Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Water SA]]> vol. 44 num. 4 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Sensitivity analysis for water quality monitoring frequency in the application of a water quality index for the uMngeni River and its tributaries, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa</b>]]> Water quality indices are commonly used to provide summary information from water quality monitoring programmes to stakeholders. However, declining funding and changing mandates often result in reduced monitoring frequencies which could affect the accuracy of information provided. Thus, this study aimed to assess the effect of water sampling frequency on water quality index reporting using the the upper uMngeni catchment as a study site. A 28-year time series of water quality data from 11 sampling stations was assessed for pH, electrical conductivity, temperature, turbidity, total suspended solids, Escherichia coli counts, NH4-N, NO3-N, PO4-P and total phosphorus. Statistical packages were used to process the data and water quality indices (WQIs) for eutrophication and recreational water were calculated and their sensitivity to input parameters analysed. It was found that the higher the monitoring frequency, the lower the WQI calculated at all sites. This suggests that water quality, due to a declining monitoring frequency, is poorer than reported in the uMngeni catchment. The findings showed that Escherichia coli and turbidity are the most influential variables affecting the recreational and eutrophication WQIs, respectively. Although WQIs are considered a useful tool for monitoring the changes in water quality across space and over time in the uMngeni Catchment, their use should complement, and not substitute for, other, more comprehensive, water quality management tools. <![CDATA[<b>Model parameters of four important vegetable crops for improved water use and yield estimation</b>]]> High-value vegetable crops are typically grown under irrigation to reduce production risk. For water resource planning it is essential to be able to accurately estimate water use of irrigated crops under a wide range of climatic conditions. Crop water use models provide a means to make water use and yield estimates, but need crop- and even cultivar-specific parameters. There is generally a lack of crop-specific model parameters for some important commercially grown vegetable crops, especially parameters determined over both summer and winter seasons. The experimental site used in this study was on the Steenkoppies Aquifer, a catchment under stress and an important vegetable production area in South Africa. Crop-specific growth parameters and water use for 4 selected high-value vegetable crops (beetroot, cabbage, carrots and broccoli) were measured over multiple seasons (two summers and one winter). These were used to parameterise the Soil Water Balance (SWB) generic crop growth model for both summer and winter seasons. In seasons where the same cultivar was planted, a single set of model parameters could be used to successfully simulate crop growth and water use. Results show that the amount of irrigation water required is dependent on season and rainfall, with broccoli having the lowest (1.8-2.7 kg m−³) and beetroot the highest (12.2-23.4 kg m−³) water productivity (WP FM), defined as fresh mass of marketable product per unit water consumed. The root crops had a greater harvest index (HI DM) than cabbage and broccoli. The parameters obtained expand the current database of SWB crop growth parameters for vegetables and can be used in a wide range of mechanistic simulation models to improve water management at field and catchment levels. <![CDATA[<b>Applying performance indices in plantwide modelling for a comparative study of wastewater treatment plant operational strategies</b>]]> Achievement of good effluent quality is always the main goal for wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) systems. However, these WWTPs have developed further objectives that include efficient design and strategic control options, with the prospect of their conversion into waste resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) that operate on reduced energy costs. With all these aspects becoming an intrinsic part of waste treatment, mathematical models that simulate WWTP unit processes are becoming of increasing relevance for the achievement of WRRF goals (including good effluent quality, low energy costs and nutrient recovery). It is expected that these mathematical models will benefit potential future applications of automation process control, which have also been developing rapidly with the availability of more reliable and affordable sensors. However, simulated automation control strategies require a thorough evaluation protocol to ensure their viability prior to being adopted as efficient operation control measures. This study considers the comparison of different control strategies implemented on a standard WWTP layout, for