dams are faced with various limitations including water recovery. High investments
required during construction and maintenance and operation of pumps (be it petrol/diesel,
solar energy or windmills) are often not economically justified given the low land
productivity inherent in most parts of the dry lands of Southern Africa. Hand pumps are
only feasible if recovery is from shallow wells (Msangi, 1996).


Southern Africa has an expansive area that is characterized by aridity, aridity being a
condition of perpetual moisture scarcity. The inhabitants of such areas have devised
mechanisms which enable them eke a living through manipulations of the environment
and available resources. The activities of these areas are predominantly changing due to
adjustments that must be made in response to the prevailing climatic conditions. An
exceptionally wet year may see the cultivation and harvesting of quick maturing crops
that dry years will not. More often than not the survival techniques include livestock
rearing, mostly keeping of small stock such as goats and sheep. Cattle are kept for milk,
export beef and as a source of wealth in the areas that enjoy relatively humid conditions
as opposed to those that are very dry (Msangi, 1996). Due to excessively high
temperatures, the little moisture that may be received in the form of rain gets evaporated
very quickly soon after a downpour (Msangi, 1996). Climatic variability and uncertainty
has led to precarious living conditions for the inhabitants of the arid lands all over the
world, those in Southern Africa high in the list.
Due to the prevailing climatic conditions and high sense of uncertainty, many water
development projects have been undertaken or are proposed to provide more dependable
water supplies for both animal and human requirements as well as industrial water needs.
In others, irrigation water has been provided to overcome inadequate and/or unreliable
rainfall (Chenje & Johnson, 1996). The main justifying reason for such undertakings is
always that water in its natural state is seldom in a position to satisfy the requirements
which include public water supply for domestic use; regulated flow for hydro-electric
power production; adequate supplies for irrigated agriculture development and for
livestock production. Water development projects have been recorded to cause negative
impacts to the receiving environment (Kaduma, 1977). While these have been
investigated and documented worldwide, in Southern Africa, the need still exists to
identify and/or predict them before the proposed projects are implemented and follow up
monitoring after they are in operation (Chenje & Johnson, 1996; Wood, Stedman &
Mang, 2000). Such projects need to be monitored as they may be affected by
environmental factors caused by other land use management activities taking place in the
Water resources of arid areas 268

project areas. Such activities are known to reduce the performance of projects and do
undermine the sustainability of projects implemented to off set the difficult situations
found in the arid lands (Biswas, 1978; Msangi, 1996). All these impacts need to be
identified and/or predicted during the project planning stage so that appropriate
mitigative measures can be considered before the project is implemented.
The inhabitants of the dry lands in Southern Africa have a rich heritage of managing
and living with their environment including water. They have been irrigating their lands
for centuries. The communities inhabiting the dry lands have lived and adapted to the
environmental conditions arising from many years of experience and folklore handed
down generations. This harmonious existence with nature was interrupted and interfered
with during the last a hundred years or so through the introduction of western cultures
and new ways of viewing the environment. The introduction of improved health and
nutritional facilities as well as monetary economy together with the institutional
requirements that go with it, has disrupted and partially changed the lifestyles of these
communities (Msangi, 1996, 1992; Stone, 1991; Ellis & Swift, 1988).
The population of both people and animals has increased rapidly as food aid and
western medicine have increased survival chances and increased fertility rates. Before
this interruption, land, water and vegetation successfully supported the life styles and
economic activities of the dry lands inhabitants. The forces of nature had adequately
checked imbalances between man and nature so that simple social and economic patterns
had developed and had been harmoniously maintained. The installation of schools,
hospitals, central governments and all their branches imposed new requirements on the
communities and therefore the environmental resources. Water being the central and most
scarce resource in these lands has been subjected to various manipulations and new
development approaches geared towards meeting both the communities’ traditional and
new institutional demands.
Due to increasing populations of both people and animals, water demand far exceeds
supply, thus the need to practice wise use, management and conservation of water
resources in the dry lands of Southern Africa. This requires that social attitudes be
reoriented so that communities appreciate the implications of limited supply as opposed
to the ever increasing demands on the scarce water resources, limited groundwater
recharge rates and the need to conserve the resources such as controlling pollution and
recycling, all new concepts to most of the dry land communities in Southern Africa.
Many cases of efforts to conserve, develop and manage the water resources in the dry
lands have been made and are documented in numerous plans and consultant reports
(Msangi, 1992). Few successful cases have been recorded and many failures have been
experienced. The reasons for failure are mainly due to the inappropriateness of the
technology adopted to the existing environmental conditions or, most often, to the wants
and wishes of the local communities. Many times the wrong sector of the community has
been targeted for training. Women and their children who are the ones mainly responsible
for collecting and managing water for domestic use and sometimes tending small stock,
tend to be side lined for the men who are users rather than managers of the resource.
Women should be at the center of any training aimed at improving existing management
technologies or introducing new ones. Sustainability rests on clear understanding of the
people’s social organizations and gender roles and economic patterns in a given
Impacts of water development in arid lands of Southern Africa 269

Economic and other development activities intended to be introduced into the dry
lands should be focused more on the needs and wants of the people bearing in mind
environmental constraints. For example instead of introducing irrigated agriculture, dry
land farming based on indigenous crop varieties should be employed instead of sprinkler
irrigation to grow exotic crops with high water demand. Flood irrigation and other high
water requiring methods of crop growing have rendered useless large tracts of land
through salinization. The high evaporation rates inherent in the dry lands of Southern
Africa do not favor these methods.



Water development projects are affected by the land use in many different ways.
Unregulated land use system such as indiscriminate clearing of tree cover from a
catchment area can lead to reduced water yield and cut short the lifespan of a project.
Cultivation and/or heavy grazing of such a catchment area can lead to soil erosion and
subsequent sedimentation and siltation of a reservoir, intakes and irrigation channels.
Such a system can also lead to increased surface runoff, flooding in the lower reaches and
lowered groundwater in the upper reaches thus jeopardizing a water development project.
Other impacts include reduced water quality from suspended sediment and agricultural
chemicals and residues from farmlands. This will lead to increased costs for water
purification or adverse health conditions for those depending on the water source either
for domestic use or industrial processing. Habitats for fish and other aquatic animals will
be damaged and the economic standing of those dependent on them will be adversely
affected. Furthermore, maintenance costs for structures will increase dramatically if
sediment has to be cleared regularly, unless ofcourse this was foreseen and budgeted for
right from the beginning.
Closely connected to decreased infiltration and reduced water yield due to compaction
is the loss of water sources such as wells and springs. Reduced infiltration leads to
reduction in levels of ground water table that may cause ground subsidence (ground
surface collapse and curving in) due to over pumping; or if close to coastal areas lead to
intrusion of coastal salt water and soil salinization that may reduce crop production
through increased accumulation of harmful salts in soil particularly where irrigated
agriculture depend on wells or boreholes (Christelis & Struckmeier, 2001).
Other types of land use such as urban land use may cause water pollution due to
inadequate water and waste management from dwellings and industries. Pathogens as
well as organic and chemical pollution can lower the water quality necessitating
expensive water treatment to meet set water quality standards. Alternatively, high
concentrations of discharged organic compounds may create excessive demand on
oxygen resources of a body of water during the conversion process to the extent that the
oxygen concentration in the water is reduced and eventually depleted resulting in death of
living organisms including fish. High concentration of organic matter may also raise the
fertility of the water body to the extent that eutrophication occurs leading to life
decimation in the water body (Wood, Stedman & Mang, 2000).
Water resources of arid areas 270


It becomes apparent that water resource development projects produce serious and
definable impacts on a community both socially and economically while other activities
in the vicinity of the water projects affect and influence the performance of the projects.
Feasibility studies for all impacts must be carried out prior to water projects
implementation. Successful water development and resource conservation should always
strive to incorporate environmental considerations during project planning and project
implementation stages. Similarly, integrated catchment management should encompass
the various resource components and associated management practices to achieve stable
Environmental legislation should make EIA mandatory in all water development
projects in order to ensure sustainability and high quality water supply for industrial,
agricultural and domestic usage.
People centered planning should be adopted where social, economic and
environmental consequences of an undertaking are given deserving emphasis. Therefore
social-economic as well as environmental impacts should be considered alongside the
often-emphasized physical and technical impacts.


Questions Useful in Planning the Pre-Impact Phases of an Impact Assessment:

8.1 Phase I: Defining study goals

What information is needed and how precise must it be for:

– The proponent to minimize environmental impact.
– The government agency to reach a decision on approving the project.
– Concerned groups to know how they will be affected

What resources are needed for the study? What resources are available?
– Needed expertise; available expertise
– Needed time for baseline and experimental studies
– Remaining time before the project is supposed to begin
– Required funds to conduct the proposed study; available funds.

8.2 Phase II: Identifying potential impact

What are the boundaries of potential impacts?

– Area affected
– Organisms or ecological functions affected
– Duration of the project
Impacts of water development in arid lands of Southern Africa 271

– Interval before effects occur

– Duration of effects with and without mitigation.

What is the range of potential impacts?

– Major direct actions
– Major ecological components (air, land, biota, structure) affected
– Major ecological processes affected
– Secondary or higher-order interactions
– Indirect effects triggered at a future time or different place
– Other actions (past, present, reasonably foreseeable future) that may add to the present
action, causing cumulative effects.

Which potential impacts are most significant? Which effects will:

– Violate existing laws, plans or policies.
– Cause major disruption to ecosystem processes, processes, affecting species
– Cause major adverse effects on species numbers.
– Cause health risks, economic losses or significant social disruption to people.

8.3 Phase III: Measuring baseline conditions and predicting significant


Baseline conditions: What are the significant features of the ecosystem presently?
– What is the current pattern of fluctuation in popular sizes for important species
(measured over sufficient time to characterize the range of variations)?
– Which species are playing a dominant or critical role in maintaining ecosystem
processes? What is their abundance, distribution and function of behaviour?
– What is the condition (Quality, quantity, dynamics) of physical resources of the
– What are the major pathways of interaction between ecological components?
– What sources of stress from natural or human-induced sources already exist (fire, air
pollution, grazing etc)? With what intensity and periodicity do these stresses occur?

Predictions: What will be the major effects of the proposed action? What is known
from each of the following?
– Case studies: Extrapolation of effects from similar instances of disruption to the same
or similar ecosystems elsewhere.
– Modelling: Predictions from conceptual or quantitative models of ecosystem
– Bioassay and Microcosm Studies: The effects of simulated disturbances on ecosystem
components under controlled conditions.
– Field Perturbation Studies: Response of a portion of the proposed project area to
experimental disturbance.
Water resources of arid areas 272

– Theoretical Considerations: Predictions of effect from the current ecological theory.

Estimation of likelihood:
– What is the probability of occurrence of the predicted events?
– How precisely can the magnitude and likelihood of impacts be estimated?

Summarizing and analyzing findings:

– How can findings be summarized in table, graphs or indexes so that key findings
– What is the ecological interpretation of the findings?

8.4 Phase IV: Evaluating significance of findings

How are the effects distributed among the affected groups?

– What is the nature and magnitude of impact on each affected group?
– What weight shall be given to the concerns of each group?
– What weight does each group give to the significance of predicted effects?

How well are goals achieved by the proposal?

– Proponent’s goals?
– Goals of affected groups?

What is the overall social significance of the predicted ecological effects?

– How can effects be expressed in terms that allow meaningful comparison with other
social goods, services and values?
– If monetary values are placed on normally unpriced goods and services, what features
are inadequately evaluated by this procedure?

8.5 Phase V: Considering alternatives to the proposed action

– What would be the effect of not proceeding with the project?
– What would be the effect of achieving ultimate project goals by an entirely different
means? (e.g. maintaining electrical service to a growing population by conserving
energy rather than building a new power plant)
– What alternative designs could achieve project goals?

What steps could be taken to mitigate adverse environmental effects of the proposed
– Could parts of the proposal be reduced or eliminated?
– Could expected damage be repaired or rehabilitated?
– Could ongoing management procedures be instituted to reduce damage?
Impacts of water development in arid lands of Southern Africa 273

– Could affected components be replaced or owners compensated?

– Could project design be modified to reduce effects?
– Could effects be monitored, and provision made for future mitigation of project effects
when the exact nature and extent of effects are better known?


Chenje, M. & Johnson P. (eds.) 1996. Water in Southern Africa. SADC, IUCN SARDC, 238
Biswas, A.K. 1978. Environmental Implications of Water Development for Developing Countries,
Water Supply and Management Journal, 2, 283–297
Christelis, G. & Struckmeier, W. (eds) 2001. Groundwater in Namibia: An explanation to the
Hydrological Map, 128
Christiansson, C. 1981. Soil Erosion and Sedimentation in Semi-arid Tanzania: Studies on
Environmental Change and Ecological Imbalance. Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of African
Studies and Department of Physical Geography, University of Stockholm.
Darkoh, M.B.K. 1989. Combating Desertification in the Southern African Region: An Updated
Regional Assessment. Nairobi: UNEP
Ellis J.E. & Swift, D.M. 1988. Stability of African Pastoral Ecosystems: Alternative Paradigms and
Implications for Development. Journal of Range Management, 41(6), 450–211.
Kaduma, J.D. 1972. Some Development and Economic Aspects of the Mindu Dam Project,
Morogoro: A Background Analysis for Decision Making, M.A thesis, University of Dar es
Salaam, 140
Kaduma, J.D. 1977. Man-made Lakes: Their Social, Economic and Ecological Impacts—The Case
in Tanzania, PhD thesis, University of Dar es Salaam, 400
Kitheka, J.U. 1993. Soil Erosion and Its Impacts on Surface Water Reservoirs: A Case study of
Nguu Tatu Catchment, NE Mombasa District, Kenya, Proc. 4th Land and Water Management
Workshop, Nairobi, Kenya, 309–329
Mubvami, T. 2000. Environmental Impact Assessment as a Policy Tool for Environmental
Management. IUCN-ROSA A Handbook on Approaches to the Environmental Policy Analysis in
Southern Africa. IUCN—The World Conservation Union.
Mutter, T., Topfer, J. & Wichterich, C. 2002. A Comprehensive Study of the Heinrich Boell
Foundation’s projects abroad in Political Ecology and Sustainability. 1st Ed. Heinrich Boell
Msangi, J.P. 1987. Conservation of Water Resources in the Semi-arid Areas of Tanzania. Journal
of Eastern Africa Research and Development. Vol 17, 63–73.
Msangi, J.P. 1991. Sustainability in Exploitation, Development and Management of Hydrological
Resources of Turkana District. Journal of Eastern African Research and Development, 21, 21–
Msangi, J.P. 1992. Social-Cultural and Demographic Factors in Desertification Control in Kenya’s
Arid and Semi-arid Lands. Proc. of the Workshop on Desertification Monitoring, Assessment
and Control. Nairobi: National Environment Secretariat, 21–32.
Msangi, J.P. 1996. Social-Cultural Factors Affecting Non-Adoption of New Water Harvesting
Technology Among the Dryland Communities in East Africa. In Yue-man Yeung (ed) 1996
Global Change and the Commonwealth. Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Chinese
University, Hong Kong, 233–253.
Stone, J.C. (ed) 1991. Pastoral Economies in Africa and Longterm Responses to Drought.
Aberdeen: Aberdeen University African Studies Group.
Wood, A. Stedman-Edwards P. & Mang, J. 2000. The Root Causes of Biodiversity Loss. Earthscan,
Water resources of arid areas 274

Westman, W.E. 1985. Ecology, Impact Assessment, and Environmental Planning. John Wiley &
Institutional challenges for small towns’ water
supply delivery in Ghana
Kwabena Biritwum Nyarko
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: The small towns’ water supply sector emerged in Ghana

after 1994 when water supply delivery was separated into urban water
supply (served by a public utility) and Community Water Supply (CWS)
decentralised under community ownership and management. A small
towns’ water system, which falls under CWS, is defined as a piped system
serving a community with inhabitants between 2,000 and 50,000 that is
willing to own and manage its water supply system.
A national programme for community water delivery has been in place
since 1994. Ensuring the sustainability of the small towns’ systems are
fundamental concerns, which makes the study of institutional issues that
affect the sector timely. The paper describes how the institutional
arrangement to support the delivery of small towns’ water services in
Ghana has evolved, and also discusses the experiences, lessons and the
challenges. The paper also makes recommendations to improve service


About 32% of the Ghanaian population do not have access to safe water (WDI, 2002)
making access to safe drinking water a challenge. The situation is even worse in the rural
an small communities where the majority of the population lives. In 1994, water supply
delivery in Ghana has been separated into urban water supply (served by a public utility,
GWCL) and Community Water Supply (CWS) under community ownership and
management (Nyarko, 2000 & CWSA, 2003a) to improve the supply of water to the
people of Ghana in a sustainable manner.
Community water supply consists of rural and small towns’ water supply. The small
towns’ water supply is a piped system, serving communities with inhabitants between
2,000 and 50,000 who are willing to own and manage the water system. As at the end of
2001 there were 254 small towns’ water supply systems under community ownership and
management (CWSA, 2003a). These systems are decentralised and do not enjoy any
cross subsidies and other benefits of economies of scale as the urban water supply.
Water resources of arid areas 276

Consequently, interest in the delivery of water services in small towns has grown rapidly
in recent years due to the peculiar characteristics of the small towns and the number of
inhabitants it serves.
To ensure the sustainability of the small towns’ systems are fundamental concerns,
which makes the study of institutional issues that affect the sector timely. This paper
examines the institutional framework of the small towns’ water supply component of
community water supply with the aim of enhancing the sustainability of the service


2.1 Historical development of community water supply sub-sector

The Ghana Water and Sewerage Corporation (GWSC), the predecessor of Ghana Water
Company Limited (GWCL), was established in 1965 by Act 310 for the provision,
distribution and conservation of both the urban and rural water supply in Ghana, for
public, domestic and industrial purposes.
In 1986, the first attempt to enhance service delivery in the rural areas (defined as
communities with less than 5000 inhabitants) led to the establishment of the rural water
department within the GWSC (Asamoah, 1998). At that time, the approach of providing
water services to customers was a supply driven one. With more promising revenue from
the urban areas (with higher income levels) as well as technically challenging
“engineering” of providing urban water services, GWSC focused more on the urban
In 1991, the sector ministry for water, Ministry of Works and Housing (MWH)
organised a workshop to discuss the provision and sustainability of rural water supply
and sanitation. The outcome of the workshop was the National Community Water and
Sanitation Programme (NCWSP), which aims at accomplishing the following objectives:
● To provide basic water and sanitation services to communities that will contribute
towards the capital cost and pay the normal operations, maintenance and repair cost of
their facilities
● To ensure sustainability of these facilities through community ownership and
management, community decision making in their design, active involvement of
women at all stages in the project, private sector provision of goods and services, and
public sector promotion and support
● To maximise health benefits by integrating water sanitation and hygiene education
In line with the NCWSP, the urban and rural water supply systems were separated in
1994. The rural water division of GWSC was transformed into a semi-autonomous
department known as the Community Water and Sanitation Department (CWSD), with
the responsibility of implementing the NCWSP. CWSD was further transformed by Act
564 of 1998 into an agency, the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA)
(GOG, 1998) with the responsibility of facilitating community water and sanitation
services under community ownership and management.
Institutional challenges for small towns’ water supply delivery in Ghana 277

2.2 NCWSP and GOG decentralisation reforms

The implementation strategy of the National Community Water and Sanitation
Programme (NCWSP) is consistent with the Ghana decentralisation policy, which
transfers authority, responsibility and capacity from the Central Government, Ministries
and Departments to the District Assemblies. The decentralisation policy is backed by the
Local Government Act, 1993, Act 462, which aims at devolving central administrative
authority and divesting implementation responsibility to district levels (GOG, 1993). It
re-assigns functions making Central Government Ministries/Departments undertake
policy planning, monitoring, evaluation and promotion; and makes regions, (through the
Regional Co-ordinating Councils and their respective Regional Planning Co-ordinating
Units), play the role of co-ordination, whilst, the District Assemblies become responsible
for implementing development programmes (CWSA, 2000).

2.3 The small towns water supply sub-sector

A small town is defined in the CWSA Act as “a community that is not rural but is a small
urban community that has decided to manage its own water and sanitation
systems”(GOG, 1998). A small town water system is also defined as a piped system
serving communities of between 2,000 and 50,000 inhabitants who are prepared to
manage their water supply systems in an efficient and sustainable manner (CWSA,
2003b). The Act further defines a rural community to be those with less than 5000
inhabitants. The MWH’s Comprehensive Development Framework 1999 for the water
sector also defined a small town based on a population range of between 5–15,000
(MWH, 1999).
The implementation of each Small Towns’ Project follows the following cycle
(CWSA 2003b):
● Project Promotion—for the prospective Community to be familiar with the project
cycle and procurement procedures.
● Community Selection and Approval—by the District Assembly in collaboration with
the CWSA.
● Community Mobilisation—An extension team is engaged to provide relevant
community mobilisation and extension services in each beneficiary community.
● Hygiene Education and Sanitation
● Participatory Planning—to ensure that beneficiary communities are adequately
informed and are responsible for decisions made on the system
● Design-Water supply systems shall be adequately designed to provide reliable and
good quality water in sufficient quantity over the design period.
● Construction, Operation and Maintenance of the facility
● Post Project—The CWSA shall provide relevant post project support (up to one year)
to beneficiary communities to promote achievement of system sustainability.
A typical small towns’ water system consists of the following (Jonah. E, 2003):
● a source (usually a mechanised borehole),
Water resources of arid areas 278

● pump house (a submersible pump powered by a 3-phase voltage transformer),

● source of power (AC power from the national grid, local diesel Power generator or
Solar panels (only few cases in the northern region)
● Pipelines (transmission and distribution pipes made of uPVC and HDPE),
● An elevated reservoir, standpipes and appurtenances.


3.1 Institutional arrangements

The institutional framework is shown in Fig 1. CWSA is under the oversight of the
Ministry of Works and Housing (MWH), the sector ministry responsible for water. The
District Assemblies (DA) is the highest political and administrative authority in the
district, with responsibility for development and management of basic infrastructure,
municipal works and services (GOG,

Figure 1. Institutional arrangement for

small towns’ water supply delivery.
1993). The Regional Co-ordinating Councils (RCC) and their respective Regional
Planning Co-ordinating Units, play the role of co-ordination, whilst the District
Assemblies are responsible for implementing development programmes.
Institutional challenges for small towns’ water supply delivery in Ghana 279

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the Ministry of Environment

Science and Technology (MEST) is charged with environmental regulation. The Water
Resources Commission (WRC) has the obligation to allocate and grant water rights. The
Ministry of Finance (MF) is responsible for negotiation and approval of credit facilities
(loans) in the water supply and sanitation industry.
The CWSA regional officers constitute the Regional Water and Sanitation Team
(RWST), which is composed of a Hydrogeologist, Water and Sanitation Engineer, an
Extension Services person and a Financial Specialist. The District Water and Sanitation
Team (DWST) is the focal point in the District Assembly (DA) for water service
delivery. It’s a three-member team with members seconded from the Public Works
Department, the Department of Community Development and the Department of
Environmental Health. Their role includes the identification of interested communities
and providing support to the Water and Sanitation Development Board (WSDB). The
External Support Agencies (ESAs) provide technical and funding support to the sub-
The WSDB is responsible for the management of the small towns’ water supply
system. It is composed of elected community (small towns) members. The WSDB is also
responsible for appointing the operational staff, promoting and disseminating information
within the community, ensuring that all community members participate in decision
making, setting tariff and ensuring proper financial management.

