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University of South Africa (2015)

Impact of climate change on fresh water resources of Elliot town in the Eastern Cape

Ndlela, Bekithemba

Titre : Impact of climate change on fresh water resources of Elliot town in the Eastern Cape

Auteur : Ndlela, Bekithemba

Université de soutenance : University of South Africa

Grade : Master of Science (MS) in Environmental Management 2015

Résumé
Climate change and variability have great impact on the hydrological cycle and consequently on the availability of water resources. Variations in temperature and precipitation trends that are occurring are a consequent of the increase in the concentrations of greenhouse gases, which are subsequently affecting the hydrological cycle. This in turn affects water quantity and quality, which is essential for agriculture, domestic and industrial uses. This study, done in Elliot Town and the surrounding areas of Sakhisizwe Municipality in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, evaluates how climate change and variability is affecting water availability and its quality in the town. The impact climate change and variability on agricultural production is also assessed. Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), databases and some statistical packages have been used to collect, analyse and create spatial maps used to derive concrete conclusions. The methods used aided in spatially analysing the changes in temperature and rainfall along the years and make a comparative analysis. The study has shown that the spatial changes in the amount, intensity and frequency of rainfall affects the magnitude and frequency of stream flows ; consequently, increasing the intensity of floods and droughts that have been recurring in the last few decades. The municipality is more affected by climate variability than change, and the resultant extreme climate events are affecting the water resources resulting in domestic water cuts, poor water quality and low agriculture productivity. This study recommends the importance of an awareness campaigns on climate change and variability and their effect directed towards the community, especially on novel water harvesting technologies. The study also highlights the importance of a robust early warning system to prepare the community in case of a climate shock, which is an area that needs further research.

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