plant optimization. The initial task was to define performance indices, effluent quality index (EQI) and operation cost index (OCI), based on a previous investigation by the International Water Association (IWA) benchmark simulation modelling (BSM) task group. These performance indices were then used to evaluate the following strategies: (i) adding a fermentation tank, (ii) dosing flocculant and (iii) implementing a balancing tank. A control strategy was only assumed to be effective with improvement or maintenance of effluent quality. Overall, the evaluation exercise proved to be useful for providing expert advice on efficiency of proposed waste treatment system layouts, towards determination of the best configuration of future WRRFs. For instance, it was notable that significant organic strength is needed for removal of nutrients recycled back from the anaerobic digestion (AD) system into the activated sludge (AS) - hence alternate methods to put the nutrient-rich outflow from the AD system to good use are required. <![CDATA[<b>Suitability of treated wastewater with respect to pH, electrical conductivity, selected cations and sodium adsorption ratio for irrigation in a semi-arid region</b>]]> Increasing incidents of drought spells in most Sub-Saharan African countries call for exploration of innovative alternative sources of water for irrigation. A study was conducted to investigate the cation concentrations for different disposal points of treated wastewater and for borehole water. A 4 × 5 factorial experiment included a borehole as a reference sampling site plus three other sampling sites along the wastewater disposal system over 5 months. Monthly collected water samples were analysed for pH, EC, Ca, Mg, Na and K, with sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) computed and compared with those of water from the borehole, the FAO-desired ranges and the South African (SA) quality standards for irrigation water. Except at two sampling sites during one month, pH values were within the FAO-desired range. Relative to the FAO desired ranges and SA water quality standards, most variables in treated wastewater were much lower, suggesting that the test treated wastewater was suitable for irrigation. <![CDATA[<b>Disaggregation of fixed time interval rainfall to continuous measured rainfall for the purpose of design rainfall estimation</b>]]> Design rainfall estimates are primarily used in single-event deterministic design flood estimation methods where estimates of the peak discharge are based on the critical storm duration or time of concentration (T C) of a catchment. Therefore, daily design rainfall depths used in flood estimations must either be decreased or increased from durations less than or longer than 24 hours to the design rainfall depths for a rainfall duration of T C. This paper presents the comparison of two South African methods used to convert or scale 1-day fixed time interval observed rainfall (08:00 to 08:00) to continuous measures of n-hour rainfall for selected T C durations at a quaternary catchment level, in the C5 secondary drainage region in South Africa as pilot case study. In each quaternary catchment, the annual maximum series (AMS) of the 1-day fixed time interval point rainfall were extracted, infilled, converted and scaled to appropriate continuous measures of T C-hour point rainfall using conversion factors (Adamson, 1981) and scaling factors (Smithers and Schulze, 2003), respectively. Thereafter, all the T C-hour observed point rainfall values were averaged to observed catchment rainfall at a quaternary catchment level using the Thiessen polygon method. In using the two methods to estimate continuous short-duration n-hour (T C ≤ 24 hours) and long-duration n-hour (T C &gt; 24 hours) catchment rainfall from 1-day fixed time interval point rainfall, an acceptable (0.71 < r² ≤ 0.86) and high (r² ≥ 0.93) degree of association were achieved, respectively, despite the different approaches used in each method. Overall, the results confirmed that fixed time interval rainfall should be scaled to continuous measures of rainfall using the Smithers-Schulze scale invariance approach for various T C durations in the case study area. In comparison to the Adamson conversion methodology, the Smithers-Schulze scaling methodology is also based on a more extensive and recent rainfall database as incorporated in software for design rainfall estimation in modern flood hydrology practice in South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Accumulation of multiple heavy metals in plants grown on soil treated with sewage sludge for more than 50 years presents health risks and an opportunity for phyto-remediation</b>]]> Long-term application of sewage leads to heavy metal accumulation in soils, causing serious risks to plants, humans, animals and the environment, and phytoremediation could be essential. A study was conducted to determine the concentration of heavy metals in self-seeding vegetables, amaranthus (Amaranthus