SA groundwater not properly managed - Expert

2013-11-20 11:31
(Unesco)

(Unesco)

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Cape Town - South Africa’s 10.3 billion cubic metre groundwater resources are not being properly managed, according to a water expert.

“Groundwater has not been managed at the local level. Operation and maintenance issues are depriving communities of accessible water and the economy of significant growth,” Water Research Commission research manager, Dr Shafick Adams told News24.

According to Adams there is a lack of adequate budgeting so “they would install a scheme but there is no long-term planning for maintenance and to make sure that it is run efficiently”.

South Africa’s 10.3 billion cubic metres of annual renewable groundwater is significant when compared to its 12 billion cubic metres of surface water of which all is allocated for use.  

“We can still use a lot more groundwater, but it is not getting prominence in terms of governance provisions," Adams said.

The government has made attempts to mainstream groundwater by incorporating it into the National Water Resource Strategy (NWRS).

According to earlier reports on the draft NWRS, SA needs R670bn to upgrade its water infrastructure over the next decade.

Adams says “this investment estimate relies mainly on surface water developments. Greater use of groundwater might mitigate these costs, and reduce the financial, environmental and social costs to the country”.

In South Africa about 98% of groundwater is found in fractured, hard rock aquifer systems.

Primary aquifers are restricted to coastal sand deposits along the west and south coast of the Cape and along the KwaZulu-Natal coast.

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Read more on:    wrc  |  water

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