3.2 Policy framework

Based on the January 2001 draft policy for small towns’ water supply (CWSA, 2001) the
key policy statements were:
● Beneficiary communities would pay a part of the capital cost and take up all operations
and maintenance costs. The community contribution depends on the levels of service
selected by the community. It is 5% of the capital cost for Basic Water Supply
Services, which is the supply of 20l/c/d (standpipes) for 80% of population and 60l/c/d
(house connection) for 20% population. For higher levels of service the community
contribution shall be 50% of the capital cost.
● District Assembly shall contribute 5% of the capital cost.
● Water produced shall meet WHO International Drinking Water Quality guidelines.
● Delivery of water should be in a cost effective manner (not exceeding the cedi
equivalent of $1.0/m3)
CWSA has reviewed the 2001 draft policy in attempt to improve service delivery. The
main changes and additions based on the 2003 draft policy for small towns’ water supply
(CWSA, 2003b) are:
● Community contribution for capital expenditure would be 2.5% for Basic Water
Supply Services and 50% of the Additional Cost for Levels of Service Higher than
Basic Water Supply Services;
● The membership of WSDBs shall exclude Traditional Authorities and DAs. Where
necessary, they may participate in WSDB meetings as observers.
● Tariffs shall be set by the WSDBs in accordance with CWSA approved tariff setting
guidelines. DAs shall review and approve all tariffs. Any reduction in expected tariff
Water resources of arid areas 280

revenue as a result of action by the DA, e.g., reduced tariff, etc., shall require that the
DA pay the difference in revenue into the WSDB account. The CWSA in
collaboration with the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) shall ensure
● The implementation of small towns’ water supply and sanitation projects shall be in
accordance with the regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and
Water Resource Commission (WRC).
The CWSA Guidelines for operations and maintenance (CWSA, 2003c) also stipulates
● communities through tariffs shall undertake all major repairs and replacements. But for
total rehabilitation, cost sharing arrangement and procurement procedures shall be the
same as for new systems.
● Water produced shall meet Ghana Standards Board Drinking Water Quality standards.

3.3 Legal authority of the WSDB

The concept of community management is achieved by having community
representatives, the Water and Sanitation Development Board (WSDB) in charge of the
water supply management in the community. As part of the decentralization policy of the
Government and in accordance with section 15 of Act 462 the District Assembly has the
power to delegate its functions other than its legislative functions to an individual or
group (GOG, 1993). The Water and Sanitation Development Board (WSDB) takes its
legal authority from the District Assembly through a byelaw. CWSA has developed
generic bye-laws for WSDBs to adapt for their local circumstances.



The research approach utilised both quantitative and qualitative methods to gain insight
into the institutional issues of the sector. A literature review of small towns’ water sector
project documents was first conducted to get a thorough understanding of the sector.
Literature on institutional issues such as what the institutional framework should offer
was also reviewed. Based on the literature review, the research instruments (interview
guides and questionnaires) were developed for the various stakeholders, in the sector to
identify the main institutional issues and challenges.
Specific institutional analysis tools used were a combination of the Activity
Responsibility Matrix (ARM) and the Strength Weakness Opportunity Treats (SWOT) as
well as National Macro-environment Analysis. The data was collected from field visits
conducted in 20 small towns’ water supply systems, five district assemblies and three
regional CWSA offices. In addition discussions with 20 WSDB Chairmen and 22
Technical Managers who attended a short course at Kwame Nkrumah University of
Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana in August 2003 were used to validate the study.
Institutional challenges for small towns’ water supply delivery in Ghana 281

4.1 SWOT Analysis of the STWSS sub-sector

See Table 1.

4.2 Activity responsibility matrix

See Figure 2.


5.1 Institutional arrangement and framework

The District Assemblies (DAs) are the managers of the NCWSP at the district level. The
DAs full time field team for water and sanitation is the DWST. As mentioned already the
DWSTs have been seconded from different departments and are ultimately answerable to
their respective regional directors, who can effect transferred without consulting the
district assemblies. There are cases of such transfers to different district on a totally
different assignment. It was revealed that the time taken for the vacancy to be filled
normally spans 3–12 months, after which re-training would have to be organised.
It was also realised that the monitoring and supervision of the WSDB activities by the
DAs is weak. For example, there are no proper monitoring mechanisms to ensue that
records (operational,
Table 1. SWOT analysis.
Strengths Weakness
• High sense of ownership among • The DWST is not well anchored in
communities the DA structure since the
• Almost universal acceptance of the need individual members have been
to pay for water services even at rates seconded to the DA making DWST
higher than what prevails in the urban staff subjected to indiscriminate
water sector transfers by their mother
• Users’ perception of the water service
delivery is high, since in most cases the • The technical/administrative
water situation was poor before the capacity at the local level (DAs,
boards took over. WSDB) is weak.
• In a number of situations, the • Data collection and record-keeping
responsiveness of WSDBs/Communities have been poor, regular water
in servicing breakdowns is high, quality monitoring has not yet
compared to the previous situation of started;
centrally-managed systems under • Even though the various boards
GWCL. have been taught the guidelines for
• Accountability to the users in the tariff-setting, in a majority of the
community via public fora. systems visited, the tariff was not
based on a rational analysis of the
cost components
Water resources of arid areas 282

• Regulation and monitoring from

DAs is poor and in most cases no
reports are sent by the WSDBs.
Even where these are sent no
analysis or follow-up is done by the
• Lack of appropriate institutions at
the local level to manage the water
• Revenues accruing from water sales
are sometimes mis-appropriated for
other purposes;
• Membership of some boards is
dwindling due to a lack of interest,
presumably because of the poor
remuneration. This leaves a few
who take decisions that may not
always be in the interest of the
Opportunities Threats
• Government of Ghana support • Political interferences in
community management (WSDB
• Good will and support from External • Relatively high levels of tariff in
Support Agencies small towns’ compared with the
urban water supply
• Government decentralisation policies • ESAs/Donor fatigue
• Inadequate attention to ensure water
resource management
• Inadequate attention to ensure
financial sustainability

technical and financial) are well kept and that reports are submitted to DAs and CWSA.
In addition, when reports are prepared and sent to the DAs it hardly get comments from
the DAs. Majority of small towns does not perform routine water quality tests as
stipulated by CWSA. This has been attributed to low capacity at the DA level especially
the DWST to perform their function and inadequate resources at the DWSTs disposal for
their duties. The DAs is also expected to play the role of the Water Resources
Commission (WRC) at the district level in the areas of water abstraction rights and
permitting. This aspect is not yet operational at the DAs level.
The Ministry of Works and Housing (MWH) is responsible for policy making in the
water sector. The provision of infrastructure is the responsibility of the DAs, which is
under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD). CWSA as a
facilitating agency cannot force the DAs or the community (WSDB) to execute its water
related activities (eg. ensuring the submission of periodic reports, water quality
monitoring and using appropriate water tariffs). This is attributed to the following: lack of
effective accountability mechanisms between MLGRD/DA and CWSA; the location of
Institutional challenges for small towns’ water supply delivery in Ghana 283

CWSA and DAs in different ministries and the fact that the DAs is an authority on its

Figure 2. Scored activity responsibility matrix.

To improve on the situation the following option are considered important. First,
establish a works department under the DAs structure with responsibility for
infrastructure (including) delivery so as to deal with CWSA. This has been accepted in
principle but its implementation is yet to start. Secondly, establish clear and explicit
accountability mechanism with benchmarks between the RWST and the DAs within the
region would help. The introduction of yard stick competition with incentives for the
DAs in a particular region or even nationwide would be useful to provide a check on the
DAs to enhance performance. It is important for the CWSA regional team to have good
collaboration with the RCC the appropriate institution to supervise the DAs activities to
enhance CWSA monitoring role of the NCWSP.
The roles and responsibilities of the WSDB demand certain skills, such as technical,
financial, managerial etc. The selection criteria initially specified gender and interest
groups representation, without mention of the skills required. The new draft policy dated
July 2003 adds that the membership of WSDBs shall exclude Traditional Authorities and
DAs, but where necessary, they may participate in WSDB meetings as observers
(CWSA, 2003b). This is laudable since there were interference from traditional
authorities. For example in one small town the WSDB chairman was the chief and his
nephew was also the treasurer.
In a number of communities political agitation and social tensions have affected the
membership, tenure and therefore the effectiveness of WSDBs. Some of the examples
Water resources of arid areas 284

● In a small town (Bimbilla), after a meeting with all stakeholders to increase the tariffs
“a youth movement” managed to convince the District Chief executive (DCE) to
reverse the decision.
● In a small town (Bekwai), the District Security Council dissolved the WSDB in
response to a proposed demonstration threat by some community members. However,
the WSDB were re-instated after about six months.
● In a small town (Juaso) the chief requested for money for farming and was granted by
the WSDB. The DA got to know of it and demanded the money back and the WSDB
was dissolved. As at now (over 6 months) the new WSDB do not have access to their
Bank accounts because signatories have not changed.
At a recent training course organised at KNUST for WSDB treasures, majority of the
participants confirmed having illiterates on the WSDB and indicated that it affects
performance. They attribute that to the community sensitisation during project
preparation, which made them understand that the WSDB is the community
representative and that any one elected by the community could do it. As a result some of
the WSDBs members do not understand the issues, and this reflects in the system’s
performance. In cases where members have the required skills, performance has been
exceptional (Arthur, 2002).
The field visits also revealed that, WSDB perceives themselves as owners of the water
supply, which seems to explain why periodic operational reports are not sent regularly to
the DAs and CWSA. The DAs also do not have incentive mechanisms in place to
enhance the WSDB performance. Most or some of the WSDB do not have approved bye-
laws and hence do not have legal recognition.

5.2 Cost recovery

Initially CWSA policy for the small towns made it clear that water tariffs would have to
cover all the operations and maintenance cost, but was not explicit on the recovery of
capital expenditure (CWSA, 2001). The new policy indicates that, after the initial
community contribution, water tariffs should cover operations and maintenance, major
repairs, replacements, and extension to new areas (CWSA, 2003b). However, the
operations and maintenance guidelines also states that for total rehabilitation of existing
system components cost sharing arrangement and procurement procedures for new
projects would be followed (CWSA, 2003c). The lack of definitions to differentiate
between major repairs and the total rehabilitation makes the policy unclear. Furthermore,
a blanket policy, which does not consider special cases such as a small town with a rather
small population but requiring a complex technology, could worsen the plight of some
communities with respect to the achievement of public health benefit.

5.3 Interface between “CWSA” and “GWCL/urban” small towns’ water

In addition to small towns’ water supply being facilitated by CWSA and there are small
communities in the urban areas that receive service from the urban public utility (Ghana
Water Company Limited, GWCL) as part of urban water supply. The potential transfer
from “CWSA small town” to GWCL small town” and vice versa, raises the following
Institutional challenges for small towns’ water supply delivery in Ghana 285

questions (Sarpong Manu, 2001): Whose prerogative is it to make this decision—MWH,

DAs or the WSDB?, What will be the criteria for any such transfer?
At the moment a small town (Ejisu) with a population of about 15,000 but under
GWCL supply service areas wants to come under CWSA and benefit from the small
towns facility. They claim that for the past 15 years water supply from the urban water
supply utility has been basically non existent.


At the national level the institutional linkages and the accountability mechanisms
between MLGRD/DAs, CWSA, MWH and the Water Resources Commission (WRC) are
weak. This results in ineffective monitoring and management of the small towns’ water
system as well as the water resources. At the district level the DWSTs members seconded
from the other department does not make the DWSTs permanent in the DAs structure
affecting delivery of water services. The policy on cost recovery is not clear especially on
the recovery of capital expenditure such as rehabilitation and major replacement.
Based on the conclusions, the following recommendations are made:
● At the national level there is the need for a closer collaboration between CWSA,
MWH, WRCand MLGRD through the inter-ministerial coordination and at the
regional level DAs, RCC and CWSA (regional office). In addition there is the need to
include accountability mechanisms in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
between the DAs and CWSA.
● The Government of Ghana should speed up the process of establishing the Works
Department within the DA to strengthen the DWST position in the DA.
● CWSA should clarify the policy on cost recovery. Where there is room for subsidies,
the source of the subsidy and criteria for eligibility should be made explicit.


Arthur, E. 2002. Manpower survey at the district assembly and community levels for small towns’
water supply.. BSc Thesis, Kwame Nkrumah Univ. of Science and Technology, Kumasi,
Asamoah, K. 1998. Ghana: The Community Water and Sanitation Project. Paper presented at the
Community Water Supply and Sanitation Conference at the World Bank, Washington, DC.
CWSA, 2000. The Project Operational Manual (POM) of CWSP-2, CWSA: 10–11.
CWSA, 2001. Small Towns Water supply and Sanitation Policy, CWSA.
CWSA, 2003a. Investment Opportunities in the Community Water and Sanitation sub-sector. A
presentation to an Americo-German Investors in Ghana, CWSA, pp 2, 8.
CWSA, 2003b. Small Towns Water and Sanitation Policy. Community Water and Sanitation
Agency, Ministry of Works and Housing, Government of Ghana.
CWSA, 2003c. Small Towns Water and Sanitation Policy. Operation and Maintenance Guidelines.
Community Water and Sanitation Agency, Ministry of Works and Housing, Government of
GOG, 1993. Act 462, Local Government Act, Ministry of Local Government and Rural
development. Government Printer, Assembly press, Accra.
Water resources of arid areas 286

GOG, 1998. Act 564, Community Water and Sanitation Agency Act, 1998. Government Printer,
Assembly press, Accra.
Jonah, E. 2003. Performance Assessment of Small Towns Water Supply System: The role of
management models an institutional structure, MSc Thesis, Kwame Nkrumah University of
Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
MWH, 1999. WATER. Comprehensive Development Framework. Ministry of Works and Housing,
Nyarko, K.B. 2000. Ghana Water and sanitation sector: Drivers for water performance. PhD
Proposal, IHE Delft, The Netherlands.
Sarpong Manu, K. 2001. PPIAF/CWSA PSP in Small Towns Water Study. CWSA, Sept 2001.
WDI, 2002. World Development Indicators,
Socio-economic performance of Sepeteri
irrigation project in Nigeria
O.O.Olubode-Awosola & E.O.Idowu
Department of Agriculture Economics, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-
Ife, Osun State, Nigeria
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: This study tried to assess the economic, social and financial
viability of irrigation the project and examine the efficiency of resource
use among the project farmers. Data from all the Sepeteri Project’s
farmers during the 2001/2002 seasons were used. Factor share approach
was used to examine the resource use efficiency among the farmers.
Records of the project’s activities from 1995/96 to 2001/2002 seasons
were summarised to some socio-economic performance indices. All the
farmers perceived irrigation fee cheap however, 77% attributed their low
demand to lack of credits. The irrigation service was acceptable to the
farmers with ease of collection. About 67% of farmers do not accept
responsibility of making the project a success. Farmers were not efficient
in resource use. It was concluded that while the irrigation fee is far below
its economic value, it is high enough for the farmers and this prompts
them to prefer rain-fed to irrigated cropping. The project was not
financially viable due partly to insufficient funding and low level of
demand from farmers.


Up to 1960s, Nigeria was almost self-sufficient in staple food crops from the relatively
abundant rainfall. However, from the 1970s, the long drought; the resulting recurrent
desert encroachment and the substantial rate of increase in population brought set back
Nigeria’s agriculture. The emergence of these three phenomena necessitated public
investment in formal irrigation. Irrigation involves development of water resources,
conveyance and distribution of water supply at the field coupled with necessary water
management exercises (Chukwuma 1993). River Basin and Rural Development
Authorities (RBRDAs)’ Irrigation projects were established between 1973 and 1979 to
cover every part of the country. They were to carry out a number of functions particularly
the development of irrigation infrastructure in their respective areas of operation.
Consequently, thousands of tons of crops such as tomatoes, groundnut, wheat, cotton,
Water resources of arid areas 288

millet, maize, etc, were grown by small-holder and commercial farmers. However, the
overall performance of the existing irrigation facilities had been on a decline owing to a
combination of technical, socio-economic and institutional factors (Nwa 1993). The
projects are saddled with inadequacy of untimely funding (Akinkoye 2001) hence, not
Consequently, the 1995–97 Corporate Plan mandated RBRDA to generate funds
internally to cushion the dwindling funds from the budgetary allocations in order to meet
substantial portions of their recurrent costs. Ordinarily, a guided increase in agricultural
commercialization leads to increase in purchase of farm inputs, scale (farm size) and
specialization in farm enterprises and changes in the role and nature of farm labour
inputs. However, this move, if not guided, has the tendency to expose the RBRDAs to
been more concerned with the activities that return highest internally generated revenue
and possibly less concerned with meeting the irrigation needs of the intended
beneficiaries is vital.
To this end, while most research efforts on improving the performance of public
irrigation projects have focused on the structure, technology and environmental issues,
this research focused on social and economic performance of the system as well as the
resulting effect on its sustainability and achievements of its statutory functions in the face
of commercialization and eventual privatization.
The broad objective of this study is the assessment of the socio-economic performance
of Sepeteri Irrigation Project. The specific objectives are to:
i. Examine the socio-economic characteristics of the farmers;
ii. Examine the factors that affect demand for and supply of irrigation services in the
project area;
iii. Assess the economic, social and financial viability of the irrigated cropping and;
iv. Determine the efficiency of resource use among the irrigation project farmers.


Farmers are primarily concerned with the profitability of their enterprises at individual
farm levels. Hence, economic performance of irrigation project farmers is based on a
production function and viewed in terms of the efficiency with which farmers combined
irrigated plot with other resources such as labour, fertilizers, etc., in the context of
institutional framework and management practices of irrigation projects. Farmers are
expected to meet economic optimum criteria by adjusting inputs and outputs to relative
prices. According to the concept of marginal productivity, a rational producer allocates
each variable input according to its market price. This concept is supported by the theory
of equilibrium in factor markets under profit maximization, which requires that a factor
input be paid its value of marginal physical product (VMP). If a factor is paid higher than
its VMP, it is over-utilized and if otherwise it is under-utilized (Henderson & Quandt
1980). However, public irrigation projects in developing nations like Nigeria usually do
not meet the conditions for competitive market analysis as explained above because its
outputs are natural resources (i.e. land and water), which are developed for national
economic efficiency and development. According to Schreiner et al. (1989), such a
project is characterized by concepts like natural monopoly, derived demand, etc.
Socio-economic performance of Sepeteri irrigation project in Nigeria 289

Therefore, it is quite possible for project to record negative returns to the agency
management because of high cost of capital, yet farmers are expected to make profit
Therefore, rational irrigation policy should ensure that the only sound reason for fixing
irrigation fee is the net additional benefits it offers. These benefits accrue to the region
and the society as a whole. The major impact of these benefits is to be found in land use,
employment, cropping pattern, farm inputs, etc. So, priorities are always given to these
benefits above financial returns accruing to the government from irrigation fees.


3.1 The state and roles of irrigation projects in Nigeria’s agriculture

The practice of irrigation in Nigeria dates back to 700AD. Formal irrigation scheme
started in 1926 in Kware, Sokoto State. Subsequently, an irrigation policy for the
Northern Nigeria was promulgated in 1963 to construct village-level irrigation schemes.
Studies were then conducted to examine the water resources and irrigation development
potential in Nigeria. The productivities of Sokoto-Rima and Chad Basin Development
Authorities established in 1973 were huge and impressive (Adegbola & Akinbode, 1986).
The then Federal Military Government established nine (9) more RBRDAs by 1976 to
promote irrigated agriculture in order to enhance food self-sufficiency programmes (O-
ORBRDA 1998). Sepeteri Irrigation Project is a farmer-based irrigation project under the
Ogun-Oshun River Basin and Rural Development Authority (O-ORBDA), a parastatal of
the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Rural Development. Consequent to the
commercialization programme and the addition of rural water supply function, the River
Basin Development Authorities (RBDA) became River Basin and Rural Development
Authorities (RBRDAs) since January, 1995.
Through the RBRDAs, a number of hectares of lands were available under irrigation.
However, the sustainability and efficiency of these formal irrigation projects have started
to decline. To arrest this situation and to further explore irrigation potentials, corporate
farmers, State’s Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs), private organizations and
local governments started investments in small-, medium-scale irrigation projects.
Despite these efforts, the various irrigation systems developed so far have not regained
the initial performance especially production of import-substitute and export crops.
Research findings showed that the productivity of the existing irrigation schemes is on
the decline as a result of a combination of technical, social, economic, institutional and
political factors (Kolawole 1988).

3.2 Empirical irrigation project performance evaluation

The conscientious definition of irrigation performance was reiterated by Bos (1997) as a
measure of the degree at which irrigation agent responds to the irrigation needs of its
farmers and the efficiency with which the farmers use the resources. Omezzine & Zaibet
(1998) used both allocating and irrigation efficiencies as indices of modern irrigation
performance in Batinah Region of Oman to examine the economic and technical
Water resources of arid areas 290

efficiencies respectively. Both revealed inefficient water use. The report is that size of
irrigated farms and unit cost of water are factors to be considered in the studies of water
use and management. Mandal et al. (1995) in an attempt to examine resource use
efficiency with respect to farm size of Irrigated HYV Boro Rice Cultivation in
Mymensingh District of Bangladesh used factor share approach by estimating a Cob-
Douglas production function. The study revealed that no farm size group allocated
resources efficiently.

3.3 Water pricing and irrigation project performance

Moore et al. (1994) in a study of four regions of the Western United States discovered
that farmers respond to increase in water price by shifting to crops that require less
volume of water, hence reduction of acreage of crops requiring high volume of water.
This implies that levying too high a charge results in under utilization of facilities such as
has occurred on the Sarda Canal in India (NCAER 1959). However, Krishna (1963)
found that increase in general water rates would no doubt increase the technical
efficiency with which water is applied. It is observed that water abstracted and lifted to
field level from wells by human or animal power or by pumps at high private cost, is
utilized with much greater efficiency than cheap government canal supplies.
Kwanashie et al. (2000) investigated the extent to which poor pricing, poor planning,
lack of good management and poor project monitoring and evaluation have affected
water resource use in Nigeria. They studied Bakalori Irrigation Project in Nigeria and
concluded that these factors undermined water resource management in Nigeria. They
then recommended market-based strategies for allocating water between competing users
for efficient and cost effectiveness.