dubius), tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), black nightshade (Solanum nigrum), Rumex pulcher and turf grass, grown on land treated with sewage sludge for over 50 years. A pot experiment was conducted to determine phytoremediation potential of Indian mustard (Brassica juncea), lucern (Medicago sativa), vetch (Vicia sativa), rape (Brassica napus) and ryegrass (Lolium perenne), using the same soil. Another pot experiment was conducted to determine effects on tissue metal composition of Indian mustard of adding increasing concentrations of EDTA. All the self-seeding vegetables had tissue Zn, Cu, Cr, Ni, Cd and Pb concentrations higher than toxicity thresholds. Turf grass tissue had higher concentrations of all the metals than all the self-seeding vegetables growing on the soil. Indian mustard and rape had the highest biomass and tissue concentration of most of the metals studied. Addition of EDTA to the soil drastically increased uptake of Zn, Cu, Cd and Pb but not Cr and Ni. The findings of this study imply that self-seeding vegetables and turf grass growing on the polluted soils pose serious health risks and that Indian mustard, and to some extent rape, have potential for phytoremediation, especially if grown on the soil treated with EDTA. <![CDATA[<b>Mapping of water-related ecosystem services in the uMngeni catchment using a daily time-step hydrological model for prioritisation of ecological infrastructure investment - Part 1: Context and modelling approach</b>]]> South Africa is a semi-arid country which frequently faces water shortages, and experienced a severe drought in the 2016 and 2017 rainfall seasons. Government is under pressure to continue to deliver clean water to the growing population at a high assurance of supply. Studies now show that the delivery of water may be sustained not only through built infrastructure such as dams and pipelines, but also through investment in ecological infrastructure (EI). A daily time-step hydrological model was used to map areas which should be prioritised for protection or rehabilitation to sustain the delivery of water-related ecosystem services within the uMngeni catchment. We focused on three water-related ecosystem services, i.e.: water supply, sustained baseflow, erosion control/avoidance of excessive sediment losses. The two key types of degradation were modelled, namely, overgrazing and the invasion of upland areas by Black Wattle (Acacia mearnsii). This, Part 1 of a paper in 2 parts, provides a discussion on the role of EI in delivering water-related ecosystem services, describes the motivation for the study, and the methods used in modelling and mapping the catchment. The results of this modelling exercise are presented in Part 2, which also explores and illustrates the potential hydrological benefits of rehabilitation and protection of EI in the uMngeni Catchment. <![CDATA[<b>Mapping of water-related ecosystem services in the uMngeni catchment using a daily time-step hydrological model for prioritisation of ecological infrastructure investment - Part 2: Outputs</b>]]> South Africa is a semi-arid country which frequently faces water shortages, and experienced a severe drought in the 2016 and 2017 rainfall seasons. Government is under pressure to continue to deliver clean water to the growing population at a high assurance of supply. Studies now show that the delivery of water may be sustained not only through built infrastructure such as dams and pipelines, but also through investment in ecological infrastructure (EI). Part 1 of this paper in 2 parts concentrated on the role of EI in delivering water-related ecosystem services, as well as the motivation for this study, and the methods used in modelling and mapping the catchment. Part 2 explores and illustrates the current level of delivery of water-related ecosystem services in different parts of the catchment, with potential hydrological benefits of rehabilitation and protection of EI in the uMngeni catchment. The Mpendle, Lions River, Karkloof, Inanda and Durban sub-catchments are important areas for the generation of streamflows which accumulate downstream (i.e. water yield in the catchment) when annual totals are considered. Modelled annual sediment yield (in tonnes) from naturally vegetated areas is most severe in the lower catchment areas with steeper slopes such as Inanda, and in the high-altitude areas which have both steeper slopes and higher rainfall. The central and eastern parts of the uMngeni catchment were found to contribute the greatest yield of sediment from degraded areas with low protective vegetation cover. This combined modelling and mapping exercise highlighted areas of priority ecosystem service delivery, such as higher altitude grassland areas, which could be recommended for formal conservation, or protection under private partnerships. Generally, these areas confirm the intuitive sense of catchment stakeholders, but provide a robust and more defendable analysis through which water volumes are