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Methodology for estimation of the change in the reserve of the Berg catchment, Western Cape, South Africa

Tuesday, 12 June, 2012 - 15:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Maher Albhaisi
phd defence

Water is considered being the most important natural resource worldwide. In South Africa a big
concern is the management of water resources especially since water resources in South Africa
are scarce. The ‘reserve’ policy tries to make a balance between the demand on water and a
healthy ecosystem. This policy needs detailed environmental, hydrological, hydrogeological and
ecological studies to determine this equilibrium between the demand, quantity and quality of

The study area, the Berg catchment, Western Cape, underwent many changes in the last years;
a dam was built on the river creating a new ecological system behind it; and non-native hill slope
vegetation upstream of the dam was cut and replaced by native vegetation. It is thought that
evapotranspiration will reduce and recharge be increased due to this change in landuse. The
catchment is characterized by a sand stone fractured aquifer; the fractures affect the
groundwater recharge of the aquifer and have influence on both groundwater and surface water
in the catchment.

Developing a comprehensive methodology with remote sensing input and distributed
hydrological modeling to determine the quantitative aspects of the ‘reserve’ is the main goal of
this study. Moreover, we analyzed the effect of land use on the hydrological functioning of the
catchment. Hence, a time series of land use maps was created as a basis for further
hydrological modeling of the change. Mapping of the lineaments in the catchment and applying it
in groundwater modeling of the catchment is one of the other aspects of this study.