Sepeteri Project is one of the O-ORBRDA’s Irrigation projects supplying irrigation

services up to 2001/2002 cropping periods. O-ORBRDA has seventeen (17) farmer-based
irrigation projects. However, only two (2) Sepeteri and Itoikin still supplied irrigation
services as at 2001/2002 cropping periods. The Sepeteri Project is located in the Saki-
East Local Government Area of Oyo State. This is a typical agrarian community. The
project was then purposively selected for the study. The project was planned to irrigate
2000ha with sprinkler system. It has 2 dams—Sepeteri I and Sepeteri II of 2.1mcm and
1.3mcm storage capacities respectively for the production of dry season vegetables and
Primary and secondary data were used. One set of structured questionnaire was used
to purposively collect primary data from all the forty-four (44) project farmers. They all
cultivated a total of 22.35ha. Cross-sectional data of the farming activities during the
March 2001 to October 2001 rain-fed cropping period and the November 2001 to March
2002 irrigated cropping period were collected. Secondary data were also obtained from
the project records for the periods of 1995/1996 to 2001/2002 cropping seasons.
Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to summarize the distribution of data
on respondents’ socioeconomic characteristics and factors affecting the supply of
Socio-economic performance of Sepeteri irrigation project in Nigeria 291

irrigation service. Index numbers were used to summarize series of figures over years.
The indexes show how much one-year figures differ from another. Usually, a fairly
typical year’s figure is taken as a base year figure and others are compared to the base
year’s figure. The commonest application of index numbers is in comparison of a series
of annual figures. In this study, 1995/96 irrigation season was taken as a base year such
that subsequent figures were compared with 1995/96 figures. This year was chosen as a
base year to examine how fare have the projects been performing in irrigation services
since commercialization move in 1995. This year was assumed to be a logical base year
for evaluating performance of a previously public irrigation project. To observe the
average annual percentage change over the years, the average annual percentage change
was computed as follows:


where Indexi=base year Index; indexl=last year index and n=number of years over which
the trend is studied (Harper, 1991).
To examine the performance of the irrigation projects, performance indices according
to Bos (1997) were used. The indices used included Fee Collection Performance, Relative
Water Cost, Users Stake in Irrigation System, Financial Self-Sufficiency and Relative
Cropping Profit Indices were used to assess the operational and strategic performances of
the project management agency. The indexes are specified below:


where Irrigation fees collected=total revenue collected on irrigation service during an

irrigation season and Irrigation Fees Due=total revenue collectible on irrigation
service during an irrigation season . The Fee Collection Index reveals the level of
acceptance of irrigation delivery as a public service to the farmers i.e. the ease of
enforcement of irrigation fee or how affordable the fee is among the intended


where Number of Active project farmers=number of farmers in attendance and Total

number of project members=number of project farmers informed and expected to be in
attendance. Users Stake in Irrigation Project Index reveals the social capacity of intended
beneficiaries and organization in managing and sustaining the project i.e. the level of
acceptability of responsibility in making the project a success. The “activeness” of
members were quantified using acquired data on the attendance of farmers during the last
five consecutive regular meetings called by the management for an agreed upon task such
as water distribution, conflict resolution, plot maintenance, etc.

Water resources of arid areas 292

where Actual Income=Total internally generated revenue from irrigation related services
and Total MO+M Expenditure=total expenditure on irrigation related services. Financial
Self-sufficiency Index reveals the financial viability of the project.


where Irrigation Cost per ha=cost of irrigation service per ha ( ) and Total
production cost per ha=average total cost of irrigated cropping ( ). Relative Water
Cost Index reveals the tendency of farmers abandoning or continuing with irrigated
cropping. It is computed on the average. However, The Relative Water Cost Index is
perceived to be inadequate to measure the tendency of the farmers abandoning or
continuing with irrigated cropping since for some farmers in the developing nations, ends
justify the means i.e. (Alimi, pers. comm.) they consider profit far more than the cost. It
will then be modified to incorporate the ends, profits from irrigated and rain-fed
croppings as specified below:


To determine the efficiency of resource use by the respondents, Ordinary Least Squares
(OLS) technique was used to estimate parameters of explanatory variables in the
postulated Cobb-Douglass production function. The marginal values of inputs used were
computed indicating the proportion by which value of crop output changed with one per
cent change in the quantity of each input when the quantities of other inputs were kept
constant. The production elasticities of the inputs were added together to obtain the
returns to scale indicating the proportion by which value of crop output changed with one
percent change in the quantities of all the inputs. It is assumed that the value of output
depends on level(s) of input(s) such as land, labour, capital and management used and
that the production function is a one-equation model (Ogunrowora et al. 1979; Omotesho
et al. 1993; Ayanwale 1995). Thus the production function for project farmers was
specified as follows:
Y=f(X1, X2, X3, X4,
u) (7)

where Y=Total value of crop output ; X1=size of irrigated farm plot (ha);
X2=expenses on fertilizer and other agro-chemicals ; X3=number of farm household
members that assisted in farming activities (man-day); X4=amount spent on hired labour
and u=error term.
Crop output (Y) was measured in monetary term because two crops—Vegetable
(Amaranth sp.) and Okro (Abelmoscus esculentus) were grown together without
measuring for sale in standard unit like kilogram. The log-log stochastic production
function was fitted for the respondents’ values of crop outputs as follows:
ln Y=ln α0+α1 ln
X1+α2 ln X2+α3 ln (8)
Socio-economic performance of Sepeteri irrigation project in Nigeria 293

X3+ln α4X4

where ln α0 is the regression constant and ln αi is regression coefficient of Xi.

The condition of optimum use of inputs as postulated by the theory of equilibrium in
factor market under profit maximization is given by the equation:

where VMPi=value of marginal physical product from using additional unit of input Xi;
MPPi=marginal physical product from using additional unit of input Xi and Py=market
price of the output. So the Allocating/Pricing Efficiency Index is given as


where MICi=marginal input cost of input i. (i=1, 24). a priori, the expected signs of the
explanatory variables are positive.


5.1 Respondents’ socio-economic characteristics

Table 1 reveals that about 57% of the farmers are indigenes of the project village. The
rest 43% are of distant origin. Almost all the respondents, (95%) resides within the
project village. This
Table 1. Summary of socio-economic
characteristics of respondents.
Characteristic Frequency % Frequency
Village of origin:
Project/Neighbouring villages 25 56.82
*Distant villages 19 43.18
Village of residence
Project/neighbouring villages 42 95.45
*Distant villages 02 04.55
21–30 04 09.10
31–40 19 43.20
41–50 13 29.50
Above 50 08 18.20
Male 40 90.90
Female 04 09.10
Level of formal education:
Water resources of arid areas 294

No formal education 07 15.91

Primary education 16 36.36
Secondary education 18 40.91
Vocational studies 03 06.82
Years of farming experience:
5–10 10 22.73
11–20 18 40.91
above 20 16 36.36
Year of project participation:
3–6 16 36.40
6–10 23 52.20
above 10 05 11.40
Nature of farming occupation:
Full-time 05 11.36
Part-time 39 88.64
Factors affecting size of irrigated
plot demand:
Credit availability 34 77.27
Cost of irrigation plot in high 05 11.36
Other non-farm engagement 04 09.09
Others 01 02.27
*These are villages farther than 50Km away to Sepeteri, the project

revealed that the indigenes within the Project area participated well in the project. About
73% of respondents were within age bracket of 31 and 50 years while about 18% are
above 50 years. Also, women scarcely participated in the projects. About 91% of farmers
were male. The reason may be that the community is a typical agrarian community where
men are predominantly engaged in farming and women engage in other economic
activities or assist the male household heads in farming operations.
About 16% had no formal education while none had tertiary education, while 77% had
between primary school and secondary school education. All the Project farmers had
above 5 years of farming experience. In fact, about 37% had above 20 years of farming
experience. This result justifies locating the project in the area to help agricultural
development and also support the tenet that land should be allocated to farmers with
proven commitment to farming as a career. In the same vein, the project farmers had long
years of participation. Above half had been with the project for over 6 years. However,
few (about 11%) of farmers were full-time farmers. Majority, 88.6% were involved in
other economic activities. About 77% acknowledged credit availability as
Socio-economic performance of Sepeteri irrigation project in Nigeria 295

*Table 2. Farm specific characteristics of the

project and factors affecting supply of irrigation
Characteristic Description
Irrigated plot cost (irrigation – 3300 per ha and collected after
fee) marketing of produce
Upland cost – 800 per ha and collected after
marketing of produce
Operation problems – Insufficient resource provision
– Deterioration of physical structures
Management constraints – Inadequate finance
– Lack of tractor and equipment
– Occasional invasion by Fulani cattle
Other risks and problems – Harsh harmattan between January and
peculiar to the project February
– Monkey pest invasion by February
– Fuel shortage for water pumping
– Break down of vehicle to transport
produce to market
– Lack of ready markets for produce
– Electricity failure for pumping irrigation
Irrigation period – 4 months (usually between January and
Who is responsible for water – Implementation committee comprising
allocation of project agents and farmers
* Response from the project staff.

limiting factors of irrigated plot size while 11% perceived irrigation service fee as high
while others expressed engagement in other activities as a constraint.

5.2 Factors affecting delivery and supply of irrigation services

Table 2 shows some of the farm characteristics and factors affecting supply of and
demand for irrigation services in the project. There is crop restriction to vegetable and
Okro. The irrigated and upland costs were 3300 and 800 per ha per cropping season
respectively and were constant over years. There was no coordinated Water Users
Association but the project manager and farmers met occasionally as matter arose
especially to allocate land. The project often witnessed inadequate finance, breakdown of
tractor and occasional invasion by Fulani cattle nomads. The physical structures are
deteriorated. The irrigation period was usually between 4 months of January and April
each year. Some risks and peculiar problems that usually discouraged project
participation included harsh harmattan between January and February each year, monkey
pest invasion by February each year and lack of ready markets for the produce.
Water resources of arid areas 296

5.3 Socio-economic and financial performance of the project

Table 3 reveals that the average irrigation fee collection performance index is 96%. This
implies ease of enforcement of irrigation service charge i.e. despite the payment is
allowed until after marketing of produce. The User’s stake performance index is 67%.
This may be interpreted to mean that about 67% of the farmers were actively involved in
the last five (5) obligations required of them for running the project. However, the
performance declined at an average rate of 8%. Average Financial self-sufficiency index
is 29%. This implies recovering about 29% of the expenditure on the irrigation services
rendered to farmers. This implies decline in costs recovery at the annual rate of 25%.
Cost of irrigated plot as a percentage of total cost is 20%. This is not much different from
18% reported by Mandal et al. (1995) among irrigation farmers in Mymensingh area of
Bangladesh. However it should be noted that the percentage of irrigated plot cost to total
production cost is high enough to make farmers abandon irrigated for rain-fed cropping
because most mentioned lack of credit facility as a limiting factor to demand for irrigated
plot. Besides, the ratio of profit from irrigated cropping to profit from rain-fed cropping is
1.08. This implies that there is no statistically significant difference between profits to
irrigated and rain-fed croppings.
Table 3. Socio-economic performance indices of
the project.
Index Average Average annual %
index (%) change in index
Fee collection 96 4.3
Users’ stake 67 −8
Financial self- 29 −25
Relative irrigated 20
plot cost (as a % of
total cost)
Relative cropping 1.08

Table 4. Estimates showing efficiency of resource

use from the 2001/2002 irrigated cropping.
Variable Average Regression VMP MIC Elasticity
coefficient of
Y 41,569.91
Intercept – 10.67 – – – –
X1 0.51 0.718*(4.55) 58,686.93 3300 17.78 0.72
X2 1900 0.069 (0.89) 3.16 1900 0.00167 −0.069
Socio-economic performance of Sepeteri irrigation project in Nigeria 297

X3 1.0 −0.078 −648.49 500 −1.30 −0.078

X4 500 −0.094 −1.90 500 0.0038 −0.094
Return to
*Significant at 5%.

5.4 Efficiency of resource use among the respondents

From Table 4, 39% of variability in the value of output was explained by the set of
explanatory variables captured in the model. The 5.79 F-statistic is statistically significant
at 5% level indicating that joint effect of these explanatory variables is significant. The
coefficient of irrigated plot size is positive and statistically significant at 5% level. The
coefficient of amount spent on chemical has positive sign but not significant. This implies
negligible increase in output value results from additional unit increase in the amount
spent on chemicals. The coefficient of family labour is negative and not significant. This
implies additional use of family labour brings about decrease in output value. This is
contrary to expectation and may result from cultivating too small a plot. Coefficient for
hired labour is negative and insignificant. This implies that additional use of hired labour
results in decrease in output value. The regression constant is 10.67. This is positive and
implies that on the average farmers are technically efficient in realizing as much as 11
times in value of input used. This agrees with result reported by Ogunfowora et al.
(1979), Omotesho et al. (1993) and Ayanwale (1995).
However, the farmers were not efficient in resource allocation. The values of marginal
physical products are far different from corresponding marginal input costs (MIC). VMP
of irrigated plot is much higher than MIC of irrigated plot. This implies there is scope to
increase irrigated plot size to generate higher income. The small and or negative ratios of
VMP to MIC of other inputs imply they were over utilized in combination with irrigated
plot. Also, the return to scale is 0.62. This indicates decreasing return to scale that the
farmers operating under irrational zone of production.


In conclusion, there is higher level of participation from the neighbouring villages to the
project. They were mostly resident farmers. Also, they were mostly male with low level
of formal education but they had long years of farming experience and project
participation. Majority was aged between 31 and 50 years and above. Most of them were
part-time farmers and attributed their small level of irrigation participation to lack of
Water resources of arid areas 298

credit facility. Inadequate funding and deteriorating structures hindered the level of
irrigation supply of the project.
The performance indices revealed that the irrigation service is acceptable to the
intended beneficiaries. Higher cost per hectare of irrigated cropping connotes tendency
among the farmers to abandon irrigated cropping for rain-fed cropping. However, the
farmers do not accept responsibility of making the project a success. The project is not
financially self-sufficient partly for insufficient funding for operations and partly low
level of demand from farmers. The farmers were inefficient in resource use. The results
call for reform in management of irrigation system such that privatization efforts should
not tie down peoples’ land unused; Specifically farmers should be encouraged into
coordinated and recognized WUA that incorporate credit lending and efficient marking.
Further research should look at ways to rationalize family labour. In the same vein, on
hired labour other means of bargaining should explored.


Adegbola, A.A. & Akinbode, I.A. 1986. A review of old and current agricultural development
schemes in Nigeria: Lessons for future programme designs. In Agricultural Development in
Nigeria. Ife Journal of Agriculture special publication, 8:1–34.
Akinkoye, O. 2001. An overview of organization and management of public sector irrigation
schemes. Paper presented at the National Workshop on Participatory Irrigation Management
organized by National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS),
Ahmadu Bellow University, Zaria in collaboration with the Department of Irrigation and
Drainage, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Abuja. 26–30 March 2001:12pp.
Alimi, T. (Personal communication).
Ayanwale, A.B. 1995. Resource use efficiency in cassava processing in Oyo North Area of Oyo
state, Nigeria. Ife Journal of Agriculture 16, 17:123–135.
Bos, M.G. 1997. Performance Indicators for irrigation and drainage. Irrigation Drainage Systems
11(2): 119–137.
Chukwuma, G.O. 1993. Some Considerations in Developing Irrigation Research Priorities for
Nigeira. Proc. National seminar on Irrigation Research Priorities for Nigeria held at the
University of Ilorin, Nig. 20–23 April 1993:65–71.
Henderson, J.M. & Quandt, R.E. 1980. Microeconomic Theory: A mathematical Approach 3rd ed.,
McGraw-Hill Kogansha Ltd. Japan, 420pp.
Herpar, W.M. 1991. Statistics, London, Pitman Publishing: 501pp.
Kolawole, A. 1988. RBRDAs and vulnerability to hunger in Nigeria, the case of the South Chad
Irrigation Project. Food Policy 13(4):389–396.
Krishna, R. 1963. Farm Supply Responses in India-Pakistan: A case study in the Punjab Region:
Economic Journal, Sept, 1963.
Kwanashie, M.A., Togun, A., Ajobo, O. & Ingawa, S.B. 2000. Nigeria Water Resources
Management Strategies—Economic and Financing. Technical Report, 16pp.
Mandal, K.C., Sabur, S.A. & Molla, A.R. 1995. Resource use efficiency of irrigated HYV boro rice
cultivation by difference farm size groups and its impact on employment and distribution of
income in DTWII project area of Mymensingh Bangladesh J. Agric. Econs, 8(1):71–87.
Moore, M.R., Gollehon, N.R. & Carey, M.B. 1994. Multi crop production decisions in western
irrigated agriculture: the role of water price, American, Journal of Agricultural Economics,
NCAER (National Council of Applied Economics Research) New Delhi 1959. Criteria for fixation
of water rents and selection of irrigation projects, London, Asian Publishing House.
Socio-economic performance of Sepeteri irrigation project in Nigeria 299

Nwa, E.U. 1993. Irrigation Research Priorities for Nigeria. Proc. National Seminar held at the
University of Ilorin 20–23 April, 1993, Ilorin, Nigeria, Nwa, EU, Pradhan, P. (eds) IIMI, 104pp.
Ogunfowora, O., Esang, S.M. & Olayide, E.O. 1979. Resource productivity in traditional
agriculture: a case study of four agricultural divisions in Kwara State of Nigeria. Journal of
Rural Economics and Development 9(2):119–131.
Omezzine, A. & Zaibet, L. 1998. Management of modern irrigation systems in Oman: allocative vs.
irrigation efficiency. Agricultural Water management, 37(2):99–107.
Omotesho, O.A., Olufe, J. & Oladeji, S.O. 1993. Resource productivity in food crop production in
some selected villages of Oyi Local Government Area, Kwara State, Nigeria. Ife Journal of
Agriculture 14(15): 90–97.
O-ORBRDA 1998. Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ogun-Oshun River Basin and Rural Development
Authority 1997 Annual Report, January, 1999. 49pp.
Schreiner, D.F., Badger, D.D., Welsh, M.P. & Suprato, A. 1989. Policy Applications in Natural
Resource Projects. In Agricultural Policy Analysis Tools for Economic Development (ed)
L.Tweeten, London, Westview Press, 279–321.
Theme D:
Application of geophysical,
GIS, and remote sensing
Mapping vegetation for upscaling
transpiration using high-resolution optical
satellite and aircraft images in Serowe,
Y.A.Hussin1, D.C.Chavarro1, M.Lubczynski1 & O.Obakeng1,2
International Institute for Geoinformation Science and Earth
Observation (ITC), Enschede, The Netherlands
Geological Survey of Botswana, Lobatse, Botswana
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: High spatial resolution images of multi-spectral digital

TETRACAM camera were used to map vegetation for upscaling
transpiration from tree-bush-shrub of Serowe, Botswana. The camera was
mounted on a small aircraft to collect data in 30, 60 and 100cm spatial
resolution. The results were compared with one-meter improved multi-
spectral IKONOS satellite images. The high resolution airborne images
show high potential for mapping tree-bushy-shrubby vegetation of the
study area for up-scaling transpiration. The spectral characteristics of the
high spatial resolution images are similar to IKONOS satellite images,
while the spatial characteristics of the high spatial resolution images are
much better than the one-meter MS IKONOS satellite images.


As part of the water cycle in the nature or what is well know as the hydrological cycle,
surface water is heated by solar radiation and thus evaporated to the atmosphere.
However, water in plant is emitted through leaves by a process called transpiration.
Vegetation cover is a major component of the hydrological cycle. It has influence on the
hydrology of both ground and surface water and on soils. The illogical use or abuse of
natural vegetation can have a major effect and consequently changes the hydrological
cycle and produce adverse effects. These effects can be very dramatic in arid and semi-
arid regions. In these regions the climate is very sever with extremely hot temperatures
up to 50°C and high evaporation and low annual rainfall. In Botswana, just like any other
semi-arid country, water is scarce and surface water is available only for short periods
after the rainy season. The main water supply is groundwater. Vegetation in Botswana, as
Mapping vegetation for upscaling transpiration 303

in any other semiarid ecosystems, is often characterized by tree-bush-shrub-grass

savannas and woodlands. The increasing demand for fodder and fuel wood has led to
drastic declinations on the vegetation cover. The transpiration from vegetation is
contributing to the development of cloud cover and consequently to the precipitation.
Thus, the amount of ground water is related to the vegetation cover.
Research work in Botswana have proven the assumption that water loss comes from
plants relies under the experience of rooting plant systems depth for (68m) Le Maitre et
al. 2000. The transpiration measurements where done during dry season were soil
evaporation was almost negligible. Accurate ground transpiration estimates become more
important being the connecting link between groundwater balance and transpiration
model from plant. Therefore, a relationship can be established between the ground water
and the biophysical parameters of vegetation cover. Accurate mapping of vegetation
cover would lead to assessment of the biophysical parameter of vegetation and
consequently to transpiration.
The objective of this paper is mapping vegetation cover for up-scaling transpiration
using high-resolution optical satellite (IKONOS) and aircraft images (TETRACAM). The
study area of this research is located in Serowe, Kalahari, Botswana.


Forests cover large areas of the global land surface. For many developing countries, it
represents an important income source for their economies. Due to over exploitation,
forests are currently under constant risk. The protection of forests from disasters (e.g.
fire, disease, erosion, deforestation, over grazing) over extensive area is difficult without
having any information such as condition, area, species, age classes and volume. With
these types of information, it is possible to make a proper management of the forest by
identifying and selecting the appropriate area for different management purposes, such
as, harvesting, protection, etc.
Having all these information collected, there is a need to store the referred information
properly, for better and comprehensive use. For this reason, forest maps play an
important role in organizing gathered information for further strategies and policies
determination in order to make the best use of forest.
Different approaches for mapping, like land survey, aerial photographs and satellite
imagery can be used depending on the level of detail required and the extension of the
area under study. For wide areas, satellite imagery has been shown effective for forest
classification and consequently mapping.
It is recognized that different satellite or airborne imagery can give different results in
terms of information extraction. These different results relate to differences in spatial and
spectral resolution. Vegetation mapping involves the evaluation of the existing data and
information, collecting field data or ground truth, analysing the data and finally
developing the vegetation map and validate it (USGS, 1994). Riquene (2002) have
studied the vegetation condition of the current research area using Landsat-TM images
and ASTER Optical scanner sensors. The study concluded that ASTER images resulted
in better vegetation map than TM because of its higher spatial resolution of the 15 meter
than TM of 30 meter. Further more the results showed that ASTER data gave more
Water resources of arid areas 304

reliable vegetation maps than Landsat TM data. Mapanda (2003), following the steps of
Riquene research, who used high spatial resolution (4 meters) multi-spectral satellite
images of IKONOS in comparison with ASTER images of 15 meter spatial resolution,
have concluded that IKONOS images gave much better results in mapping the vegetation
cover of Serowe, Botswana.
This research is going one step further in using higher spatial resolution of multi-
spectral images. These images were acquired using Tetracam multi-spectral digital
camera. The camera was mounted on a small aircraft and has collected images in 30cm,
60cm and 100cm spatial resolution. This paper is presenting the first preliminary results
of the use of the Tetracam airborne multi-spectral digital images for mapping tree-bush-
shrub-grass-savannas and woodlands vegetation cover of part of Serowe, Botswana.
These images will hopefully be used for up-scaling transpiration of the vegetation in this
area in conjunction with IKONOS MS data.