quantifiable, and potential investment into catchment interventions are justified. <![CDATA[<b>Distribution of polychlorinated biphenyl along the course of the Buffalo River, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, and possible health risks</b>]]> Humans and wildlife are vulnerable to the toxicity of semi-volatile and persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Neither the distribution of these pollutants nor their seasonal variation has ever been determined in the Buffalo River. Thus, the occurrence and concentration of 19 PCBs was assessed in King William's Town (KWT), Izele (IZ), Zwelitsha (ZW), Maden (MD), Mdantsane (MSN) and Buffalo River estuary (BRE), all on the Buffalo River in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Water samples were subjected to liquid-liquid extraction for PCBs, after which the compounds were separated and quantified on gas chromatography with electron capture detection. The PCBs differ in concentration from below detection limit (BDL) to 482 ng·L−¹ in summer and BDL to 2 383 ng·L−¹ in autumn. While the order of congeners increases during the summer from KWT > IZ > ZW > MD > MSN > BRE, the distribution in autumn followed the order BRE > IZ > ZW > KWT > MSN > MD. The total levels of PCBs at all the sites during summer were below the World Health Organization (WHO) permissible level of 500 ng·L−¹ recommended for humans, but were exceeded at all the sampling sites in autumn except at MD. The evaluated risk with respect to cancer was lower than the acceptable threshold (10-6), whereas hazard quotients were slightly higher than the maximum threshold (of 1) stated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The compounds are known to be toxic to humans and animals. The results appear to show that the exposure levels of the compounds were safe for humans and animals. Further studies are recommended in order to make a definitive conclusion. <![CDATA[<b>Development of a deterministic design model for a high-rate algal pond</b>]]> Inadequate wastewater treatment is a major problem in South Africa. Existing wastewater treatment facilities often lack sufficient skilled labour, resulting in partially treated effluent. Increasing eutrophication in surface water bodies indicates that this problem needs rectification. The characteristics of the high-rate algal pond (HRAP) technology makes it an attractive option for effluent polishing in South Africa. It has the potential of simultaneous nutrient removal and nutrient recovery from partially treated effluent. A deterministic design model based on the mutualistic relationship between bacteria and algae in an HRAP was developed. The model includes kinetics of algae, ordinary heterotrophic organisms (OHOs), as well as ammonia-oxidising organisms (ANOs) and their interaction with organic compounds, nitrogen and phosphorus. After preliminary verifications, it was found that the deterministic model accurately represented the kinetics involved with the ammonia and nitrate/nitrite concentrations. However, it was also established that the major limitations of the deterministic model are its exclusion of phosphate precipitation and its failure to incorporate the production of particulate and soluble organics due to the respiration, excretion and mortality processes. <![CDATA[<b>Monitoring water use efficiency of irrigated sugarcane production in Mpumalanga, South Africa, using SEBAL</b>]]> The objective of this study was to assess the accuracy, spatial variation and potential value of remote sensing (RS) estimates of evapotranspiration (ET) and biomass production for irrigated sugarcane in Mpumalanga, South Africa. Weekly ET and biomass production were estimated from RS data from 2011 to 2013 using the Surface Energy Balance Algorithm for Land (SEBAL). Ground estimates of canopy interception of photosynthetically active radiation (FPAR) and aerial biomass were compared to RS estimates. ET was estimated with a surface renewal (SR) system in one field. Evaporation coefficient (Kc) values were calculated from ET and reference grass evaporation. Remote sensing FPAR and biomass estimates compared well with field measurements (R² = 0.89 and 0.78). SEBAL ET estimates exceeded SR estimates by 5 mm/week, while full canopy Kc values for SEBAL compared better with literature values than with SR Kc values. SEBAL estimates of ET and biomass were regarded as reliable. Considerable spatial variation was observed in seasonal RS ET (1 034 ± 223 mm), biomass (45 ± 17 t/ha) and biomass water use efficiency (WUEBIO, defined as dry biomass produced per unit of ET) (4.1 ± 1.0 kg/m³). About 32% of sugarcane fields had values below economic thresholds, indicating an opportunity to increase productivity. Actual yields correlated well with WUEBIO values, suggesting that this may be used for monitoring crop performance and identifying areas that require remedial treatment. <![CDATA[<b>Theoretical solution for analysis and design of hydraulic jump on corrugated bed</b>]]> A