Securing future access to a sustainable water supply in South Africa

7 September 2021

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.

South Africa

South Africa

Anker Lajer Højberg

Chief Consultant
T: +45 51 61 06 85

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.

A stable water supply and sustainable water management system

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:

  1. development of operational rules, i.e. how the different water sources are mixed in the conjunctive use,
  2. development of a WaterManager software system, enabling it to manage real-time and manually collected data from multiple data points by integrating the developed operational rules,
  3. development of a geological and hydrological model for the Saldanha Bay area based on the approach used in the Danish Groundwater Mapping Program, and
  4. capacity building with face-to-face workshops on the final water supply management system in South Africa.

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.

 

Ramboll Group A/S

Ramboll Group A/S
Hannemanns Allé 53
DK-2300 Copenhagen S
Denmark
Tel:+45 5161 1000
Fax:+45 5161 1001

Danish CVR numbers

Danish CVR numbers

Ramboll Group
10160669

Rambøll Danmark
35128417

Ramboll Energy
35128417

Rambøll Management Consulting
60997918

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