South Africa’s water supply is largely dependent on surface water, increasing the risk of water supplies running dry following long periods of drought. Now Ramboll has been hired to help to ensure a sustainable water supply with inspiration from the Danish ground water mapping approach.
In 2018, Cape Town were facing the well-known ‘Day Zero’, signifying the day their water supplies were expected to run dry and hit zero. Though Cape Town never actually reached Day Zero, the issue has not yet been solved and South Africa is still in high risk of experiencing water shortage. For nations dependent on surface water, Denmark is a big inspiration due to their clean tap water and groundwater mapping approach. To ensure access to safe and clean water in the future, South Africa has thus joined a collaboration program with Denmark called ‘The Strategic Water Sector Cooperation’ (SSC), funded through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As part of the SSC program, Ramboll has been hired for a project on ‘Development of a South African Groundwater Mapping and Assessment Approach (SAGMAA). To display the opportunities for use of groundwater in South Africa, Ramboll will be conveying Danish technologies and approaches into a South African context. Groundwater mapping and assessment in Denmark and South Africa are compared to examine which of the Danish solutions are transferable to South Africa and fit their specific needs. The project team includes water resource experts from Ramboll Water as well as researchers from the University of the Free State in South Africa and legal experts from the law firm ENSafrica.
In the same context, Ramboll will execute a pilot project in the water scarce Saldanha Bay area north of Cape Town to establish a wellfield management system. The wellfield management system will be developed for the current water supply structure based on surface water and groundwater. However, it will have a flexible design that allows an extension of the system to manage future conditions where managed aquifer recharge (MAR) and desalination are expected to be included in the water mix.
The wellfield-project is structured around four main activities:
With these projects, Ramboll will help display the opportunities for use of groundwater as a water supply and make South Africa less dependent on surface water. Furthermore, the water management system will give the area a future-proof way of managing their water resources and secure a consistent water supply.