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University of Stellenbosch (2013)

Rain events based hillslope hydrological processes at the Langgewens Experimental Farm, Western Cape, South Africa

Wasserfall, Michiel Nicolaas

Titre  : Rain events based hillslope hydrological processes at the Langgewens Experimental Farm, Western Cape, South Africa

Auteur : Wasserfall, Michiel Nicolaas

Université de soutenance : University of Stellenbosch

Grade : MScAgric 2013

Résumé partiel
Hillslope hydrology represents a complex system with several interacting processes influencing the movement of water through the landscape. The Western Cape area of South Africa is expected to be impacted on by a change in climate and the importance of water management that will increase in the future. Climate, especially precipitation, is the driving factor behind the hydrological system and there are currently no predictions as to what the impact will be on the hydrological conditions. The main objective of the study is to understand the hydrological responses along a hillslope and secondly to determine the effect of climate change on the hydrology by using hydrological models. The studied system is situated on the Langgewens Experimental Farm, north of Malmesbury in the Swartland region of the Western Cape. Six sites in a range of vegetation, land use and expected soil types along a toposequence were investigated. All sites are rain fed areas with natural vegetation, seasonal or long-term shrubs. Through monitoring different components of the hydrological cycle, including rainfall, overland flow, infiltration, soil water content, base flow and water table depth at the different sites, the movement of water through the landscape can be defined. Hillslope hydrological processes at different positions on the hillslope were investigated. The baseline data obtained during this process was used in hydrological modelling for the different positions on the hillslope to determine the accuracy of model predictions. Expected future climatic conditions were emulated in this model to determine the possible effect of a change in climate on the hydrological system.

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