Water Provision Methods In South Africa Environmental Sciences Essay

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Water resources are important for the growth of livings in arid areas of the world. When there is scarce of water for the cropping seasons then water shortage becomes more absolute and cause severe problems for the domestic and personal hygienic and health problems in those areas (Hoek et al., 1999). Since the water resources are limited in some developing countries and water scarcity is directly linked with the arid climate. The degradation of water resources is also created through the pollution and other stresses related with population growth and urbanization.

2. Description of Selected Area:

The content of desert South Africa is in north and tropical forest but arid areas dominate the southern Africa. Water resources issues are spanning in this part of the world from individual families to large scale industries. The land of the South Africa is highly weathered and old.

2.1 Characteristics of South Africa Arid areas:

There is high degree of spatial variance of rainfalls in the arid areas of the South Africa. There are hot and arid areas in western part of the South Africa. Intense rainfall is the source to break the long and dry period of larger arid areas in the South Africa. There is average rainfall approximately 460 mm which is too irregular with respect to time and space (DWAF, 2004).

3. Water Provision Approaches

There are several models applied in this region for the provision of water to its arid areas of South Area. These models are developed to cater for the arid hydrological process. The advantages and disadvantages of these water provision approaches are noted with the successes and failures.

3.1 Pitman monthly time-step model:

This model is applied in most southern part of the region in South Africa. This model was developed in the 1970s. This model has been revised many times due to arising requirement. This model is based upon the techniques of semi distributed areas.

3.2 Water Provision System

In the South Africa major local and rural communities are associated with the agriculture, sustained by the irrigation. Water managers and South Africa government have real concerns for the water issues because rural areas represent the 45% of the total population (CSS, 1997). It has been noted that 35% of rural dwellers have access to water sources but 65% do not have access.

3.3 Groundwater Sources:

It has been noted that most rivers in South Africa are ephemeral with varying temporarily surface flow. These rivers flow for the short period following the heavy rains. There is requirement of the aquifer storage which stores the water in subsurface instead of the water at the surfaces. It is possible that coarse sand with uniform size can store up to 45 % the water volume with in the sand (Hudson, 1987). The storage of the water in subsurface is that the process of evaporation is negligible as compared to surface reservoirs. In this way more than 60% rural population depends upon the ground water. This ground water is also referred as the principal source of water for the arid and semi arid areas. For the best results it is necessary to recharge the groundwater and aquifer is potential source for these measures. The following table shows us the different sectors use of underground water in South Africa.

Sector Name

Quantity of water Mm3 /year

%age total

Urban Use

70

3.9

Irrigation

1400

78.2

Rural domestic

120

6.7

Mining and quarries

100

5.6

Stock watering

100

5.6

Table 1: Ground water use by sectors in South Africa

4. Aquifer Storage:

The process of Sand Water Storage is the indigenous where infiltration causes the movements of the underlying ground water. The main purpose is to store the water for the long or short terms in the form of sand voids by sediment deposition from the ephemeral river’s alluvial channels. It includes the other advantages such as the protection from the evaporation losses and decrease in the downstream erosions. It also enhances the quality of water which flows through the aquifers and other zones.

5. Water Harvesting:

There is another method of water provision that describes the collection and concentration of various runoff forms. It also involves the shifting of the turnoff to an area where the crop growing is possible. This type of the land is such where irregular rainfalls occur and water is lost through this runoff. This method yields good results and improve the quality of the food grown there and increasing the income levels of the agriculturalists. These techniques are site specific and proven more successful in the African dry lands.

There are other developments for the provision of the water to the arid areas of the South Africa. These developments include the following Construction of dams from the source basins to the required areas. South Africa faces the problem of construction of Vaal River System 600 KM away from the Indian Ocean.

Figure: Diagram showing the rainwater harvesting

6. Objectives of the water services:

Following are the three main objectives of water services in the arid areas of the South Area.

All people must be given the access to the water for their requirements in these arid areas and benefit them from the use of these water sources.

The water sources must be managed in sustainable manners.

Water sources must be used in a way to grow the country economically

When these objectives are analyzed the last one is more important as it is directly linked the South Africa’s economy. However the earlier two objectives are too important for the water management in the country.

7. Recommendations

The ground water irrigation can be encouraged by ensuring the sustainability of the ground water along with the following recommendations

When a construction of ground water system is completed then it is responsibility of small farmers to take the operations and maintenance of that construction; involvement of small farmers can reduce the costs and improve the irrigation designs (World Bank, 2008). Farmers must be responsible for the irrigation system management activities. Equitable uses of resources are increased by the involvement of small farmers. The farmers must own the homogenous plots of lands which improves the farmer’s involvement in management (Foster & M. RosenzWeig, 2005). The Compliance becomes low when people know that local elite have designed the rules.

Most areas of the South Africa do not lack the water resources but need the financial resources to build the systems for irrigation. Government must give the small farmers subsidies to construct the ground water systems to mitigate the effects of drought. It is proved that in northern Nigeria this subsidiary was introduced during the 1980s to install the pumps and purchase of other affordable spare parts. This subsidiary in form of loan is a best tool to grow the economy of the country. On the other hand financially well established farmers can develop the groundwater supplies on their own expenses. Government and NGOs must provide the new technology to these farmers (Van, 2003). New technologies of drilling and pumping must be used that is easy to maintain and repair the ground water irrigation system. The traditional water abstraction devices are affordable at low costs because electric pumps are not so feasible there due to lack of power supply in South Africa.

8. Conclusions

In this paper the arid areas of the South Africa are discussed with water provision system. Important methods of water provision are compared to focus their importance in the South Africa. Finally the recommendations are given to further improve the water provision methods in the arid areas of the South Africa.

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