The study area is located in the Central District, about 275km NE of Gaborone the capital
of Botswana. Topography is gentle, which varies from 1060 meters above sea level to
approximately 1240. It is characterized to be lower in the east and southeast of the region,
and the highest location in the vicinity of the escarpment edge. From these ones the
average slope is 5% and it gradually decrease to less than 1% towards the east and
Soils units, which can be found in that region, are related to arenosols, regosols,
lixisols, luvisols and vertisols. Arenosols are the most common soil units in the study
area. It has low moisture retention capacity than the other soil units.
Climate is a semi-arid with a mean annual rainfall of 447mm. Rainfall occurs mainly
in the summer fallowed by a dry winter season. Summer season stretches from October to
April and the winter begins in May to September (Tyson, 1986) (Obakeng, 2000).
Main vegetation type is thought that belong to the Northern Kalahari Tree and Bush
Savanna. Trees are mostly of Acacia species, which are characterized by the marked
tendency to occur in cluster, and are normally accompanied by a variety of grass species
such as Ariatida and Eragrotis. Vegetation communities are determined by location on
either sandveld or hardveld areas. Dense vegetation is found within and along river
courses. This suggests that the vegetation density is governed by the availability of water,
which may be partly controlled by topography and geomorphology (Obakeng, 2000).


The airborne multi-spectral data was collected using TETRACAM multi-spectral digital
camera, which collects its data in three spectral bands namely red, green and near
infrared. The data is collected in a rectangular frame of 1280×1024 pixels. The size of the
pixels (e.g. ground resolution) would depend then on the altitude of the aircraft above the
ground. The camera would saved the image in DCA format (Digital Camera Format),
which is a compressed file that can be un-compressed and transferred to Bitmap format
Mapping vegetation for upscaling transpiration 305

that can be imported to any image processing software. The Airborne data was collected
in three different spatial resolutions 30, 60 and 100cm.
An area of 10×10km was selected as a study site. It is located in the Hardveld part of
the Serowe terrain, on which two multi-spectral IKONOS satellite scenes of November
2001 and February 2002 were collected. These images are collected with 4 spectral bands
(blue, green, red, and NIR). The spatial resolution of these data sets is 4 meters. A MS
image, so called panchromatic sharpen, was available too. The Pan-Sharpen image is a
MS image fused with the Panchromatic image of IKONOS, which has 1 meter spatial
resolution. Thus the spatial resolution of the new MS image will be improved to 1 meter.
For this study area, two aerial surveys were implemented to collect the multi-spectral
digital camera data. The first aerial survey was done in November 2003 and the second
one was done in February 2004. These surveys were designed and implemented using
Aerial-Photography types of survey. The survey divides the area into flight lines. Within
each flight line, images were collected with a front overlap of 20% and a side overlap
between flight lines of 20% too. The following data where collected:
1. 30cm spatial resolution: 39 flight lines with a total of 910 images
2. 60cm spatial resolution: 21 flight lines with a total of 333 images
3. One meter spatial resolution: 14 flight lines with a total of 187 images.
A qualitative approach was used in the analysis of airborne multi-spectral digital images,
which mainly involves visual interpretation, spectral signature measurements, spatial
features measurements and comparisons of different spectral and spatial data resolution.
The same approach was used with the MS IKONOS satellite data to be compared to the
airborne data.


The results presented in this paper are the first preliminary findings of some exploratory
analysis of airborne MS digital images. Supervised classification and accuracy
assessment was not done because an organized fieldwork to collect ground truth was not
done yet in the study area. The authors are planning for one in early May of this year
A spectral signature analysis of the 30cm, 60cm and one-meter spatial resolution
images of the MS digital Tetracam airborne camera using the digital interpretation of the
false color composite, unsupervised classification, and Normalized Difference Vegetation
Index (NDVI) (Figures 1–6) showed that the sample used has 3 different spectral classes
which referred to 3 different species of the bushy vegetation in the area. It also showed
two high contrasted spectral classes, which refer to a soil and a grass classes the selected
sample shown in the mentioned figures.
A comparison of the above findings with the same signature analysis to the MS
IKONOS image of improved one-meter spatial resolution showed similar results of 3
spectral classes of the bushy vegetation and two other high contrasted classes
representing the soil and grass classes.
Water resources of arid areas 306

Figure 1. Color composite image of

30cm spatial resolution of MS airborne
MS camera.

Figure 2. NDVI map the 30cm spatial

resolution of MS airborne image.
Mapping vegetation for upscaling transpiration 307

Figure 3. Unsupervised classification

map of the 30cm spatial resolution of
MS airborne image.

Figure 4. Color composite image of

60cm spatial resolution of MS airborne
MS camera.
Water resources of arid areas 308

Figure 5. NDVI map the 60cm spatial

resolution of MS airborne image.

Figure 6. Unsupervised classification

map of the 60cm spatial resolution of
MS airborne image.
Mapping vegetation for upscaling transpiration 309

Figure 7. Color composite image of

one-meter MS IKONOS satellite

Figure 8. NDVI map of one-meter MS

IKONOS satellite image.
Water resources of arid areas 310

Figure 9. Unsupervised classification

map of one-meter MS IKONOS
satellite image.
Figures 7–9 show the false color composite, unsupervised classification, and Normalized
Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) of the MS IKONOS satellite image.
A general comparison of IKONOS images and the airborne MS image showed that
both types of images are close in their spectral characteristics, especially the improved
one-meter resolution of IKONOS as compared to the 30 and 60cm resolution images of
the airborne data.
A spatial analysis of several selected objects (e.g. bushes, trees, soil and grass) on the
images showed that when spatial resolution increases the accuracy of the information
extracted increase. For example a canopy diameter of a single tree measured on the
ground is 5.5 meter. The same tree canopy diameter measured on the one-meter, 60cm
and 30cm spatial resolution of the airborne MS images are 7.1, 6.13 and 5.38 meter
respectively. This is a clear evidence that the higher the spatial resolution of the image
the better the accuracy of the analysis or interpretation output.
Moreover, the higher the spatial resolution the higher the amount of details extracted
from the images as a results of the interpretation or any image analysis technique (e.g.
classification or image transformation such as NDVI). For example, some of the tree
species in this study area are likely to grow in clusters structure. These clusters may
include 3–5 trees in one cluster. On average the crown diameter of these trees say 5
meters. Consequently a total area of the canopies from such cluster may reach up to 125
square meters. The lower the spatial resolution (e.g. one-meter or lower), the less details
that represent such a cluster on the image and vis versa.
However, in the case of a small bush or shrub, which, has a canopy of approximately
one-meter diameter may not show clearly on the image because of the open crown
structure. In such a case the spectral reflectance of the soil will dominate such the
Mapping vegetation for upscaling transpiration 311

reflectance from the canopy of the bush. While when using higher resolution (e.g. 30 and
60cm) the representation or the appearance of a small bush will be possible.
Therefore, as the spatial resolution increase the spatial information extracted about an
object on the images (e.g. a bush or a tree) will consequently increase. The information
will include the surrounding area (e.g. soil or grass) of the tree or the bush targeted. This
means that using higher spatial resolution we can define the size and shape of any tree or
bush much accurate than using lower resolution. The size of the crown of a bush or tree is
effecting the estimation of the transpiration of that bush or tree. Consequently this will
effect the process of up-scaling transpiration from the area in general.
As far as the spatial resolution is concern, a general comparison of IKONOS images
and the airborne MS image showed that the information extracted from the 30cm and
60cm spatial resolution images of the airborne MS images is much better than the one-
meter resolution of IKONOS image.


The following conclusion remarks can be drawn:

– The high spatial resolution 30 and 60cm multi-spectral digital Tetracam images have
high potential for mapping tree-bushy-shrubby vegetation of semi-arid area (e.g.
Serowe, Botswana) for up-scaling transpiration.
– The spectral characteristics of the high spatial resolution images are similar to IKONOS
satellite images.
– The spatial characteristics of the high spatial resolution images are much better than the
one-meter MS IKONOS satellite images.


This research work was partly supported by the internal research fund of GWFLUX
Project at ITC. However, Botswana Geological Survey (BGS) has offered the main
financial support of the aerial survey missions, fieldwork logistics and transportation. The
authors appreciate and acknowledge the support of Botswana Geological Survey.


Le Maitre, D.C., Scott, D.F. & Colvin, C. 2000. Information on interactions between Groundwater
and Vegetation relevant to South African Conditions: A review. Groundwater: Past
Achievements and Future Challenges, Silili et al. (eds). Balkema, Rotterdam, 959–962.
Mapanda, W. 2003. Scaling-up and Mapping Transpiration Using Remote Sensing and GIS: A Tool
for Water and Forest Management. Unpublished MSc, ITC—International Institute for
Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation, Enschede.
Obakeng, O.T. 2000. Groundwater recharge and vulnerability: A case study at the margins of the
south-east Central Kalahari Sub-basin, Serowe region, Botswana. Unpublished MSc, ITC—
International Institute for Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation, Enschede.
Water resources of arid areas 312

Riquene, A.H. 2002. Vegetation mapping in Arid Zones: A multi-sensor analysis, the relationship
between Vegetation Distribution and Environmental Factors: A case study in Serowe,
Botswana. Unpublished MSc, ITC—International Institute for Geoinformation Science and
Earth Observation, Enschede.
Tyson, P.D. 1986. Climatic Change & Variability in Southern Africa. Cape Town, South Africa:
Oxford University Press.
USGS, 1994, 19 July 2001. Field Methods for Vegetation Mapping. USGS-NPS. Available: [2001, 24 August 2001].
Gravity study on groundwater structure in
Central Butana (Sudan)
TU Bergakademis, Freiberg, Germany
El Neelain, University, Sudan
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: A number of isolated outcrops of Pre-Cambrian Basement

Complex rocks scatter over the central plains of Sudan. In the Butana
region, several hills occur prominent landmarks within the predominantly
flat clay plains. The solid geology of the Butana plain is rather concealed
under a veneer of variable thickness of superficial clays covering over
70% of its total area. The present study was suggested in an effort to
delineated and define the mentioned anomaly in more detail and give a
reasonable geological and hydrogeological exploration for its existence.
Integrated gravity methods and geological feature were applied to achieve
the above aims. A total of 200 gravity points were conducted in the study
area and they are compile to 275 gravity points acquired, by Sun Oil
Company (approximately 2475Km2 were covered in the study area).
Gravity data analysis was performed by “GEOSOFT” packages. The
result show that the gravity lows is largely attributed to the occurrence of
low-density rocks (granite intruded) into the high-density rocks (green
schist) of the Butana region. On the other hand the gravity high zones
unambiguously coincide with the areas of known shallow Basement
Complex. This gravity low is largely attributed to the occurrence of low-
density rocks (granitic intrusion) into the high-density rocks (green schist)
of the Butana region. Thus for it is not unusual gravity measurements in
such areas introduced by granitic into country rock of higher densities, to
reflect apparently anomalies of typical sedimentary basins. However such
ambiguity can be resolved by computation of the second derivative.


Geophysical prospecting conducted by Sun Oil Company revealed strong negative

gravity anomalies in Butana region. It is suggested that sedimentary basins might have
caused these anomalies (Ibrahim, 1993; Ibrahim et al., 1996). In the study area the
Water resources of arid areas 314

anomaly (Around Jebel Mundara) lies partially in the Basement rocks. Therefore this
research aims to verify the existence of these anomalies and clearly define their
extension. In addition, the study aims at determining the type and the dimensions of the
rocks causing these anomalies.
The study area lies between the Blue Nile River and River Atbara and occupies the
Central Butana area, It is bounded by latitudes 14°60′N and 15°80′N and longitudes
34°00′E and 35°20′E. The study area covers about 10,000km2 (Fig. 1).
The study area is generally flat, with a gentle slope to the North. The general altitude
of the plain is about 500m above mean sea level (m.s.l). The flat monotony of the plain is
occasionally broken by some protruding low to moderately high hills or hill chains,
which hardly exceed 200m above the ground surface.
The climate of the area is arid to semi arid zone of Sudan, characterized by a short
duration of a rainy session in summer (July–September), and along dry season for the rest
of the year. The average annual rainfall is about 200mm. Average annual temperature
over the Butana area is around 40°C in summer (March–October) and 25°C in winter

Figure 1. Location map of Central

Table 1. Geological column for butana region (after
Iskander et al., 1993).
Formation Age
Superficial deposits Quaternary/Recent
Tertiary volcanic Tertiary
Gravity study on groundwater structure in Central Butana (Sudan) 315

EL Burg Basal Jurassic to

conglomerates cretaceous
The Basement complex Precambrian


A number of isolated out crops of Precambrian Basement complex rocks scatter over the
central plains of Sudan. In the Butana region, several hills occur and make prominent
landmarks within the predominantly flat clay plains. The solid geology of the Butana
plain is rather concealed under a veneer of variable thickness of superficial clays
covering over 70% of the Butana area. Several metasedimentary sub-parallel belts extend
for 10–25km in the form of low to moderately elevated ridges surrounded by Butana clay
cover (Iskander et al., 1993). The generalized geological column for Butana region can be
summarized as shown in Table 1.
The majority of the Basement rocks are concealed under the cover of the Butana clay
plain. As mentioned, the structural domain in the area is characterized by northeast
trending lineaments (Fig. 2). Exposed structures in the metasediments display complex
shearing/faulting and tight folding with dipping axial planes where the axes generally
have NE-SW trends and with SW mergence Iskander et al. (1993).


3.1 Introduction
The gravimeter used in this survey is a Lacoste & Romberg gravimeter, model D108,
which has calibration constant of 1.0863mGal/div and 200mGal measuring range. A total
of 200 gravity readings were measured in the study area following a loop survey, with a
spacing of 2km between stations (Fig. 3). An area of approximately 2412km2 has been
covered. In addition, about 275 gravity points (approximately 2475km2) acquired, by Sun
Oil Company were compiled, in the study.
Water resources of arid areas 316

Figure 2. Geological map of Central

Butana area modified after (Ahmed &
Ayed, 1996).

Figure 3. Location of measured gravity

Gravity study on groundwater structure in Central Butana (Sudan) 317

Elevation of the gravity station was determined by Global Positioning System (Garmin II
GPS Model 1999), with ±10m accuracy. The Global Positioning System, (GPS) device
was used to determine the altitudes of the gravity stations and also for navigation. Control
was provided by the available altitude benchmarks in the area and by elevation contour
maps of scale 1:100,000, determined by the Survey Department in Khartoum. In addition
the altitudes of the previous data (Sun Oil data), were determined by micro barometric
In gravity measurements effects are produced by sources not directly related to the
geological objectives or interest of the study, therefore certain reductions or corrections
are necessary to remove these effects. Such corrections include drift, tidal, latitude and
elevation correction.
This compensates for the earth tides, generated by the complex gravitational
interaction on the Earth by the Sun and Moon. These effects are often calculated from
table published by Geophysical Journal worldwide. In this work it was done by
“GEOSOFT” computer program.

3.2 Gravity data processing

3.2.1 Production of Bouguer anomaly map

Presentation of the corrected gravity values is commonly made in the form of contour
maps, particularly where the survey has covered a grid of more-or-less evenly spaced
stations. Exceptionally, where well-isolated profiles have been surveyed, to obtain cross-
sectional information on a structure, then the results may be presented in the form of
profiles. A sequence of profiles may be shown in stacked form, in proper relative
location, on a plan map. In either case, the horizontal scale of the presentation should be
inversely related to the distance between the gravimeter stations. Also, the contour
interval (mGals) may be inversely related to the scale of the presentation.
Software programs are available, by means of which either contour map or profile
presentation may be conveniently and quickly made. In this work, gridding was
performed by “RANGRID”, program of the GEOSOFT package (GEOSOFT manual,
1989). “RANGRID” produces a minimum curvature grid from data randomly distributed
or along non-parallel traverses. The method utilizes different available interpolation
options, (e.g. Akima, Cubic etc) to calculate the value of object function at the grid points
(original data) that falls within a circle with a given radius centered at the grid points.
RANGRID roughly smoothes gaps in the acquired data. In the present study, although
data have been acquired along lines, but their irregular points spacing tend to make the
gravity data look randomly scattered thus fore they have been subjected to interpolation
or gridding process by “RANGRID” which seemed to be a suitable technique
(GEOSOFT manual, 1989).
The resolution of the produced Bouguer gravity map depends on the choice of the grid
cell size, as demonstrated by comparison between the maps shown in Figures (4, 5, and
6), which have been produced by 0.0025, 0.04, and 0.4 cell sizes respectively.
To judge on the optimum cell size that resolves the Bouguer gravity map, variations of
GB.A has been plotted against corresponding variation of the cell size. It is clearly that no
practical displacement (change) has occurred beyond 0.4 cell size. Thus this cell size
Water resources of arid areas 318

(0.4) is consider as the optimum grid cell size suitable for production of the Bouguer
gravity map.
Contouring of the observed gravity data was performed by “CONTOUR” program of
the GEOSOFT package, whose basic function is to thread contour lines through constant
levels, defined in a gridded GEOSOFT data file (GEOSOFT manual, 1989).

Figure 4. Bouguer anomaly map, cell

size 0.0025.

3.2.2 Production of the residual map

The construction of a residual anomaly map due to local structures is therefore a process
by which one removes the regional gravity effects. This task could be performed by
numerous methods mentioned in the geophysical literature (Seigel, 1995), however in a
broad sense they might be classified into graphical or analytical methods.
Gravity study on groundwater structure in Central Butana (Sudan) 319

Figure 5. Bouguer anomaly map, cell

size 0.04.
Water resources of arid areas 320

Figure 6. Bouguer anomaly map, cell

size 0.4.
The gravity measurements at surface determine the sum of all effect from grass root
down to the earth crust. Therefore gravity interpretation frequently begins with some
procedure, which separate anomalies of interest from superficial disturbance or from deep
regional effects. Various methods may be elaborated to perform the separation of the
anomalies in order to emphasize the important and interesting features and to suppress
the others. These methods include the following. Graphical methods

The regional is far away from measuring points it is represented by a long wavelength
anomaly due to deep structure. The regional is sometimes shown as a straight line as a
result of smoothing a X-Y plot or contour map anomalies. The regional (long
wavelength) anomalies mainly due to the effect of deeper structure (lower crust, mantle
and core), while the residual (short wavelength) anomalies represent the shallow structure
(near surface and crust structure) and may be upper part of the mantle.
The graphical methods involve estimation of the regional field from profile plots or
contour maps. The advantage of these methods is that, control could be provided by the
available geological information (e.g. Basement depth), obtained from boreholes in the
survey area.
Gravity study on groundwater structure in Central Butana (Sudan) 321 Filtering techniques

One of the most important problems in the interpretation of potential field data is to
characterize it into different geological structures. The regional one of these methods is
the analytical or the filtering techniques were employed which are characterized by:
Various methods may be employed to separate anomalies. These include: regional,
residual, derivative, low pass filter and high passfilter. However, the selection of the
appropriate method depends on the nature of the Bouguer anomalies and the empirical
judgment of the interpreter, which is of course vital.
On the other hand several of the analytical methods are commonly used for
determining the regional and then the residual fields. Griffin (1949), Agocs (1951),
Fajklewics (1959), and Abd el Rahman et al. (1983), used in their respective techniques,
linear combinations of the average fields on a number of concentric circles of different
radii to represent the residual at the common center.
The residual field is given by:
R= G−Z=G−(ax+by+c)

Where, G is the observed gravity, R is the residual field, Z is the regional field, a, b and c
are constants. The condition for the above equation is that

These are called residual, but do not posses any relationship with local anomalous mass
(Paul, 1967). The only physical significance of this residual is their proportionality to the
second vertical derivative value; hence their zero contours coincide with the zero
contours of the second derivatives (Nettleton, 1976).
Lately dependable method have been introduced by Paul (1967), for computing the
second vertical derivatives, consequently the residual determined by the previous method
loose much of their significance. Second vertical derivative

The second vertical derivative technique was used as a two dimensional filter for
interpretation of potential field data (Dobrin, 1976). The second derivatives that have
been applied in the present study are the second vertical derivative of the vertical
component of gravity. If we used the symbol “g” to denote gravity and choose axes so
that Z is vertical downward, then the second vertical derivative is the quantity d2g/dz2.
The importance of the second derivative for potential field interpretation arises from
the fact that the double differentiation with respect to depth tends to emphasize the
smaller, shallower geological anomalies at the expense of larger, regional features
(Elkins, 1951).
Water resources of arid areas 322

Figure 7. Second vertical derivative of

gravity anomaly map.
On the practical side, the second vertical derivative has its disadvantages as seen on map
(Fig. 7), that shows a number of anomalies of no actual existence, but they tend to be an
interpretation of contours rather than of observed gravity field.
The main objective of applying the derivative in this research study is for the
delineation of shallow faults. It is interesting to prove how the regional is completely
eliminated by the second or higher vertical derivative. This may be shown as follows:

The condition is that,



Where, Z0 is the average regional at the canter of a particular grid, is the average of
the residuals around a circle of radius, “n” on substituting,
Gravity study on groundwater structure in Central Butana (Sudan) 323

Therefore, for the second vertical derivative only the equation is given as

This equation clearly shows that, the regional field constitutes nothing to second vertical
derivative value, and thus this derivative represents entirely the residual value only.
A profile of second vertical derivative of gravity in a direction outward from the
center of a negative anomaly usually shows an outer maximum value and an inner
minimum value Bott (1965). The source of the anomaly may be determined by the
ratio r,

In case of a sedimentary basin r>1 while for a granite batholiths r<1.

3.3 Gravity data interpretation

There are two basic approaches to gravity interpretation. One is to determine a plausible
mass distribution directly from the gravity data (Qualitative interpretation). The other is
to assume various models conforming to all known constraints and to match gravity
effects predicted for each model with the gravity field that has actually been observed.
The model that gives the best fit is then considered to be the most probable (Quantitative
interpretation) one even though it cannot provide a definitive sub-surface picture.
Running “GRAVRED” of the “GEOSOFT” package, and both graphical and
analytical methods, were used for the processing did processing and interpretation of the
gravity data.

3.3.1 Qualitative interpretation

Interpretation of gravity, especially in qualitative sense is constrained by a number of
inherent limitations and fundamental ambiguities (Dobrin, 1976). To reduce (offset) these
ambiguities usually other geophysical methods and/or geological and borehole
information should be incorporated.
Physically, the Bouguer gravity map represents anomalies from the entire vertical and
lateral density variation with the earth and may be used to qualitatively deduce geological
As shown in the Bouguer gravity map (Fig. 6) a prominent gravity high occurs in the
eastern and the western parts of the surveyed area where basement is shallow or crops
out. Small variations in gravity values in this region probably reflect density variations
within the shallow basement caused by variations in weathering, especially in the NW
and SE portion of the area where schist rocks occur.
The northern part of Bouguer map shows a rounded-shaped strong anomaly, trending
NW and with a minimum value of approximately −60mGal which is referred to as Wad
Water resources of arid areas 324

Figure (6) shows that the gravity lows over central part the south of Jebel-Mundara
Bouguer anomaly map has an amplitude of about −50mGal, a rounded-shaped strong
anomaly and of general contours strike which indicates that the study area is narrowly
oriented in a NW-SE structural domain. This anomaly is connected to another gravity low
over J.Qeili, which extends NW beyond the border of the study area.
The abrupt change in the trend direction of the anomalies from northwest (J.Mundara
and Qeili), to northeast (Wad Burwa), may be due to the existence of a structural path
that might have facilitated the emplacement of low-density bodies whose effects are
expressed by the low gravity anomalies. Figure (8) shows a fault or lithological contact as
exhibited by the second vertical derivative profile.

