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Cape Peninsula University of Technology (2021)

Hydrogeological investigations of groundwater and surface water interactions in the Berg River catchment, Western Cape, South Africa

Mabokela, Seiphi Prudance

Titre : Hydrogeological investigations of groundwater and surface water interactions in the Berg River catchment, Western Cape, South Africa

Auteur : Mabokela, Seiphi Prudance

Université de soutenance : Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Grade : Master of Environmental Management 2021

Résumé partiel
It is well established that the quality of fresh water resources has been and still is deteriorating at an escalated rate globally affecting the chemical, physical and biological composition of water. As a result, fresh water has thus become a rare commodity which is crucial for the survival of any living organism on earth. Fresh water is found in groundwater aquifers and surface water resources such as rivers, streams, lakes and dams however, these resources only comprise 0.3% of fresh water that is available for human consumption out of the 71% water that constitute the earth. The remaining quantity of water found in oceans and seas requires expensive processes of desalination in order to become potable for human use. Therefore, the deteriorating quality of fresh water is escalating the already existing problem of water scarcity and as such, in the nearer future the demand will surpass supply of fresh water. Moreover, drinking water from surface water bodies have to be purified first to meet the drinking water standards before consumption. This nonetheless, does not eliminate that groundwater also have to meet drinking water standards. Groundwater and surface water have been considered as isolated components of the hydrological cycle for centuries in the application of water resources management. This has therefore resulted in the lack of understanding of the two hydrological components. The lack of understanding therefore continues to create gaps in determining important information such as factors impacting on the quantity and quality of groundwater in particular. The complexities in determining the interactions between surface water and groundwater has thus led to surface water receiving much attention in poorer countries as it is readily available and accessible to study as opposed to groundwater. In South Africa, much of the water used is obtained from surface water bodies like rivers, springs and earth dams. The dynamics of surface and groundwater chemical transfers has not been thoroughly studied and well understood in the country. Such a case is also observable from the Berg River catchment (BRC) wherein surface water quality have been severely studied, while on the other hand groundwater chemistry and quality in relation to the natural setting remains questionable. This study therefore provides an investigation of the interactions of surface and groundwater in the BRC. The study focused on three objectives as follows : to a) investigate the role that geology and soils play on water chemistry in the BRC, b) to identify BRC surface and groundwater chemical trends and c) to identify the geochemical processes controlling surface and groundwater chemistry in BRC.

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