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Strengthening groundwater management through an integrative approach

: Schäfer, L.; Himmelsbach, T.; Schöniger, H.M.

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Sauramba, James (VorsitzendeR) ; Groundwater Management Institute -GMI-, Bloemfontein:
2nd SADC Groundwater Conference 2019. Volume of Abstracts : Theme: Groundwater's Contribution to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals in the SADC Region; Johannesburg, South Africa, 4th-6th September 2019
Bloemfontein: SADC-GMI, 2019
Groundwater Conference <2, 2019, Johannesburg>
Abstract, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IST ()
groundwater potential; dialogue platform; physical indicators; water treatment

The aim of our initiative is to demonstrate, that groundwater resources can become increasingly strategic in the SADC regions. Recently completed and current research and development projects in the SADC regions (e.g. Exploration of deep aquifer systems in the Northern Kalahari Basin, SASSCAL and the EU Project SafeWaterAfrica as well as the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research Project GRoW-go-CAM) provide essential building blocks for an integrative approach to enhance security of freshwater supply. The importance of groundwater resources is highlighted by the fact that groundwater as an invisible resource under increasing pressure due to human activities and climate change worldwide. Advanced understanding of the groundwater/surface water interaction, a new exploration strategy for semi-fossil aquifers and the implementation of effective water infrastructure systems and technology are measures against supply shortages. Biggest challenges are the full exploration of deep aquifers, the understanding and modelling of their recharge processes and the integration of groundwater resources in the complex regional water system including surface hydrology (rivers and artificial reservoirs). In addition to the analysis of quantitative fresh water availability and its development (population growth, climate change), the focus is also on the quality of freshwater. As an important part of an integrated groundwater management program the implementation and advancement of autonomous and decentralized water treatment systems for rural and periurban areas comes into focus. Newly developed treatment systems must be considered as an essential contribution to ensure the local water supply safety as they are highly efficient in the degradation of harmful pollutants and at the same time very effective in killing microbiological contaminants. Knowledge about the state of water resources derived from monitoring and modelling systems must be coupled with suitable and effective governance measures to respond to the challenges outlined. A dialogue platform as developed in the go-CAM project is to be understood as a governance instrument that combines physically-based modelling results with multi-criteria decision analysis techniques (MCDA). In this platform, the assessment is based on physical indicators which are subordinated to the UN’s SDG 6. Groundwater as an important water resource for water supply is currently not adequately represented in the UN-SDGs. Especially for South Africa, it is important to further develop physical based indicators for the assessment of groundwater availability and quality in the context of increasing water stress. The German consortium is looking for SADC-partners in the water sector, on local rural communities or national organisation level to help exhaust local possibilities around this “blue gold”.