3.3.2 Quantitative interpretation

The quantitative interpretation determines the shape of the mass excess or deficiency,
which cases the gravity anomaly measured on the earth surface. The interpretation of the
(residual) gravity anomaly in relation to the sub-surface causal features can be
approached into two ways: (1) Linear inverse problem. (2) Non-linear inverse problem.
The linear inverse problem arises when the shape of the body is specified and the
problem is then to determine the distribution of density as a function of 2-D or even 3-D
form of the anomaly on or above the datum plane. In practice the linear inverse problem
receives less attention and at most qualitative gravity interpretation is concerned with
non-linear inverse problem.
The non-linear method calls for approximation of the geological bodies, which are
considered to be the gravity source, by assuming simple geometric model from which the
theoretical gravity effect can be compared with the observed (residual) gravity data and
the shape of the body can be changed (modified) to minimize the difference between the
observed and the computed gravity effects, often by interactive and/or iterative computer
inversion methods (Kearey et al., 1988). Density measurements

In qualitative interpretation of gravity anomalies, it is necessary to determine the density
of the subsurface rocks before one can postulate the shape or structure of the source body.
For this reason
Gravity study on groundwater structure in Central Butana (Sudan) 325

Figure 8. Fault or lithological contact

along profile A-A′ as exhibits second
Table 2. Rock densities of the basement complex.
No. of Density Density
Rock sample (gm/cc) (gm/cc)
type range mean Locality Source
Gneiss 2 2.85– 2.84 Gadaref Author
Green 40 2.65– 2.81 J.Qeili Ahmed
Schist 2.98 (1968)
Granite 5 2.59– 2.64 J.Qeili Ahmed
2.68 (1968)
Granite 7 2.59– 2.62 Butana Author
Syenite 16 2.57– 2.63 J.Qeili Ahmed
2.68 (1968)
Gabbro 4 2.92– 2.93 Es Sada Author

some attention has been drawn to the densities and density contrast between the
representative rocks in the study area. In fact the density contrast between the rocks are
the primary cause of the measured gravity effect.
Densities of main rocks composing Butana (Igneous complex) had been measured by
Ahmed (1968) and range from 2.57 to 2.68gm/cc. A value of 2.65gm/cc is considered as
Water resources of arid areas 326

the average for the whole complex. Densities of the country rocks vary from 2.65 to
2.98gm/cc, and a value of 2.81gm/cc is considered to be the average.
Generally densities of igneous rocks, increase with decrease of silica content or in
other words, it follows the acidity line regardless of the rock being plutonic or volcanic
(Table 2). On the other hand densities of the metamorphic rock increase with the degree
of metamorphism. Modeling of the observed anomalies

Modeling of the anomalies in this study was performed by “Grav2dc” program, written
by Cooper (1991). It uses the Talwani et al. (1959) type a logarithm, to calculate the
gravitational anomaly over one or more 2 D/2.5 D bodies.
The construction of models due to local structures is therefore a process by which one
removes the regional gravity effects. It eliminates the regional completely and thus
enhances the residual anomaly. Thus this models entirely the residual value only (Figs 8,
and 9). Modeling along profile A-A′

The profile passes across the central part of the area, generally trend in a NW direction
and extends to 50km. No Basement outcrops along this profile, however it passes through
Butana clay

Figure 9. (a, b) Two dimensional

model along profile A-A′.
cover. The profile displays a rapid decrease in gravity anomaly in NW direction. These
suggest emplacement of low-density body (mass deficiency) into the green schist. To
Gravity study on groundwater structure in Central Butana (Sudan) 327

account for this low (−ve) gravity anomaly a model representing a granitic intrusion into
the green schist with a density contrast of −0.16gm/cc has been simulated as shown in
Figure (9a). The model (Fig. 9a) shows intrusive granitic mass of a thickness of about
2km into the green schist, and bounded by several step faults, especially at SE side. Modeling along profile B-B′

The profile starts at about 5km southeast of Jebel-Mundara. The profile extends for about
60km and generally oriented in a NE-SW direction (Fig. 9b). The surface geology along
this profile consists entirely of the granite at Jebel Mundara. Modeling of the observed
gravity anomaly has reveled emplacement of a granitic body, which extend to 2.5km
depth and bounded by near-surface step faults.
The simulated (modeled) granitic body correlates with the shape of the Jebel Mundara
low anomalies, which trend in the same direction of the fracture system in the old
Metamorphic rocks i.e. NNE-SSW.


The interpreted gravity data in this research were measured to confirm the existence of
low gravity anomalies in the area that is referred to as Wad Burwa anomaly (Ibrahim,
1993) or otherwise.
Filtering of the gravity data comprises the second vertical derivatives of the gravity
anomaly. The techniques have proven to be effective in revealing local features more
clearly than their respective potential fields. The vertical derivative enhanced and
resolved the regional-residual anomalies more clearly. on the other hand have delineated
density boundaries (lithological boundary).
Modeling of the anomalous field was performed by gravity inversion program
(Cooper, 1991), which simulate two-dimensional geological model of irregular geometry,
mostly representing the mode of occurrence of the granitic into the country rocks of the
Butana region. The surface outcrop of granite controls the shape of the uppermost part of
the model, while the −ve density contrasts between the granitic rock and the other green
schist account for the −ve Gravity lows in the study area, which are generally known to
be shallow Basement Complex terrain.
This gravity low is largely attributed to the occurrence of low-density rocks (granitic
intrusion) into the high-density rocks (green schist) of the Butana region. Thus for it is
not unusual gravity measurements in such areas introduced by granitic into country rock
of higher densities, to reflect apparently anomalies of typical sedimentary basins.
However such ambiguity can be resolved by computation of the second derivative (Bott,
1965). By verifiable of their occurrence and contact with host rock, granitic bodies slope
outwards, thus display (−ve) second derivative gradient as shown in section of
this thesis.
On the other hand the gravity high zones un-ambiguity coincide with the areas of
known shallow Basement Complex. As has been revealed by the quantitative
interpretation, the granitic bodies are bounded by near-surface (shallow) step faults. The
appearance of these faults on the ground surface is completely masked by the Butana clay
Water resources of arid areas 328

soil and probably they can be exposed by intercepting deep cut water courses (Wadi or
Khor). In such conditions the faults can channel water, from surface runoff, to facilitate
occurrence of groundwater storage in the basement (granitic rocks) in the Butana area.
Filed work for ground water trotting and checking of interpreted data is crucial to up
grade the quality of decision. Concurrently geophysical and geological investigation
could be carried out in quest to acquire more precise data in the study area (Wadi and
flood delta, etc.).
The study area of the Butana region has a lack of water supply for both population and
livestock uses, because Basement Complex, which is outcropping, or of shallow depth,
dominates it. However, further more detailed gravity work in addition to the seismic
survey may lead to reveal saturated depression or fracture zones. The presence of water
supply in these zones can be expected.


Abd el Rahman, E.M., Yehia, A.Y. & Amin, Y.A. 1983. Methods of determination of the proper
regional gravity from Bouguer anomaly profile. E.G S. Proc. of 2nd Ann. M.
Agocs, W.B. 1951. Least squares residual anomaly determination. Geophysics, 16:686–696.
Ahmed, F. 1968. The geology of the Jebel Qeili, Butana and Jebel Sileitaat-Es-Sufr igneous
complex, Nile valley, Central Sudan. Unpublished M.Sc. thesis, Univ. Khartoum.
Ahmed, F. & Ayed, M.A. 1996. Applied geophysical and satellite imagery techniques, for ground
water studies in Central Butana area; ADS report, 25pp, 10–15.
Bannister, A. & Raymond, S. 1989. Surveying Catalog, Singapore, Longman Scientific and
Bott, M.H.P. 1965. A geophysical study of the granite problem. Quart. Journ. Geol Soc. London,
112(445): 45–62.
Cooper Ltd. 1991. Program “Grav 2dc”, written by G.R.J. Dep. Geophysics, Witwatersrand, South
Dobrin, M.B. 1976. Introduction to Geophysical Prospecting. Mc Graw-Hill, New York.
El kins, T.A. 1951. The second derivative method of gravity interpretation. Geophysics, 16:29–50.
Fajklewicz, Z. 1959. The use of Cracovian Computation in estimating regional gravity. Geophysics,
GEOSOFT reference manual, 1989. Software for earth sciences. GEOSOFT INC, Toronto,
Griffin, W.R. 1949. Residual gravity in theory and practice. Geophysics, 14:39–56.
Ibrahim, A.E. 1993. Interpretation of gravity and magnetic data from the Central Africa rift system,
Sudan. Unpublished. Ph.D. Thesis Univ. Leeds, 209pp.
Ibrahim, A.E., Ebinger, C.J. & Fairhead, J.D. 1996. Lithospheric extension NW of the Central
Africa Shear Zone (CASZ) in Sudan from potential field studies. Tectonophysics, 255:70–97.
Iskander, W., Ahmed, A.A., Mokhtar, A. & Fadle, A.S. 1993. Appraisal of mineral and water
resources of central Butana, Eastern region-Sudan ADS report 85pp.
Kearey, P. & Brooks, M. 1988. An Introduction to Geophysical Exploration. Dep. Geol. Univ.
Bristol., 296 pp, ch-6, 138–169.
Nettelton, L.L. 1976. Gravity and magnetic in Oil exploration. Mc Graw Hill, New York, 464p,
Paul, M.K. 1967. A method of computing residual anomalies from Bouguer gravity map by
applying relaxation technique. Geophysics, 32:708–719.
Seigal, H.O. 1995. High precision gravity guides. Canada, Ontario, L4K 1B5:120pp.
Sun Oil Company, 1984. Nile blocks gravity survey. Final report, Unpublished.
Gravity study on groundwater structure in Central Butana (Sudan) 329

Talwani, M.J., Worzel, L. & Landisman, M. 1959. Rapid gravity computations for Two-dimension
Bodies with application to the Mendocio submarine fracture zone. J. Geophys. Res., 64:49–59.
Remote sensing and electrical resistivity
studies on groundwater structure zones in
Central Butana (Sudan)
TU Bergakademie Freiberg, German, Gustav-Zeuner-Str, Freiberg,
El Neelain University, Sudan
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson, Shemang & Chaoka
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN 04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: Remote sensing techniques combined with the resistivity

electrical methods adopted for locating the potential groundwater zones in
central Butana. Land sat image is helpful in the location of major deep-
seated fracture zones. The lineament patterns derived from TM image
show strong NE-SW orientations and drainage pattern present in the area.
The longer NNE to NE trending feature may be important from a regional
hydro-geological point of view, where as the NW trending features are
significant in that they intersection the major fault. Groundwater
occurrence is mainly due to the secondary porosity, such as weathering,
joints, fissures and fracture. Good quantity of groundwater potentials has
been identified in the high density of drainage and lineament zone in
Butana region, lineaments intersections are important with well yield than
are individual. Moderate to good yield of groundwater are tapping from
weathered zones and good yield are tapping from fracture zones.


Groundwater has become an important source of water and has played an importance role
in developing industry, agriculture, livestock and domestic purpose. The groundwater
condition in a crystalline rock terrain is multivariate because of the heterogeneity of the
aquifer, due to the varying composition, compaction, and degree of weathering and
density of fracturing. As a result, exploration of groundwater in a crystalline rock terrain
has proved to be a complex phenomenon. However, the presence of a vast crystalline
rock terrain cannot be neglected as an unfavorable zone.
The application of Remote sensing techniques and surface geo-electrical methods is
highly helpful for groundwater exploration lies in delineating potential zones of
groundwater from a large area. Generally the occurrence of groundwater in crystalline
Remote sensing and electrical resistivity studies on groundwater structure zones 331

rock terrain is associated with the geological structural features like lineaments,
fractures/fissure, fault zones.
The study area lies between the Blue Nile River and River Atbara, It is bounded by
latitudes 14° 30′N and 16°00′N and longitudes 33°30′E and 35°30′E. The study area
covers about 20,000km2 (Fig. 1). The study area is generally flat, with a gentle slope to
the North. The general altitude of the plain is about 500m above mean sea level (m.s.l).
The flat monotony of the plain is occasionally broken by some protruding low to
moderately high hills or hill chains, which hardly exceed 200 meters above the ground
surface (Kheiralla, 2001).
According to the 1993 census in Sudan the total population of the study area is
roughly estimated at 30,000 persons, Livestock rising is the major activity of 70% of the
Butana population. The ecological conditions as well as the long experience of the
inhabitants turn pastoralism as the most worthwhile occupation. The animal population
within the area is roughly estimated as some 35,000 heads, composed of about 30,000
sheep and goats, 5,000 cattle and camel (Abd el Ati, 1993). Human and animal
populations in the Butana area receive their water

Figure 1. Location map of Central

supply from surface and groundwater. However Groundwater is the only permanent
source of water supply in the Butana area. Different than elsewhere in Sudan, the
weathered and/or fractured Basement Complex are the main sources of groundwater in
Water resources of arid areas 332

Central Butana region, as they can store and yield reasonable quantities of water from
their joints and fractures. The alluvial deposits are none water bearing formation,
especially close to the blind deltas of the main Wadis (valley) (Ahmed & Ayed, 1996).
However, groundwater occurs in sand alluvial fans are expected to be found under thick
cover of the Butana clayey.
The surface runoff soon evaporates and/or infiltrates. The crystalline rock terrines,
underlying the Butana area is assumed to be groundwater devoid. Under specific
geological and hydrogeological condition, the crystalline rock terrines can store and yield
appreciable quantities of groundwater variable quality. The weathered and/or fractured
crystalline rocks underlying the drainage system from local aquifer zones, in the Butana
area the hydro-geological significance of the sandy alluvial deposits is that they act as a
membrane through which surface flow can infiltrate to recharge the underlying fractured
The study aims to investigate the extent of the influence of the drainage and fractured
by the use of Remote sensing and applying geo-electrical methods to delineate the
general hydro-geological aspects of the sediments overlying the crystalline rocks for
exploration of groundwater. In order to understand the significance of the fracture
pattern, geological, hydro-geological, drainage system and lineaments map have been
prepared with the help of Land sat TM imagery. An isoresistvity map is prepared by
conventional survey of equal apparent resistivity (AB/2=60) and then comparing a
lineament map and drainage system map to identify the extent of correlation.


A number of isolated out crops of Pre-Cambrian Basement complex rocks scatter over
the central plains of Sudan (Fig. 2). In the Butana region, several hills occur and make
prominent landmarks
Remote sensing and electrical resistivity studies on groundwater structure zones 333

Figure 2. Geological map of Central

Butana Area.
Table 1. Geological column for Butana region.
(After Iskander et al., 1993)
Formation Age
Superficial deposits Quaternary/Recent
Tertiary volcanic Tertiary
El Burg Basal Jurassic to
conglomerates cretaceous
The Basement complex Pre-Cambrian

within the predominantly flat clay plains. The solid geology of the Butana plain is rather
concealed under a veneer of variable thickness of superficial clays covering over 70% of
the Butana area. Several metasedimentary sub-parallel belts extend for 10–25km in the
form of low to moderately elevated ridges surrounded by Butana clay cover (Iskander et
al., 1993). The generalized geological column for Butana region can be summarized as
shown in Table 1.
The majority of the Basement rocks are concealed under the cover of the Butana clay
plain. As mentioned, the structural domain in the area is characterized by northeast
Water resources of arid areas 334

trending lineaments. Exposed structures in the metasediments display complex

shearing/faulting and tight folding with dipping axial planes where the axes generally
have NE-SW trends and with SW mergence.
Tectonic activity and the associating metamorphism have resulted in variable folding,
faulting and shearing giving rise to complex contact relations between the different
basement units and within the metasedimentary assemblages.

Figure 3. Map showing lineaments and

rose diagram of Central Butana Area.
The structural domain in the area is characterized by northeast trending lineaments (Fig.
3). Exposed structures in the metasediments display complex shearing/faulting and tight
folding with dipping axial planes where the axes generally have NE-SW trends and with
SW vergence. Iskander et al. (1993) Have interpreted that Riera, Es Subagh and Wad
Gidair occupy the limbs of a synform whose vergence is to words SSW with a general N
trending axis, while a major anticline occupies the area between Es Subagh in the NW
limb and Hosheib-Suruj Jebel El Tawill in the SE limb with a NNE-trending axis and a
Remote sensing and electrical resistivity studies on groundwater structure zones 335

NE vergence. In this search three phases of deformation recognized has reported in the
Butana region (Fig. 2) these are:
● F1—Regional foliation, lineation, and shear zones.
● F2—Planar and linear structures, upright folds and faults bricca.
● E-W faulting and fracture cleavage.
The tectonic events that terminated by continental collision at the end of the Pan-African
developed or reactivated a conjugate set of strike-slip faults and shear zones in both the
Nubian and Arabian shield. The fault/shear zones have two main trends NW-SE (Najd
trend) and the ENE-WSW (Central African Lineament). In the central Butana regions,
major faults and shear
Table 2. Sites proposed for drilling of boreholes.
Well Locality S.W.L Expected Aquifer Apparent
No. (m) yield type resistivity
(103m3/yr) at depth
of 60m
1 Es 45 90 FBC 125
2 Es 39 80 FBC 90
3 Es Sada 25 50 ALL/WBC 60
4 Abu 27 40 WBC 55
5 El Fuel 36 70 FBC 115
6 El Bresi 33 65 ALL/WBC 70
7 El Edeid 32 50 FBC 85
8 El Edeid 24 60 FBC 100
FBC—Fractured Basement Complex; ALL—Alluvium;
WBC—Weathered Basement Complex.

zones display apparently complicated sets of fractures generally follow the regional
foliation/ schistosity trends in both the metasediments and the underlying Basement
The structural domain in the north and southeast of Es Subagh area is NNE to NE
(Fig. 3). Subordinate N-W and E-W trending faults affect mainly the northwestern part of
El Butana (Iskander et al., 1993). The prominent NE trending sets of faults are mainly
strike-slip with a dextral sense of movement. Those discontinuities extend up to 70km as
attested by the linear-controlled drainage system. Some faults sheared the
metasedimentary rock assemblage to significant proportions creating 2–1.5m wide zone
Water resources of arid areas 336

of shearing or brecciation (e.g. Jebel El Rabbda), thrusting the evident in Jebel El Tawill
with NE trends and E or SE dip direction. This orientation lineament direction of
ophiolite transport. Very similar trends have been suggested for the ophiolite and
allochthonous sheets transport in the Engassana Hills (Vail and Duggue, 1986).
This deformation created an important fracture, which have provided Es Subagh area
in Central Butana with fresh water. To the south, J.El Tawill ultramafic belt has been
affected by two boundary thrusts (Fig. 2) 2km apart, resulting into variable degrees of
shearing on the eastern and western flanks. Similar sub-basin has been created and
provides potable water for the inhabitants of the area.
The area has complex hydro-geological conditions owing to complexity in the origin
of the rock units encountered. The compact pre-Cambrian suites of rocks are poor
aquifers. Groundwater occurs in confined conditions in these rocks due to the
development of secondary porosity such as fracturing. Fractured crystalline rocks are less
permeable at greater depth because stress variations that cause fractures are larger and,
over geological time, occur more frequency near the ground surface. Fractures tend to
close at depth because of vertical and lateral stresses imposed by overburden loads and
horizontal stresses of tectonic origin. Apparently these basic conditions, which control
ground water occurrence in crystalline rocks, apply to a large extent to the Butana area.
Groundwater generally occurs in the upper weathered/or fractured zone, which may
extend down to 70m depth as indicated by the lithological logs of Es Subagh two
boreholes. The sheared rocks, which form the bulk of the aquifer, are composed of acid
gneisses, quartzite, marbles and granites. The brecciate marbles in the Butana normally
form the good aquifers. The formation easily dissolvable by moving waters, and thus
forms wide fissures and cavities, which facilitated groundwater storage and transmission
(Iskander et al., 1993). The best aquifer zones comprise the marble cavities along Khor
Abu Gimbil, Es Sufeiya, fractured Basement rocks of Adeid El Tawill, Es Subagh, Reira,
and El Hagar, and the alluvial deposits along Wadi Abu Grad and Wadi Abu Matariq.
Depth to ground water level in the study area varies from 20 to 25m at Reira, between
15 to 50m at Es Subagh, from 20 to 40m below the ground surface at Es Sufeiya, 10 to
20m at El Tawill, and much deeper ground water level (60m below the ground surface) at
El Hagar (Table 2). Groundwater in the fracture Basement Complex occurs under free
water table conditions and at depths ranging from few meters to over 60 meters below the
ground surface. The water table attains its highest level during and shortly after rainy
season and drops to its lowest level immediately before the next rainy season. The
amplitude of the seasonal or annual fluctuation depends to a great extent on the balance
between the recharge and discharge of water to and from the aquifer. Generally
productivities of the wells directly correlate the intensity of rainfall in the study area.
Noticeably in dry years, the water levels drops to the bottom of the wells or completely
dry out. Apparently Groundwater movement in crystalline rocks is non-committal to flow
direction, because fracture trends tend to variation that cause movement are largely
expected variable to flow direction. Basement outcrops from the main catchments area
and ground water movement coincides with the drainage systems controlled structurally.
Groundwater moves away from the surface water divide and generally in the eastern and
NE direction, ground water moves to joint Atbara River.
Eight boreholes have been drilled along watercourses or fractured aquifers at variable
depths (Table 2). These include four at Es Subagh, Qeili, Abu Gimbil, Husheib and Umm
Remote sensing and electrical resistivity studies on groundwater structure zones 337

Sarha villages. Only five of the eight boreholes are successful with the total out put
hardly exceeding 10m3 per hour, per well. Presently only a few are in use. Two hundreds
and fifteen hand-dug wells were excavated into different aquifers (e.g. Fractured,
weathered Basement, alluvial or fan deposits) to depths ranging between 20–55m
(Kheiralla, 2001). Their static water level varies between 15 and 40m, though wells
drilled into the alluvium aquifers are relatively shallower not exceeding about 5m deep.
The static water level in these hand-dug wells fluctuates between 3–5m per year, which
may be considered as a good sign of recharge. The total out put of the hand-dug wells is
estimated to be about 2869*102m3/year. Chemical analysis of samples collected from
some hand-dug wells indicates fair to good water quality suitable for human as well as
animal consumption. Based on the above estimates, the grand total yield of the existing
water sources in the Central Butana is around 33*104m3/year. This amount does not
exceed 2/5th(40%) of the actual demand. These indicate an actuate water supply


One of the objectives of this work is to delineate the lineaments in more details using the
geoelectrical method and Remote sensing technique. Waters (1990) suggests that there
are two stages involved in hydro-geological investigations based on remotely sensed
images: first, the identification of photo lineaments representing crustal fracturing; and
second, the interpretation of these features with respect to their significance in terms of
potential groundwater flow. Thus, lineaments visible on the land sat TM images my be
expressed by: 1) geomorphologic features such as valleys, straight drainage channel
segments, linear scarp faces, or pronounced breaks in the crystalline rock mass, 2) tonal
differences at the boundaries of contrasting lithological units.
The digitalization of lineaments was carried out through visual analysis at the screen
of land sat TM and linear structure features such as faults and fractures were studied in
the field. Faults can be distinguished from the fracture by the observations of the
slickenside. The Rose diagram (Fig. 3). Constructed from the lineaments map shows the
structural domain is NNE to NE trend. Main trend coincide with the Central Africa
lineaments with an average direction between 5° and 75°, but most of the long and high
frequency lineaments are clustered around 90°, while in the NW direction the NE
trending sets of faults are mainly strike-slip with dextral sense of movement.
Tensional faults, that is those parallel to the direction of the tectonic stress or
orthogonal to the direction of crustal extension, my be believed open and some what
wider than compressive/shear faults, which are orthogonal or inclined with respect to the
direction of tectonic stress and consequently tend to be tighter. Thus, it should be much
easier to recognize tensional faults in a land sat than shear faults and this should be
reflected in the lineaments frequency histogram. These preferred orientation of deep-
seated fractures are responsible for the groundwater potential zones in the study area.
Water resources of arid areas 338

Figure 4. Lineament density map of

Central Butana Area.
The lineament pattern was subjected to further analytical treatment and a lineament
density map has been prepared to identify the fracture concentration (Fig. 3). This was
generated by gridding the whole area into 1km2 cell and counting the length of the
lineament in each cell and counting these values (Fig. 4). An integrated survey involving
location of lineaments by resistively survey for location of fracture openings has
indicated that in some areas development. Well yield of groundwater potentials has been
observed in the high density of the lineament areas, and was thus indicated by high
apparent resistivity value (50–100Ωm) as well as by more alluvial followed by weathered
thickness encountered along high density lineament zones.
Additional analyses of well yield and lineaments show that lineament intersection, and
not the lineaments directions are important. Point of intersection of these lineaments with
well yield than are individual lineament. These intersections coincide closely with the
main drainage system. More intersection deep-seated fractures are present in high-density
lineaments area, which act as groundwater channels, and some of those intersection deep-
Remote sensing and electrical resistivity studies on groundwater structure zones 339

seated fractures are responsible for the formation of groundwater potential zones in the
Butana region, where the density of lineaments is found to be between 0.5 and 2 (Fig. 4).
These zones may also have the continuity of the lineaments extending from high to low
altitudes, which may be buried under transported deposits (20m). This is in conformity
with the well yields of the wells. In this region, lineaments are the most significant
predictors of groundwater occurrence and general geological structures are less


A drainage map was prepared with help of land sat TM data (Fig. 5). The drainage
system, which develops in an area, is strictly dependent on the slope, the nature and
attitude of bedrock and on the regional and local fracture pattern. Drainage is studied
according to its pattern type and its texture (Way, 1973). Whilst the first parameter is
associated to the nature and structure of the substratum, the second is related to rock/soil
permeability. Actually, the less a rock is permeable, the less the infiltration of rainfall,
which conversely tends to be concentrated in surface runoff. This gives origin to a well-
developed and fine drainage system.
The low hills of the Butana are mostly composed of the Precambrian Basement
Complex rocks (Ahmed, 1968), these hills and hill chains are arranged to form a
disrupted low regional ridge, which acts as a flat watershed dividing the Butana drainage
system to the Blue Nile River in the
Water resources of arid areas 340

Figure 5. Map showing drainage

system of Central Butana Area.
west and to River Atbara in the northeast (Fig. 1). Because of the amount of the rainfall
and the flatness of the terrain, the Wadis (valleys) in the Butana area flow only after
heavy thunderstorms. However, none of this flow survives to reach its final destination
but usually ends in flood deltas. This means that the drainage within the Butana area is
completely internal. The flood deltas at the end of the major Wadis normally offer
sizeable areas for rain-fed agriculture in the study area. The major Wadis appear in well-
defined channel at their headwaters but when reaching the flatlands down stream, their
flows meander in several diffused courses and finally end in deltas (Fig. 5).
Figure 6 showing drainage density map has been prepared to identify the drainage
concentration. This was generated by gridding the whole area into 1km2 cell and counting
the length of the lineament in each cell and counting these values. The superimposition of
the drainage density map on the lineament density map show the relationship between
them. It also reveals the complete matching between the drainage and lineament densities
with well yield distributions.
Remote sensing and electrical resistivity studies on groundwater structure zones 341

The drainage system was classified as first order and second order based on their role
in groundwater storage. The first order drainage pattern represent fractures or faults
controlling a large part of the study area, affecting a deeper portion of the bedrock and
thus can be play an

Figure 6. Drainage density map of

Central Butana Area.
Water resources of arid areas 342

Figure 7. Apparent resistivity contour

map of Central Butana Area.
important role in groundwater storage and transmission. Second order drainage control
the patterns and morphology of the rock type, are not important role in groundwater.



The resistivity values of rocks vary depending upon the presence of secondary porosity
such as weathered, fractured and joints. Groundwater prospecting is often combined with
geo-electrical measurements. Vertical Electrical Sounding (VES) are executed to detect
variation resistivity transition with depth. A total of fifty five (55) Vertical Electrical
Sounding measurements utilizing Schlumberger array used in the present study. The
objectives of the resistivity survey in the study area are to determine the lithology,
weathered, fractured pattern, depth to the basement rock and resistivity variation. Vertical
Electrical Soundings were taken at two interest areas, these area are exempted from
Remote sensing and electrical resistivity studies on groundwater structure zones 343

agricultural and livestock activity. Hence, no groundwater exploration is possible in these

In the qualitative interpretation, the contour map of the apparent resistivity distribution
for the separation AB/2=60m is prepared to delineate high and low zones (Fig. 7). Few
resistivity soundings have been taken and correlated with lineaments density zones.
Resistivity sounding falling under high-density lineament zones proved favourable results
when compared to sounding that fall under other zones. Table 3 shows the thickness of
the different formation based on the
Table 3. Resistivity values of rock unite in the
Central Butana Area.
Range in Ωm
Rock unit Min Max
Butana clays 2 20
Weathered basement 10 100
Fractured basement 50 >500

Figure 8. Geo-electrical section of the

study area, showing three
hydrogeology units.
resistivity values. Using gravity model, geo-electrical section of the study area in (Fig. 8)
showing three hydro-geological units (Kheiralla, 2001), weathered rocks and weathered
rocks underlain by fractured rocks underlie alluvial layer.


The results of a comparative investigation of drainage and lineament mapping from TM

imagery using vertical electrical soundings data are described. Initial results show that the
land sat image is most useful for mapping detailed fracture pattern while the combination
of vertical electrical sounding technique is helpful in the location of major deep-seated
fracture zones.
The longer NNE to NE trending feature may be important from a regional hydro-
geological point of view, where as the NW trending features are significant in that they
intersection the major fault.
Water resources of arid areas 344

Groundwater occurrence is mainly due to the secondary porosity, such as weathering,

joints, fissures and fracture/lineaments. The iso-apparent resistivity contour map (Fig. 7)
depicts the horizontal variations in the sub surface lithology of the study area.
Figure 7 it is found that the high resistivity zones of more than 50Ωm occur from
north-eastern part and from southern part of two interested area. Most of the well located
in this zone yield a good quantity of water.
Good quantity (more than 90,000m3/yr) groundwater potentials have been identified in
the high density of drainage/or lineament zone in Butana region, lineaments intersection
are important with well yield than are individual.
Assuming that wide variations are not present within a few kilometers, groundwater
potential zones have been delineated based on surface lithology, drainage,
lineaments/fracture pattern from land sat TM imagery and from electrical resistivity
studies (Fig. 9).

● The study of land sat TM images identified a lineament trending NE-SW direction and
drainage pattern present in the area.
● Moderate to good yield (40–65*103m/yr) are tapping from weathered zones, good yield
(70–90*103m3/yr) are tapping from fracture zones.

Figure 9. Different groundwater

potential zones.
Remote sensing and electrical resistivity studies on groundwater structure zones 345

● The area as covered with high alluvial and more fractured zones are providing copious
amounts of groundwater.
● Range of resistivities and Expected Yield of different zones are presented in table (2).
● The comparatively high density obtained by lineaments concentration/and or drainage
system indicated the presence of groundwater potential zones.


Abd el Ati, H.A. 1993. A base line survey Report on Central Butana. ADS project area-UNDP-
Ahmed, F. 1968. The geology of the Jebel Qeili, Butana and Jebel Sileitaat-Es-Sufr igneous
complex, Nile valley, Central Sudan. Unpublished M.Sc. thesis, Univ. Khartoum.
Ahmed, F. & Ayed, M.A. 1996. Applied geophysical and satellite imagery techniques, for ground
water studies in Central Butana area; ADS report, 25pp, 10–15.
Iskander, W. Ahmed, A A. Mokhtar, A. & Fadle, A.S. 1993. Appraisal of mineral and water
resources of central Butana, Eastern region-Sudan ADS report 85pp.
Kheiralla, K.M. 2001. Geophysical study on groundwater structure at two localities in Central
Butana, Central Sudan. Unpublished M.Sc. thesis, Univ. El Neelain.
Waters, P. 1990. Methodology of lineament analysis for hydro-geological investigation. In Satellite
Remote Sensing for Hydrology and Water Management. E.C.Barret, Power, C.H. & Micallef, A.
eds., New York, Gordon & Breach: 1–23.
Way, D.S. 1973. Terrain analysis, a guide to site selection using aerial photographic
interpretation, Stroudsburg, Dowden, Hutchinson, Ross Inc.
Vail, J.R. & Duggue, J.P. 1986. Bibliography of geological sciences for the Republic of the Sudan.
1837–1985, Center Int. Formation Echanges Geol. Paris, Spec. Publ.
Monitoring and modeling of fluxes on
Kalahari—setup and strategy of the Kalahari
Monitoring project Serowe study case,
M.W.Lubczynski1 & O.Obakeng1,2
The International Institute for Geoinformation Science and Earth
Observation (ITC), Enschede, The Netherlands
Geological Survey, Lobatse, Botswana
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: The ongoing discussion about the presence and the rates of
recharge in Botswana, which constrains groundwater sustainability in the
country scale, has led to the initiation of a new recharge project in
Botswana called Kalahari Monitoring Project. In contrast to previous
attempts this project focuses on temporal flux monitoring by using
automated data acquisition systems (ADAS). The framework of that
project is discussed on the base of the example of the Serowe study area,
located at the eastern fringe of Kalahari, where an extensive monitoring
network was installed to provide data for spatio-temporal flux assessment.
This network allows measurements of saturated, unsaturated and surface
zone fluxes. It consists of groundwater table fluctuation monitoring in 21
piezometers, soil moisture and soil suction pressure monitoring in 7
identical profiles comprising measurements at 0.5, 2, 4, 6, 8m b.g.s., one
deep suction pressure profile down to 76m (sensors at 15 different depth
levels), transpiration monitoring using 51 sap velocity thermal dissipation
probes installed at 9 ADAS locations and monitoring of climatic variables
for potential and actual evapotranspiration in 10 towers scattered over the
study area. This data is either interpreted directly (rainfall, transpiration)
or used in 1-D models to calibrate surface and subsurface fluxes such as
evapotranspiration, groundwater evapotranspiration and recharge. For
spatial data assessment the remote sensing (RS) method is proposed. The
evapotranspiration is obtained with RS solution of energy balance,
transpiration by RS upscaling of the sap flow measurements and recharge
by RS and GIS modeling. The final integration of spatial and temporal
data for spatio-temporal flux assessment is carried out by transient
groundwater model calibration with spatio-temporally variable recharge
and groundwater evapotranspiration. The aspect of partitioning of tree
Monitoring and modeling of fluxes on Kalahari 347

transpiration fluxes into saturated and unsaturated zone is tackled by

isotopic depth dependent tracing of groundwater and tree response
The preliminary results of this study indicate already that the net
recharge in incidental hydrological seasons can be substantially higher
than the average recharge defined by isotopic and chemical methods. In
other years however, the net recharge is usually negative due to the typical
excess of groundwater evapotranspiration over the recharge, which is
mainly due to the substantial role of transpiration in the overall
groundwater balance.


A long lasting debate is continued in Southern Africa, particularly in Botswana, regarding

the presence, rates and the nature of groundwater recharge on Kalahari. Based on the
completed GRES II project, the Kalahari recharge was defined on average in the order of
5mm/y or less, using hydrochemical and isotopic methods (de Vries et al. 2000). The
GRES recharge rates obtained mainly with chemical and isotopic methods provide the
long-term average recharge. In groundwater modeling such recharge can only be applied
as steady-state flux input, which is justified if the temporal variability of fluxes is low.
Otherwise, as it often happens in arid and semiarid countries, models have better setup if
fluxes are provided in spatio-temporal manner (Lubczynski 2000, Lubczynski & Gurwin
2004). In Botswana for example, in the wet season of 1999/2000 when many places in
Southern Africa experienced incidentally high rainfall, the monitored groundwater table
rise indicated recharge values several times higher than 5mm/y stated by GRES II
project. In the other years however, when rainfall and recharge (R) were low,
groundwater table declined to the stages lower than at the beginning of the hydrologic
year. This happened not only due to the lateral groundwater outflow but also due to the
groundwater evapotranspiration (Lubczynski 2000). Groundwater evapotranspiration (Eg)
consists of two types of fluxes: groundwater transpiration (Tg) representing root
groundwater uptake and groundwater evaporation (Cg) representing convective and
diffusive water flux originated from groundwater table which evaporates while reaching a
shallow zone of a few m b.g.s. Similar flux components, such as unsaturated zone
transpiration (Tu) and unsaturated zone evaporation (Cu) are also defined with reference
to unsaturated zone. The similarity between Tg and Tu as well as between Cg and Cu
makes difficult partitioning of the flux contributions of saturated and unsaturated zone.
Such difficulty occurs for example when transpiration is assessed by tree sap flow
measurements, which represent the combined effect of transpiration originated from
groundwater and from unsaturated zone. The assessment and partitioning of Cg is even
more difficult because so far there are no methods of measuring of this component and
moreover Cg and Cu can also be confused with the surface evaporation when assessment
is made from the land surface.
Not only temporal assessment of groundwater fluxes is considered as a problem but
also the assessment of spatial variability of fluxes. Very often point data characterizing
local behavior of saturated-unsaturated fluxes is available, like from specific chloride
Water resources of arid areas 348

mass balance measurements or from 1-D recharge modeling, but the method of spatial
representation of such data is not well defined. It is an ongoing dispute on what are the
best and the most efficient schemas to present point flux information spatially, using
interpolation, extrapolation by GIS modeling, stochastic modeling or discrete
groundwater modeling?
Thus in 2001a complex Kalahari Monitoring research project was established in
Botswana focusing on monitoring and modeling of surface and subsurface fluxes. The
main objective of this project is spatio-temporal assessment of subsurface fluxes for
better management of groundwater resources in Botswana. As study areas three
hydrologically different semi-arid locations were selected, Maun area, Localane-Ncojane
area and, Serowe area. Maun area represents relatively wet conditions of the Delta
Okavango with very shallow groundwater table of only few meters below the surface.
Localane-Ncojane area represents the western, driest part of Botswana Kalahari with very
deep groundwater table on average 100–150m b.g.s. The Serowe area of ~2500km2 on
which this study focuses (Figure 1), is currently the most instrumented and the most
intensively investigated research area of the Kalahari Monitoring project.


The Serowe study area was selected as target area of the Kalahari Monitoring project
following the previous research in the same area delivered by SGAB (1988) and WCS
(2000). The latter one included also the numerical groundwater model, after which the
present study area boundaries were assumed (Figure 1).
The study area consists of two contrasting parts, Kalahari sandveld and hardveld,
which have different natural and hydrological conditions. The western sandveld part is
elevated as compared to the hardveld along the prominent escarpment feature. This
elevation is due to the 60–100m eolian Kalahari sand cover on the western, sandveld part,
overlying solid rocks such as Stormberg basalts and Ntane sandstones which in the
eastern part outcrop or are covered by thin, 0–5m Kalahari sand cover (Figure 1). The
sandveld part slopes gently to the west, is fairly flat and featureless without prominent
drainage lines. In contrast, the hardveld part slopes steeper and there is a drainage system
of the intermittent streams, discharging water mainly after the heavy showers. The
majority of the villages in the study area are concentrated along the eastern edge of
Monitoring and modeling of fluxes on Kalahari 349

Figure 1. Serowe study area and its

monitoring network.
the escarpment where some ten years ago, springs were supplying water for habitants.
The escarpment line as well as the drainage lines in the eastern part of the study area
where groundwater table is relatively shallow (<20m), are marked by green riverine
woodland vegetation, denser and taller than elsewhere. The hardveld is dominated by
acacia savannah type of vegetation, which can vary from dense shrub land to true tree
savannah. The Kalahari sandveld is represented by open savannah vegetation type
characterized by continuous grass layer and discontinuous sparse tree and bush layer. It is
noticeable that in the eastern area, vegetation remains green even at the peak of the dry
season in contrast to the western part, which is generally dry except for sparse
evergreentrees. The sandveld area is quite flat and dominated by free draining coarse to
loamy fine Kalahari sands with high permeability and relatively low water holding
capacity so the surface runoff is negligible there. In the hardveld part the surface runoff is
more pronounced due to the diverse relief, solid rocks at shallow depth and less
permeable soils enriched in clay materials originated from weathering of basalt and
dolerite outcropping rocks.


The automated data acquisition system (ADAS), is a combination of sensors or just only
one sensor installed in the field and operated by a multiple or single channel logger
managing the performance of the sensors. ADAS are very useful in hydrology because
they provide high temporal data resolution so they are well applicable in setting and
calibration of transient models. The simplest example of ADAS is a combination of one
sensor with one logger such as e.g. discussed below automated groundwater table
recorder (AGTR). More sophisticated version is a multi-sensor ADAS operated by one,
multi-channel logger. Such systems composed of various combinations of electronic
sensors are usually mounted as towers on the masts (Lubczynski 2000) and can focus on
monitoring of above-surface, surface, unsaturated zone and saturated zone temporal
variability. The appropriate selection of the sensors and the programming of the loggers
Water resources of arid areas 350

depend on the objectives of the monitoring and both are critical for the success of the
hydrological investigation program determining also the cost-effectiveness of that
In the study area there are eleven multi-sensor ADAS towers named GS00 to GS10.
Two of them are 18m high, GS00 on hardveld and GS10 on sandveld, one on sandveld,
GS09 is 10m high and eight on sandveld GS01–GS08 are 2m high (Figure 1). The
concentration of most of the ADAS towers on the sandveld illustrates current research
focus of the project. The ten towers GS00–GS08 and GS10 are installed permanently
whereas the GS09 is a mobile, retractable mast tower, which if not in mobile campaign
(Obakeng & Lubczynski 2004 in the same issue) then it is temporally located as indicated
in Figure 1. The multi-sensor ADAS towers provide input for assessment of rainfall,
potential evapotranspiration, actual evapotranspiration, transpiration, unsaturated zone
moisture and suction pressure (Lubczynski 2000).

3.1 Rainfall monitoring

There are no perennial rivers in the study area so the recharge originates mainly from
rainfall. The rainfall is monitored by ten tipping bucket rain gauges of Wallingford type
characterized by nominal resolution of 0.2mm per tip. All the rain gauges are installed at
the ADAS tower’s locations (Figure 1) at the height of 1.2m above the ground and all of
them acquire data with 0.5-hour resolution. Additionally, in the Serowe village, there is
one more rain gauge belonging to meteorological department, where rainfall has been
recorded daily since 1922. That record indicates high, temporal variation ranging from
200mm/y (1991/92) to more than 1100mm/y (1997/98 and 1999/2000). Considering
seasonal rainfall variation, in the study area, typical dry cold season starts in May and
lasts to September. The rainfall in that period is negligible. The rainy hot season starts in
October and usually lasts till April with rainfall peak in January. In the wet season rains
occur in the form of isolated, very high intensity, localized and short duration storms
(sometimes even of more than 100mm/d), which constitute the principal source of
groundwater recharge. The high intensity and localized storms contribute not only to
large temporal but also to the large spatial rainfall variability in the study area.

3.2 Monitoring of climatic components for potential and actual

The objective of monitoring of actual and potential evapotranspiration in the Kalahari
Monitoring project is to provide in a cost efficient way a support for modeling of
subsurface fluxes. This research therefore, is not oriented towards the most accurate and
expensive evapotranspiration solutions such as e.g. eddy covariance method but instead,
to develop and verify on Kalahari the methodology, which with the given cost of
micrometeorological instrumentation and reasonable accuracy provides the maximal
spatial output coverage. The first phase and the first results of that research are reported
by Obakeng & Lubczynski (2004) in the same issue.
Monitoring and modeling of fluxes on Kalahari 351

3.3 Monitoring of unsaturated zone moisture and suction pressure

The main objective in monitoring of unsaturated zone moisture and suction pressure at
various depth levels (profiles) is to provide a temporal data support for flux simulation
models (at this time mainly on Kalahari sandveld) and to answer to which extent recharge
passes the Kalahari sand.
In the study area there are seven moisture-suction pressure profiles in seven ADAS
locations GS01–GS07 (Figure 1). Each profile consists of 4 dielectric, soil moisture
sensors and 4 gypsum block suction pressure sensors installed in pairs at 2m, 4m, 6m and
8m below ground surface (b.g.s.). In each of the seven sites the shallow moisture is
additionally recorded at 0.5m b.g.s.
In order to investigate recharge at large depths on Kalahari sandveld, an additional
deep suction pressure profile has recently been installed at the GS10 location
characterized by absence of basalt and therefore unconfined aquifer conditions (Figure 1).
That deep monitoring profile consists of 15 gypsum block suction pressure sensors
distributed in logarithmically increasing with depth intervals starting at 0.25m and ending
at 76m b.g.s., just above the groundwater table level.

3.4 Monitoring of transpiration by sap flow measurement

The presence of green vegetation in dry season on Kalahari as well as the recent
information about the deep tree rooting systems on Kalahari reaching up to 60–70m b.g.s.
(Le Maitre et al. 2000) in an environment where recharge typically is very low, in order
of few millimeters per year, points at the importance of tree transpiration on Kalahari.
The tree transpiration in the study area is accessed by sap flow measurements. The sap
flow (Qs) is defined as a product of sap velocity (ν) and sap wood (xylem) area (Ax). The
ν is monitored in the study area by thermal dissipation probes (TDP) following Granier’s
method (Granier 1987). In total there are 51, sap velocity monitoring points in the study
area, six in each of the eight ADAS locations GS00-GS07 and three in the GS08. They
cover most of the variety of the tree species in the study area. The Ax of the monitored
trees is considered as time invariant at least in the time frame of the Kalahari Monitoring
project and was estimated from the biometric characteristics established for each species
separately in the transpiration monitoring campaigns (Lubczynski et al. 2004—in the
same conference issue).

3.5 Monitoring of groundwater

Monitoring of groundwater table provides direct response of the aquifer to recharge or
discharge of groundwater including the most important hydrogeological information on
groundwater flux regime. Groundwater monitoring as a standard is nowadays provided
by automated groundwater table recorders (AGTR). All the AGTRs used in the study
area are based on the principle of recording hydrostatic pressure above the sensor
suspended in the groundwater of the well.
Groundwater monitoring network in the study area consists of twenty-one well
measurement points. There are three differential (automatically compensating for
Water resources of arid areas 352

barometric pressure) “Troll” AGTRs installed by the Department of Water Affairs of

Botswana (DWA), three absolute (compensated by the external barometric pressure
measurement) “Tirta” AGTRs’ and one “Diver” AGTR installed by ITC, and thirteen
absolute “Diver” AGTRs’ installed by the Geological Survey of Botswana (GS). All the
AGTRs are programmed to acquire data at one-hour resolution. Additionally, there is one
more GS manually dipped groundwater table monitoring point with monthly data
acquisition. All the groundwater table-monitoring points are also monthly tested with
regard to the basic ionic, hydrochemical components of groundwater.


Groundwater fluxes such as recharge and groundwater evapotranspiration vary not only
temporally but also spatially. The spatial distribution of groundwater recharge was first
evaluated in the study area by groundwater modeling (Lubczynski 2000, WCS 2000).
Later two series of chloride data for recharge assessment were collected from the wells,
all over the study area, first by Obakeng (2000) and next by Magombedze (2002) and
assessed spatially by interpolation and also by extrapolation applying integrated GIS
modeling. The summary of those approaches is presented by Magombedze et al. (2004)
in the same conference issue.
An assessment of groundwater evapotranspiration (Eg) is a very difficult issue. A first
attempt to determine Eg spatially in the study area was made by Lubczynski (2000). For
that purpose he applied groundwater modeling in which Eg was considered as state
variable with spatial distribution derived from RS solution of energy balance
(Timmermans & Meijerink 2000). Certainly this was not the ideal procedure since Eg
fluxes were small and likely comparable with the eventual error of the calibrated model.
The recent attempts in defining Eg, lead through the determination of its tree transpiration
(T) component applying sap flow measurements. The methodology of sap flow
measurements on Kalahari and plot level upscaling is discussed in Fregoso (2002), in
Mapanda (2003) and is finally summarized in Lubczynski et al. (2004) in the same
conference issue. The RS upscaling of sap flow measurements for the 10×10km
experimental area covered by multispectral IKONOS image (Figure 1), was attempted by
Fregoso (2002), by Mapanda (2003) and by Keeletsang (2004). A similar attempt for the
same study area but using multi-band TETRACAM digital camera built on the aircraft is
described in Hussin et al. (2004a) whereas the multi-band aerial-photography aircraft
mission itself is described in Hussin et al. (2004b), both in the same conference issue.
Due to the difficulties in classification of tree species, closely related to the large
biodiversity, on Kalahari the RS upscaling protocol is still being improved.
The transpiration mapping by RS upscaling of sap flow measurements unfortunately
does not provide the estimation of the demanded in groundwater management Eg but
provides T. Equalizing the two is only possible if two critical assumptions are fulfilled,
first, that considering large depth of groundwater table in the study area, the Cg is
negligible or definable and the second, that the Tg component of T, can be separated from
unsaturated zone root water uptake (Tu). The first assumption will be tested by setting up
1-D saturated-unsaturated models (see below) for each unsaturated moisture and suction
pressure monitoring profile available in the study area. The action with regard to the
Monitoring and modeling of fluxes on Kalahari 353

second assumption, based on the species-specific partitioning of transpiration, is currently

assessed in the study area by labelling of groundwater with Li+, H+2 and O+18 tracers
following the methodology proposed by Haase et al. (1996).



Groundwater fluxes such as recharge and groundwater evapotranspiration are highly

spatially and temporally variable on Kalahari. If the depth-wise, spatio-temporal data is
available, then such data can be assessed with regard to temporal and depth dependent
flux regime by using either complex coupled flow models such as MIKE-SHE (DHI
1993) applicable rather to areas in scale of hectares or as proposed in this study by using
semi-coupled modeling procedures combining information from different models.
The 1-D numerical models such as EARTH lump parameter model (Van der Lee &
Gehrels) or more complex HYDRUS (Simunek et al. 1998) based on the Richard’s
equation are efficient because they are relatively simple. The disadvantage of all 1-D
models however is that they do not account for lateral fluxes which implies the additional
non-uniqueness of such models. For example groundwater table rise can be originated
either from direct rainfall recharge or from lateral inflow recharged elsewhere and also
groundwater table decline can be either resulted by groundwater evapotranspiration or by
lateral groundwater outflow. Such non-uniqueness in assessment of groundwater fluxes
affects less distributed parameter watershed models such as e.g. SWAT (Arnold et al.
1993), that generate as output a groundwater recharge further applicable as spatio-
temporally variable net recharge in groundwater model such as e.g. MODFLOW
(McDonald & Harbaugh 1996). Sophocleous & Perkins (2000) have successfully linked
SWAT with MODFLOW. If spatio-temporal knowledge of the R and Eg is of concern,
the recharge and groundwater evapotranspiration have to be reassigned and calibrated in
groundwater model. This can be done following guidelines of 1-D saturated-unsaturated
models. The ideal situation in that respect is when 1-D monitoring profiles or at least
groundwater table monitoring points are available for each zone of spatial flux variability
of R and Eg. The 1-D models allow for better understanding of groundwater regime and
for reasonable simulation of temporal flux variability. Once calibrated, the 1-D flux
variability can further be implemented and adjusted in MODFLOW. In such modeling
procedure the most efficient way of flux adjustment is by using the automated calibration
techniques such as PEST (optimization technique). This technique provides the option of
parameter and flux optimization within the predefined variability ranges and with
automated assessment of uncertainty.
In the Serowe study area there is already a numerical groundwater MODFLOW model
available with spatially variable but time invariant R and Eg fluxes. This model was
calibrated in transient mode with regard to the regionally expanding and measured in
boreholes drawdowns, developed in response to the increased in last years’ well
abstraction. The extensive monitoring network installed within Kalahari Monitoring
project, generate large amount of high temporal resolution data, and therefore provides
the opportunity to upgrade the Serowe model calibration to the stage characterized by
spatio-temporally variable fluxes. Such models are more reliable with regard to the
Water resources of arid areas 354

applied parameters and as explained by Lubczynski and Gurwin (2004) for Sardon
granite catchment in Spain, they can provide not only the prediction scenarios but also
accurate information on where, when and at which rates fluxes such as recharge and
groundwater evapotranspiration occurred in the analyzed area. The availability of
historical record of rainfall in Serowe village starting in 1922, allows to run backward
model scenario, which will finally allow to provide the demanded in Botswana long-term
temporal characteristic of recharge on Kalahari.


The acquisition of temporal data with ADAS provides unique opportunity for direct
temporal measurement of various flux processes such as rainfall and transpiration. Other
processes such as recharge and evapotranspiration cannot be measured directly but have
to be modeled. ADAS provides full data acquisition support for such models.
The integration of temporal data from ADAS with the spatial data extrapolated with
GIS and RS techniques in numerical models provides the opportunity of model
calibration with spatio-temporally variable fluxes.
In semi-arid and arid climates only models calibrated with spatio-temporally variable
fluxes can provide a reliable system parameterization, reliable spatio-temporal flux
regimes and reliable flux rates. This means, that such models provide the optimal tool for
groundwater management.


We acknowledge Geological Survey of Botswana for financial support and extensive

help in sap flow field campaigns. In particular we would like to thank Mr Phofutsile for
his support to the project and Mr Ramatsoko and his field crew for the extensive
professional and logistical help in the field.


Arnold, J.G., Williams, J.R., Srinivasan, R., King, K.W. & Griggs, R.H. 1994. SWAT (Soil and
Water Assessment Tool) user’s manual. USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Grassland, Soil
and Water Research Laboratory, Temple, TX.
DHI—Danish Hydraulic Institute. 1993. MIKE SHE water movement-user’s guide and technical
manual, ed.1.0 DHI, Denmark, pp. 81.
De Vries, J.J., Selaolo, E.T. & Beekman, H.E. 2000. Groundwater recharge in the Kalahari, with
reference to paleo-hydrologic conditions. Journal of Hydrology 238, 110–123.
Doherty, J. 2000. PEST—Model-Independent parameter estimation. User’s manual. Watermark
Computing, Australia.
Fregoso, A. 2002. Dry-season transpiration of savanna vegetation. Assessment of tree
transpiration and its spatial distribution in Serowe, Botswana. MSc thesis, Library of ITC—
International Institute for Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation, Enschede, The
Monitoring and modeling of fluxes on Kalahari 355

Fregoso, A., Chavarro, A. & Lubczynski, M.W. 2004. Sap flow measurements of tree transpiration
on Kalahari, Serowe study case, Botswana. Proc. WRASRA conf. Gaborone 3–7 August, 2004,
Rotterdam, Balkema.
Granier, A. 1987. Evaluation of transpiration in Douglas-fir stand by means of sap flow
measurements. Tree Physiology 3:309–320.
Haase P., Pugnaire, F.I., Fernandez, E.M., Puigdefabregas, J., Clark, S.C. & Incoll, L.D. 1996. An
investigation of rooting depth of the semiarid shrub Retama sphaerocarpa (L.) Boiss. By
labeling of groundwater with a chemical tracer. Journal of Hydrology 177:23–31.
Hussin, Y.A., Chavarro, D. Lubczynski, M.W. & Obakeng O. 2004a. Mapping vegetation for up-
scaling evapo-transpiration using high-resolution optical satellite and aircraft images in Serowe,
Botswana. Proc. WRASRA conf. Gaborone 3–7 August 2004, Rotterdam, Balkema.
Hussin, Y.A., Lubczynski, M.W. & Obakeng, O. 2004b. Designing and implementing an aircraft
survey mission using high-resolution digital multi-spectral camera for vegetation mapping for
up-scaling evapotranspiration of Serowe, Botswana. Proc. WRASRA conf. Gaborone 3–7 August
2004, Rotterdam, Balkema.
Keeletsang, M. 2004. Assessment of dry season transpiration using IKONOS images, Serowe case
study, Botswana. MSc thesis, Library of ITC—International Institute for Geoinformation
Science and Earth Observation, Enschede, The Netherlands.
Le Maitre, D.C., Scott, D.F. & Colvin, C. 2000. Information on interactions between groundwater
and vegetation relevant to South African conditions: A review. In: Past Achievements and
Future Challenges. Balkema, ISBN 9058091597, Rotterdam, 959–961.
Lubczynski, M.W., 2000. Ground water evapotranspiration—underestimated component of
groundwater balance in a semi-arid environment—Serowe case Botswana. In: Past
Achievements and Future Challenges. Balkema, ISBN 9058091597, Rotterdam, 199–204.
Lubczynski, M.W. & Gurwin, J. 2004. Integration of various data sources for transient groundwater
modeling—Sardon study case, Spain. Journal of Hydrology—in revision.
Lubczynski, M.W., Fregoso, A., Mapanda, W., Ziwa, C, Keeletsang, M., Chavarro, D.C. &
Obakeng O. 2004. Dry season Kalahari sap flow measurements for tree transpiration mapping—
Serowe study case, Botswana. Proc. WRASRA conf, Gaborone, 3–7 August 2004, Rotterdam,
Magombedze, L.M. 2002. Spatial and temporal variability of groundwater fluxes in a semi-arid
environment—Serowe, Botswana. MSc thesis, Library of ITC—International Institute for
Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation, Enschede, The Netherlands.
Magombedze, L.M., Frengstad, B. & Lubczynski, M.W. 2004. Spatial variation of groundwater
recharge in a semi-arid environment—Serowe, Botswana. Proc. WRASRA conf, Gaborone 3–7
August 2004, Rotterdam, Rotterdam.
Mapanda, W. 2003. Scaling-up tree transpiration of eastern Kalahari sandveldof Botswana using
remote sensing and geographical information system.
McDonald, M.D. & Harbaugh A.W. 1996. A modular three-dimensional finite difference
groundwater flow model. Washington, D.C., U.S. Geological Survey.
Obakeng, O.T., 2000. Groundwater recharge and vulnerability: A case study at the margins of the
south-east Central Kalahari Sub-basin, Serowe region, Botswana. MSc thesis, Library of ITC—
International Institute for Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation, Enschede, The
Obakeng, O.T. & Lubczynski, M.W. 2004. Monitoring of evapotranspiration on Kalahari, Serowe
case study, Botswana. Proc. WRASRA conf. Gaborone 3–7 August 2004, Rotterdam, Balkema.
SGAB, 1988. Serowe groundwater resources evaluation. Swedish Geological Co report for
Department Geological Survey, Botswana.
Simunek, J., Sejna M. & van Genuchten M.T. 1998. The HYDRUS-1D software package for
simulating the one-dimensional movement of water, heat and multiple solutes in variably
saturated media, version 2.0, IGWMC—TPS—70, 2002pp., Colorado School of Mines, Golden
Water resources of arid areas 356

Sophocleous, M. & Perkins, S.P. 2000. Methodology and application of combined watershed and
groundwater models in Kansas. Journal of Hydrology 236:185–201.
Timmermans, W. & Meijerink, A., 2000. Remotely sensed actual evapotranspiration; implications
for groundwater management in Botswana. In: JAG: International Journal of Applied Earth
Observation and Geoinformation, 1(1999)3/4, 222–233.
Van der Lee, J. & Gehrels, J., 1990. Modelling aquifer recharge—Introduction to the Lumped
Parameter Model EARTH. Free University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
WCS—Wellfield Consulting Services, 2000. Serowe wellfield extension project. DWA,
Department of Water Affairs, Report No. TB10/3/10/95–96.
Geoelectrical investigation for aquifer
delineation in the semi-arid Chad Basin,
A.Iliya1 & E.M.Shemang2
Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASA) Damaturu,
Department of Geology, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: Aquifer characterization of the SW, Chad Basin on the

basis of geo-electrical investigation was carried out. Forty two vertical
electrical sounding (VES) were carried out using the Schlumberger array
technique. The results of the VES interpretation revealed that three
distinct geoelectric layers (surface unit; shallow conductive unit; and deep
resistant unit) can be identified. The surface unit whose resistivity range
between 7Ωm to 64Ωm is 10–25m thick and appear to be discontinuous.
The shallow conductive unit whose thickness is of the order of 16–22m
has resistivity range of 317Ωm to 499Ωm and is thought to correlate with
the Paleocene Kerri-Kerri Formation. The deep resistant unit whose
thickness range between 98m–322m shows resistivity range of 899Ωm to
1927Ωm and appear to be present throughout the study area. The last two
units are thought to water bearing. Based on the interpreted results,
aquifer Transverse resistance (T) and Longitudinal conductance (S) were
also computed and on these bases the study area was subdivided into three


The rapid increase in urbanization as well as industrial and agricultural expansion has
focused attention upon the diminishing volume of available groundwater in most major
urban centres within the sahelian zones of West Africa. The study area, which falls within
the Yobe portion of the Chad Basin (Fig. 1) comprises major towns as Damaturu,
Potiskum, Nguru, Gashua, and Geidam, etc. whose combined population is about two
million. As a young state, rapid expansion in industrialization, socioeconomic growth,
etc. is expected and hence the need to address the problem of groundwater resources
evaluation and management. This groundwater development stage, however, can be
viewed as a sequential process consisting of exploration, evaluation and exploitation. The
Water resources of arid areas 358

exploration stage in which surface and subsurface geological and geophysical techniques
are utilized to search for suitable aquifers involve the use of electrical resistivity (VES)
survey and borehole data. The evaluation stage, however, comprises the measurement of
hydrogeological parameters, calculation of aquifer yields (Transmissivity, Storativity,) as
well as hydrogeochemical analysis of water samples collected from boreholes in the
study area.
The exploitation or management stage includes the consideration of optimal
development strategies and assessment of the interactions between groundwater
exploitation and regional hydrological system.
The present study is therefore, aimed at delineating the aquifer system (s) through the
use of surface electrical resistivity techniques thereby pin pointing possible productive
zones, correlate aquifer hydraulic properties with those obtained from VES and hydro
geochemical data. It is also aimed at forecasting the future water requirements/utilization
of the study area. To achieve these objectives therefore, forty two (42) vertical electrical
soundings (VES) using the Schlumberger configuration with a maximum total current
electrode separation of 1000m was carried out in the study area. Some of these have
already been confirmed through drilling of boreholes.

Figure 1. Map of Nigeria showing the

location of the study area.
Geoelectrical investigation for aquifer delineation in the semi-arid Chad Basin, Nigeria 359


The study area located between Longitude 11°N and 13°N and Latitude 11°E and 13°E
(Fig.1) is composed of the Chad Formation outcrops. In general, it consists of successions
of sands, clays, sandy clays and silts with interbedded lenses and layers of sands and
gravels of various levels.
The deposits are generally of lacustrine origin or were formed during periods when
rivers had very low discharges because of climatic and geomorphological conditions. The
beds dip gently towards the centre of the basin not only because of their original attitude
but also mild regional tectonic movements which have affected the basin in recent times.
The Chad Formation may reach a thickness of 600–700m in the central part of the basin
(Offodile, 1992) but thins out rapidly towards the edges. Such a very abrupt reduction in
thickness of sediments near the margins of the Plio-quarternary lake basin could well be
the result of step faulting in the basement rocks of the char depression. This is illustrated
in the lithological data from boreholes (Fig. 2). The products of such activity are
sometimes found at the base of the Chad Formation, as in the case of granitic rocks
encountered in boreholes in Goniri and environs.
These may well be associated with the faults bounding the Chad basin and may to
some extent be contemporaneous with the deposition of the Chad Formation. Data
collected so far indicate that the lithostratigraphic sequence in the study area consists of
sandy clay alteration of the Chad Formation that very probably lies directly on the
Basement Complex rocks.


The Chad Basin is described as the largest area of inland drainage in Africa and occupies
parts of Nigeria, Central African Republic and Cameroon. The Nigerian sector of the
basin slopes gently towards the Lake Chad which is the main geographical feature.
Water resources of arid areas 360

Figure 2. Typical lithologic profile of

study area.
As far as groundwater is concerned, the most important formations in the basin are the
Chad and Kerri-Kerri formations which are characteristically Pleistocene (Pliocene) and
Geoelectrical investigation for aquifer delineation in the semi-arid Chad Basin, Nigeria 361

Paleocene respectively. Surface water in streams appears seasonally usually from August
to November. For the rest of the year, the streams are dry and the only source of water is
groundwater. This is contained in the three aquifer systems designated as Upper, Middle
and Lower Aquifers (Kogbe et al., 1992) especially in Maiduguri.
While the Lower is considerably deep (over 500m) are tapped by few boreholes, the
Middle and Upper aquifers are on average depth of some 250m and 40m respectively are
obviously over exploited and on many cases have dried-up. This had already focused
attention on the possibility of a perchy aquifer for the Upper aquifer in the Chad basin
(Kogbe et al., 1992). It is worth while mentioning, however, that the above multi-aquifer
systems do not extend throughout the Chad Basin. In Damaturu area, which lies on the
edge of the Chad Formation lake basin, the hydrogeological situation may be summarized
as follows:
a) Total thickness of the Chad Formation is about 130–170m
b) Marked discontinuity of water-bearing levels.
c) Vertical and lateral changes in their hydraulic properties of water-bearing levels.
d) Presence of perchy aquifers where impervious layer levels occur in the upper part of
the formation.

Figure 3. Typical Interpretation of

vertical electrical sounding curve
Azbak VES1.
e) Presence of two artesian aquifers, consisting of fine to medium grained sands, at a
Depth varying from 30 to 70m and from 90 to 120m.
f) The static water levels (SWL) of the aquifers range between 30 to 60m.
g) Discharge of most boreholes range between 4–15 liters/sec.
Water resources of arid areas 362


Forty two (42) vertical electrical soundings (VES) using the Schlumberger array
configuration with a minimum and maximum current electrode separation of 320 and
1000m respectively. The equipment used was the ABEM SAS 300B Terrameter.
Sounding was carried out with aim of selecting sites for water supplies to villages and
points were therefore located in and around villages. The VES data was first interpreted
using the conventional curve matching techniques and later using the IPI2WIN software.
Figure 3 shows an interpretation of VES 1 sounding carried out in the area of study.


The result of preliminary assessment of groundwater resources of SW Chad Basin on the

basis of surface geophysical and hydrogeological investigation suggests that the surface
unit whose resistivity range between 7Ωm to 64Ωm is 10–25m thick and appear to be
discontinuous. The shallow conductive unit whose thickness is of the order of 16–22m
has resistivity range of 317Ωm to 499Ωm and is thought to correlate with the Paleocene
Kerri-Kerri Formation. The deep resistant whose thickness range between 98–322m
shows resistivity range of 899Ωm to 1927Ωm and appear to be present throughout the
study area.
The last two units are thought to water bearing. Based on the interpreted results,
Transverse resistance (T) and Longitudinal conductance (S) were also computed. The
results of these led to the subdivision of the area into three zones.

Figure 4. Isoresistivity map of the third

layer in the area of study.
Geoelectrical investigation for aquifer delineation in the semi-arid Chad Basin, Nigeria 363

An Isoresistivity map of the third layer was constructed and the results show that the area
can be separated two zones, the Western and Eastern zones. The boundary between these
two zones probably suggest the contact between two lithological units in the area (the
Kerri-Kerri formation and the Chad formation)


Bunu, Z.M. and Iliya, A.G. (1992) Understanding the Rainfall Pattern of a Semi-Arid Region: A
case study of Maiduguri. Paper presented at the Fifth National Conference of the Nigerian
Association of Hydrogeologists, Shiroro Hotel, Minna, Nigeria.
Carter, J.D. Barber, W. and Tait, E.A. (1963) Geology of Adamawa, Bauchi and Bornu Provinces
in Northeastern Niogeria. Bull. Geol Surv Nigeria 30, 1–108.
Cratchley, C.R. (1960) Geophysical Survey of the Southwest Part of the Chad Basin, C.C.T.A.
Publication No. 13.
Kogbe, C.A. Schoeneich, K. and Ebah, E.I. (1992) Hydrogeological Framework of Maiduguri
Metropolis in the Chad Basin, NE, Nigeria. Paper presented at the fifth Conference of the
Nigerian Association of Hydrogeologists, Shiroro Hotel, Minna, Nigeria.
Matheis, G. (1965) Short Review of the Geology of the Chad Basin in Nigeria. Journal of Mining
and Geology, 289–294.
Offodile, M.E. (1992) An Approach to Groundwater Study and Development in Nigeria, Mecon
Services Ltd. 300pp.
Monitoring of evapotranspiration on Kalahari,
Serowe case study, Botswana
O.Obakeng1,2 & M.W.Lubczynski2
Geological Survey of Botswana
The International Institute for Geoinformation Science and Earth
Observation (ITC), Enschede, Netherlands
Water Resources of Arid Areas—Stephenson,
Shemang & Chaoka (eds),
© 2004 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN
04 1535 913 9

ABSTRACT: The estimation of evapotranspiration under natural

conditions at different spatial and temporal scales is crucial for water
management. Knowledge of evapotranspiration is also needed in water
transport models. In this study, a discussion of the driving variables is first
given followed by estimation of actual evapotranspiration rates using the
energy balance equation in which the sensible heat flux density is derived
from temperature profiles. These estimations are performed over two
typical, but different Botswana environments; Kalahari (sandveld) and
hardveld areas at two high tower locations equipped with
micrometeorological sensors. The actual evapotranspiration rates for the
Kalahari sandveld are 0.01–2.09mm/day, and for the hardveld area 0.01–
3.74mm/day. Finally, an attempt is made to correlate the wind speed data
of permanent stations with the wind speed obtained from the 10m high
mobile tower that is moved between the locations of other towers not
equipped with anemometers, primarily for calculation of potential
evapotranspiration at these sites. The potential evapotranspiration
calculated as a result of that experiment was largely variable and ranged
from 0.01–8.11mm/day.


As 70% of the precipitation depth may evaporate annually in semi-arid climates, careful
consideration should be given to the determination of actual evapotranspiration, as well
as potential evapotranspiration. Estimates of potential evapotranspiration in semi arid
climates are an order of magnitude greater than the rainfall depth. In the Serowe study
area the annual potential evapotranspiration amounts to 1350–1450mm (Choudhury,
1997) and the mean annual rainfall is 447mm. Consequently, the actual
Monitoring of evapotranspiration on Kalahari, Serowe case study, Botswana 365

evapotranspiration rates are much smaller than the potential rates because of the limited
amount of water stored in the topsoil.
Evapotranspiration (ET) plays an important role in a groundwater balance in semi arid
climates, as demonstrated by Lubczynski (2000). In a general sense the groundwater
balance equation can be written in the following form

where Qin=groundwater inflow, R=groundwater recharge, Qout=groundwater outflow,

Eg=groundwater evapotranspiration and A=well abstraction (the injection well would
have opposite sign and then would be considered as input) as output. The ±∆S=change of
groundwater storage.
Evapotranspiration has either direct or indirect impact upon groundwater resources.
The direct impact relates to groundwater evapotranspiration attributed mainly to direct
water extraction by deep root systems of savanna vegetation. The indirect impact relates
to the loss of water in the unsaturated zone, which reduces groundwater recharge due to
reduction of the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity in the upper soil layers.
Within the framework of an on-going research project titled Kalahari Research
Programme, a network of monitoring stations were established primarily to monitor
components of the groundwater water balance, which include evapotranspiration. This
paper discusses preliminary evapotranspiration rates found for the Kalahari (mainly) and
hardveld areas of the Serowe study area.


The Serowe area has in general, a gentle topography, which varies from ≈1020m.a.s.l. to
≈1240m.a.s.l (Fig. 1).
A major geomorphic feature within Serowe area is the escarpment, which forms part
of a geologically recent axis of uplift known as the Zimbabwe-Kalahari axis (Smith,
1984). It represents the eastern limit of the Kalahari sandveld. All rivers are ephemeral,
and flow occurs only during exceptionally high rainfall events of the annual wet season.
Otherwise, they are dry for most of the year, with groundwater levels often situated at
shallow depths (4–6m) beneath riverbeds. The surface topography is lower in the E and
SE of the region, higher in the western Kalahari plateau and the highest on the NW side
of the escarpment edge, which is a prominent topographic feature in this area. SE from
the escarpment, the average slope is 5%, and it gradually decreases to less than 1%
towards the E and SE. Rock outcrops are found mainly at the escarpment and along river
valleys below the escarpment. Elsewhere Kalahari sands and superficial deposits overlie
rocks. The soil types found in the study area are arenosols, regosols, lixisols, luvisols and
vertisols. Arenosols are by far the most common soil unit covering most of the Serowe
area to the west, north, south and the extreme east.
The climate of Serowe study area, like in other parts of Botswana, is characterized as
semi-arid, with a mean annual rainfall of 447mm (SGS, 1988). Rainfall is seasonal, with
the highest intensity in summer followed by a dry winter period. The summer stretches
Water resources of arid areas 366

from October to April whereas the winter begins in May and ends in August (Bhalotra,
The main type of vegetation in the study area is thought to belong to the Northern
Kalahari Tree and Bush Savanna (Vossen, 1989; Nash, 1992), despite the existence of
significant spatial

Figure 1. Topographic map of Serowe

area and aerial distribution of
automatic data acquisition stations
variations in species and community members. Within the Serowe study area, Ecosurv
Botswana (1998) and Hernandez (2002) identified 4–10 vegetation communities. The
western part of the study area (sandveld) is quite homogeneous with regard to species
composition. Species such as Terminalia sericea, Ochna pulchra and Boscia albitrunca
are strongly represented there. In the eastern part of the study area (hardveld) vegetation
is generally taller particularly along and in the vicinity of river courses and depressions.
Species such as Acacia karoo, Acacia tortilis and Acacia mellifera are strongly
represented in the hardveld. At the escarpment edge the vegetation is taller, denser and
more diverse than in the rest of the study area. Species like Combretum apiculatum,
Croton gratissimus and Ricinodrendrum rutananii are strongly represented there.
Terminalia sericea, Dicrostachys cinerea, Grewia retinervis and Combretum apiculatum
are found everywhere across the study area.


The evapotranspiration-monitoring network consists of ten automated data acquisition

station (ADAS) towers of various sensor configurations and mast heights. This network
consists of:
Monitoring of evapotranspiration on Kalahari, Serowe case study, Botswana 367

GS00—the most versatile, 18m high, galaxy ADAS tower, installed on the hardveld in
September 2001 (Fig. 1). It is equipped with one net radiometer CNR1 installed at the top
of the tower construction, 3 anemometers and 3 relative humidity & temperature (RH/T)
sensors all installed at 2m, 13m, and 18m heights. In addition there are also: soil heat flux
plates buried at a depth of 2cm, two soil temperature sensors buried at depths of 2cm and
15cm, a tipping bucket rain gauge raised to a height of 1.2m above the ground and 6 sap
flow sensors of Granier type measuring velocity of water transport in tree stems. The data
acquisition and the data storage with 0.5h resolution is managed by the Delta-T logger.
GS01 to GS07—there are seven of the same, 2m high ADAS towers in the study area
(Fig. 1). Each of these towers is equipped with one RH/T sensors attached to a mast at a
height of 2m above the ground surface, a tipping bucket rain gauge raised to a height of
1.2m above the ground, 6 sap flow sensors, one soil moisture and one soil suction
pressure profile with sensors at 0.25m, 2m, 4m, 6m, 8m. The Skye DataHog2 logger logs
the data at half hour intervals in all seven towers.
GS08—this tower was installed as a backup of the tower GS00 in case of its failure
(Fig. 1). It consists of anemometer, RH/T sensors and radiometer CM3 for measuring
incoming short-wave radiation all mounted at the height of 2m above the ground surface.
Other instruments include two soil temperature sensors buried at depths of 2cm and 15cm
below the ground surface and a tipping bucket rain gauge raised to a height of 1.2m
above the ground and 6 sap flow sensors. The Skye DataHog2 logger logs the data at half
an hour interval.
GS09—this is a mobile, retractable 10m high tower, equipped with two anemometers,
two RH/T sensors, installed at 2m and 10m heights, a pair of soil temperature sensors
buried at depths of 2cm and 15cm in the soil and 6 sap flow sensors. During field
campaigns GS09 is moved between stations GS01-GS08 every ten-days, otherwise it is
fixed at its semi-permanent location (Fig. 1). The Skye DataHog2 logger logs the data at
half an hour interval.


Many methods exist for estimating actual evapotranspiration (e.g. Bastiaanssen, 1995)
and potential evapotranspiration (e.g. Hargreaves and Samani, 1985) using
micrometeorological measurements. In this study actual evapotranspiration (AET) was
computed from the energy balance equation in which soil heat flux (G) and the net
radiation (Rn) were considered as known (measured) and the sensible heat flux (H) was
calculated using the temperature profile method (Holtslag and Ulden, 1983). The
potential evapotranspiration was calculated with the FAO Penman-Monteith formula
(Allen et al., 1998).

4.1 Calculation of H by temperature profile (T-profile) method

H is related to friction velocity (u*) and the temperature scale (θ*) by
Water resources of arid areas 368

where Cp (kJ kg−1 °C−1) is the specific heat capacity of air taken as 1013 kJ kg−1 °C−1, ρ
(kg m−3) is air density.
The effect of the modification of forced convection by temperature gradients on
momentum and heat (and water vapor) transfer can be corrected by dimensionless
parameters. One of the widely used stability parameter is known as the Monin-Obukhov
correction factor. The Monin-Obukhov length L (m) is given by


where k is von Karman’s constant (0.41), g (ms−2) is acceleration due to gravity and T
(°C) is mean air temperature. When L is greater than 0 stable atmospheric conditions
exist and when L is less than 0 unstable atmospheric conditions prevail otherwise the
conditions are neutral.
A simplified method for determination of momentum flux and sensible heat flux (H)
which requires wind speed (uz) (ms−1) at level z(m), a surface roughness length (z0) and a
temperature difference ∆θ (K) between two heights z1(m) and z2(m) in the atmospheric
surface layer as input is provided by Holtslag and Ulden (1983). In this method the
integrated flux-profile relations of Dyer and Hicks, 1970 are used to calculate u* and θ*
from the aforementioned parameters according to



The integrated stability correction function for heat transfer (ψh) and momentum transfer
(ψm) for unstable conditions (L<0) can be estimated from Equations 6 and 7 respectively



where x is given by


For stable atmospheric conditions (L>0) ψm and ψh are given by

Monitoring of evapotranspiration on Kalahari, Serowe case study, Botswana 369


The sensible heat flux (H) can be calculated from Equations (2)–(9), starting with a first
guess for L (Monin-Obukhov stability parameter). With L=−5, then u* and θ* are
calculated from Equations (4)–(5). Using Equation 3, L is calculated by using the
estimated values of u* and θ*. The new value of L is substituted into Equations (4)–(5),
primarily to get improved values for u* and θ*. This usually takes about 5 iterations, until
the value of L do not change significantly (<5%). Then H is calculated with Equation 2.
This scheme is referred hereafter as temperature profile method (T-profile). The surface
roughness length (z0) was estimated from vegetation height, leaf area index and other data
according to Raupach (1994).
This method however, will not work when no temperature differences are observed
between two measurement heights, a situation that was occasionally encountered in the
present research work. Once H is known then the actual evapotranspiration can be
calculated from the energy balance equation by applying as input, also soil heat flux and
the net radiation, both directly measured in the study area.

4.2 Penman-Monteith evapotranspiration model

One of the most frequently used evapotranspiration model is the Penman-Monteith
model. It combines the energy balance with mass transfer method. According to this
model actual evapotranspiration is calculated as


where λE (MJ m−2day−1) is latent heat flux (evapotranspiration), Rn (MJ m−2 day−1) is net
radiation, G (MJ m−2 day−1) is soil heat flux, γ (kPa °C−1) is the psychrometric constant,
Cp (kJ kg−1 °C−1) is the specific heat capacity of air taken as 1013 kJ kg−1 °C−1, ∆(kPa
°C−1) is the rate of change of the saturation vapor pressure with temperature, es (kPa) is
the saturation vapor pressure, ρa is mean air density at constant pressure, ea (kPa) is the
actual vapour pressure, rs (s m−1) and ra (s m−1) are surface and aerodynamic resistances
Not only actual evapotranspiration but also FAO potential evapotranspiration (Allen et
al., 1998) derived from the Penman-Monteith formula (Equation 10) is used as a standard
in hydrology. PET represents water demand (stress) of the hydrological system being also
the upper limit of evapotranspiration (E). The FAO formula is expressed
Water resources of arid areas 370


where PET (mm/day) is potential evapotranspiration, u2 (m s−1) and Ta (°C) are wind
speed and mean daily air temperature at 2m respectively and other notations are as
described earlier. Basic assumptions in the formulation of Equation 11 is that the surface
resistance (rs)=70 (s m−1) and aerodynamic resistance (ra)=208/u2 (s m−1).
The PET Penman-Monteith formula (unlike other potential evapotranspiration
methods takes into account most parameters that affect evapotranspiration. Most of the
parameters necessary to calculate PET in the study area according to Equation 11 were
either available or could be defined by regression analysis. This allowed assessment of
PET at GS01–GS08 ADAS locations. Similar assessment of E as per Equation 10 is by
far more difficult because of ra and rs parameters.
ra determines the transfer of heat, momentum and water vapour from an evaporating
surface into the air above the vegetation canopy and is inversely proportional to wind
speed and changes with height covering the ground (Maidment, 1993). The ra is
expressed as


where ra (s m−1) is aerodynamic resistance, d (m) is the zero plane displacement height, uz
(m s−1) is wind speed at a measurement height z (m), zoh (m) is the surface roughness
length for heat transfer and water vapor, which is approximated as 10% of zom, where zom
(m) is defined as the roughness length for momentum transfer. d and zom can be estimated
from other parameters following Raupach (1994).
Several attempts are made in the literature to evaluate rs by means of empirical rules
(e.g. O’Toole and Real, 1986). One such an attempt is the so-called Jarvis type models
(Jarvis, 1976: Stewart, 1988: De Rooy & Holtslag, 1999), in which stomatal (canopy)
resistance is expressed as a minimum rs multiplied by a series of independent stress
functions combined in a multiplicative way, through which each function is representing
the influence of each factor. The main weakness of Jarvis type models is the assumption
that environmental factors operate independently (Monteith, 1995). Another way in
which rs can be estimated is through the inversion of the Penman-Monteith equation
(Equation 13), in which the actual evapotranspiration is considered as known input
parameter (Gash & Stewart, 1975), obtained by other methods (e.g. the temperature
profile and Bowen ratio approaches).


where the notations are as described earlier.

Monitoring of evapotranspiration on Kalahari, Serowe case study, Botswana 371

The surface resistance can also be estimated by substitution of stand transpiration (Ts)
derived from sap flow measurements in place of λE in the inverted Penman-Monteith
equation (Equation 13). This procedure is however practically valid only for dry season
estimates of Ts when the assumption is E=Ts can be made.


As mentioned, in the study area there are a number of ADAS towers monitoring various
hydrological variables. The most important with regard to evapotranspiration are:
radiation, temperature, relative humidity and wind speed.

5.1 Radiation components

All net radiation components such as short-wave incoming and outgoing radiations, long-
wave incoming and outgoing radiations are monitored only in GS00. Additionally, short-
wave incoming radiation is monitored in GS08.
Figure 2 illustrates a typical example of the diurnal course of the radiation components
measured at GS00 site for the clear-sky day of 01/04/02. The presented net radiation was
post-processed from the other radiation components. It can be observed that at noon, both
the incoming short-wave and net radiation reached their maximum whilst the outgoing
long-wave radiation and the outgoing short-wave radiation reached their lowest values at
about the same time. The incoming long-wave radiation was more or less stable
throughout the day.

Figure 2. Diurnal courses of radiation

components at GS00 monitoring site.
Water resources of arid areas 372

5.2 Relative humidity and temperature

Relative humidity and air temperature are measured in all the ADAS towers in the study
area (Fig. 1). In order to demonstrate typical diurnal courses of air temperature and
relative humidity during the end of summer and wintertime two daily records of 01/02/02
and 19/06/02 at 2m height at GS00 site were selected and presented respectively as
Figures 3 and 4. In both daily records the relative humidity has a parabolic shape
characterized by large values in the nights and decline starting ≈07:00 and a minimum at
≈15:00 and rises to a maximum at 24:00, whilst the air temperature depicts an opposite
trend, being also characterized by rise (at ≈07:00) to a maximum (also at ≈15:00),
followed by a decrease again to a minimum at 2400 hours. The main differences between
the two days refer to longer time with the low relative humidity in the day and lower
temperatures in June than in April.

5.3 Wind speed

The wind speed monitoring is available in the study area only in GS00 at 2, 13 and 18m
height and in GS08 at 2m height. In order to provide wind speed characteristics in the
other monitoring sites such as GS01–07, not equipped with wind speed meters, at each of
this site periodic measurements with the mobile 10m tower (originally located at GS09)
equipped with 2 wind speed meters, one at 2m and the second at 10m height were made.
These measurements were carried out between

Figure 3. Diurnal course of the relative

humidity and air temperature on the
Monitoring of evapotranspiration on Kalahari, Serowe case study, Botswana 373

01/04/02 at a height of 2m at GS00


Figure 4. Diurnal course of relative

humidity and air temperature on the
19/06/02 at a height of 2m at GS00

Figure 5. A bar diagram depicting

correlation coefficients between
permanent measurements at GS00 and
Water resources of arid areas 374

GS08 sites and mobile mast

measurements at GS01–GS07
September 2002 and September 2003 in four series with 10 days intervals, so each
location was assessed 4 times, every time in different hydrological conditions. The main
purpose of that experiment was to correlate the wind speed at the sites permanently
monitored with wind speed recorded at the mobile tower moved between the locations
GS01–07 for PET, rs and ra assessment.
Figure 5 depicts the variation of correlation of wind speed at monitoring sites that are
not permanently equipped with anemometers (sites GS01–07) with those, which are
continuously logging wind speed (GS00 and GS08). The following observations are
summarized from Figure 5.
Comparatively better correlations were obtained for wind speed measurements at one
specific site for 2m and 10m sensor heights than between different locations. In this
regard, GS02 site has the highest correlation coefficient (0.97) and GS01 lowest
correlation coefficient of 0.86.
The correlations of the wind speed at the mobile tower locations (GS01–07) with wind
speed at GS08 were substantially better than with wind speed at GS00. This perhaps was
a result of the shielding effect of the adjacency of GS00 to the escarpment, which did not
influence GS08, which is located like other mobile tower locations uphill of the
escarpment on the sandveld plateau.
The half-hourly wind speed regression models presented in Table 1, were established
between the permanent record at GS08 (2m height) and 2m height wind speed
measurements at the GS01–07mobile tower locations. These models were developed to
create the missing wind speed records at those monitoring sites not equipped with the
wind speed monitoring devices.
The half-hourly estimates were finally averaged to daily values for the use in PET
calculation according to equation 11.


The temporal variability of actual evapotranspiration at GS00 and GS09 is shown in

Figure 6. Apart from a few discontinuities occurring in Figure 6 because of data loss, the
majority of discontinuities in the time series analysis of actual evapotranspiration are
where the temperature difference between two measurement heights was zero. In such
situation the T-profile method runs into problem, which is a more prevalent case in dry
The actual evapotranspiration rates found by solving the energy balance equation
(using sensible heat flux density derived by T-profile method) for Kalahari sandveld area
represented by GS09 range from 0.01–0.63mm/day in the dry season and from 0.01–
2.09mm/day in the wet
Monitoring of evapotranspiration on Kalahari, Serowe case study, Botswana 375

Table 1. Results of regression between permanent

wind speed measurement at the height of 2m at
GS08 site and mobile wind speed measurements at
2m height at GS01–07 sites (on Kalahari).
Monitoring site n R2 Regression model
GS01 1222 0.72 Y=0.89x+0.39
GS02 865 0.82 Y=1.19x+0.17
GS03 736 0.76 Y=1.11x+0.46
GS04 1267 0.73 Y=0.93x+ 0.26
GS05 1258 0.60 Y=0.91x+0.68
GS06 843 0.76 Y=1.08x 0.45
GS07 847 0.79 Y=0.69x+1.30

Figure 6. Comparison of actual

evapotranspiration determined from
the energy balance equation (using
sensible heat flux density derived from
T-profile method as input) at GS00 and
GS09 sites.
season. The actual evapotranspiration rates for hardveld area represented by GS00 range
from 0.01–2.46mm/day in the dry season and 0.14–3.74mm/day in the wet season. The
temporal variations in daily actual evapotranspiration are evident in Figure 6. The
seasonal trends in actual evapotranspiration of both sites are characterized by higher
actual evapotranspiration rates in summer and lower winter periods. The higher
evapotranspiration rates in summers are mainly related to increased availability of water
for evapotranspiration, higher ambient temperatures and higher solar radiation. The
Water resources of arid areas 376

comparative analysis of evapotranspiration records in GS00 and GS09 shows also that in
most cases (with a few exceptions) the daily actual evapotranspiration rates were higher
at GS00 (hardveld area) than at GS09 (Kalahari sandveld area). This most likely must
have resulted from the larger groundwater evapotranspiration i.e. groundwater root
extraction and upward convection-diffusion of groundwater (lubczynski, 2000) at the
hardveld area where groundwater table was much shallower (often <10m) than in the
Kalahari sandveld area where groundwater was generally deep in order of 70m b. g. s.
Under thick sandveld unsaturated zone, covered by extensive savanna vegetation, the
chances of groundwater evapotranspiration, if present are lower and if so arise solely
from deep tree root extraction such as e.g. of Boscia albitrunca.
Table 2. Minimum and maximum potential
evapotranspiration rates for GS01-GS08 situated on
2002–03 dry season 2001–03 wet season
daily potential daily potential
evapotranspiration evapotranspiration
(mm/day) (mm/day)
Monitoring Minimum Maximum Minimum Maximum
tower rate rate rate rate
GS01 0.08 6.20 0.76 7.43
GS02 0.01 3.85 0.38 7.59
GS03 0.35 6.38 1.04 7.90
GS04 0.24 6.92 0.90 7.72
GS05 0.55 6.19 1.21 8.11
GS06 0.32 6.16 1.14 8.01
GS07 0.05 5.33 0.78 7.40
GS08 0.03 4.62 0.70 6.85
Monitoring of evapotranspiration on Kalahari, Serowe case study, Botswana 377

Figure 7. Temporal variability of

aerodynamic resistance at GS00 and
GS09 sites.
The potential evapotranspiration calculated with FAO Penman-Monteith model was
estimated for GS01–08 ADAS locations (Fig. 1) in the study area using a combination of
measured and regressed data input. The assessment indicated that PET is largely variable
in the study area.
Table 2 illustrates the spatial variability of PET. This variability is largely due to the
substantial variability in the input parameters used for PET calculation. As mentioned, in
the study area the relative humidity and air temperature are monitored in all ADAS
locations. The short-wave incoming radiation PET input is available only in GS00 and
GS08 location. Because it is spatially invariable and therefore does not seem to require
more data coverage. The most critical wind speed input (available only at GS00 and
GS08) for GS01–07 was obtained through the regression analysis using wind speed data
from ‘mobile tower’ campaign on Kalahar sandveld. The correlation coefficients of the
regression models turned out to be surprisingly high as for the usually weakly correlated
wind speed measurement. This was likely due to the homogeneous wind characteristics<