hydraulic jump mainly serves as an energy dissipator downstream of hydraulic structures. For analysis and design of a hydraulic jump on a corrugated bed, the specific energy curve was used: the maximum possible amount of energy dissipation of the hydraulic jump, the minimum possible value of sequent depth for the hydraulic jump, and efficiency of energy dissipation of a smooth hydraulic jump are theoretically related to the inflow Froude number. A wide range of existing experimental data from hydraulic jumps on smooth and corrugated beds was also used. Results of this study indicate that the energy dissipation of a hydraulic jump on a corrugated bed is mainly influenced by horizontal distance from the sluice gate section to the start point of the corrugated bed. To reach the maximum value of energy dissipation (i.e., minimum value of subcritical sequent depth) and the minimum value of jump length, the corrugated bed should start from the gate opening. <![CDATA[<b>Water insecurity, illness and other factors of everyday life: A case study from Choma District, Southern Province, Zambia</b>]]> Recent reports from the UN find that 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water sources since 1990, but 663 million people still live without. Other recent work demonstrates that 4 billion people annually face severe water scarcity as a result of seasonal fluctuations in water availability and quality. How is it that, despite the significant development in water resource availability documented by the UN, literally billions of people are regularly experiencing water insecurity? To begin to understand how a lack of access to reliable water resources affects everyday life, I focus on a specific outcome of water insecurity: waterborne illness. Given the difficulty in linking illness to a particular source, this research focuses on perceptions of water safety. I ask participants about illness they perceive coming from their drinking water, conducting face-to-face surveys (N = 224) spatially distributed around Choma town, Southern Province, Zambia. In particular, I investigate how these perceptions affect everyday life and what intersecting factors are likely to increase or decrease the probability of a person perceiving drinking water as the source of their illness. Our findings demonstrate that individual perceptions of waterborne illness are tightly coupled with perceptions of water needs being met or not, water flexibility (water storage capacity and water resource type and number available), total water use, food security and distance to various services. My work identifies and qualifies intersecting relationships that are critical to the design of any policy or other means of intervention intended to reduce experienced and perceived waterborne illness and other everyday needs of subsistence farmers facing the challenges presented by climate change and other forms of environmental change. <![CDATA[<b>Explaining variation in the economic value of irrigation water using psychological capital: a case study from Ndumo B and Makhathini, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa</b>]]> This study investigates the economic value of irrigation water using data collected from 200 smallholder producers in Makhathini and Ndumo areas, KwaZulu-Natal.The study accounts for psychological capital (individual mind-set and attitude affecting motivation to take initiatives) as an important aspect of farm management. This concept focuses more on the 'soft' aspects of farm management, which have not been adequately studied in the context of smallholder farming. A sustainable livelihoods framework is employed as a conceptual framework and the role of psychological capital is integrated to explain the variation in water values. The study employs the residual valuation method to estimate water values, principal component analysis to generate an index for psychological capital, and the general linear model to explain variation in water values. The findings suggest that variation in water values was mainly influenced by the location of the farmer, farmer type, physical capital, social capital, land size, farming experience, crop type and psychological capital. The results reinforce the importance of institutional arrangements and collective bargaining as an important element of managing a smallholder farm to increase the economic value of water. To build and develop positive psychological capital for smallholders, it is recommended that government should re-visit the usual model of 'hand-outs' (input, finance). It is time to re-consider direct farmer support that entails being heavily involved in their day-to-day activities (i.e., purchasing inputs and running the irrigation schemes on their behalf). Going forward, the focus should rather be on enabling them to change their behaviour to be self-reliant and own their own destiny through on-farm and off-farm economic activities. Moreover, government and other development partners have to understand the long-term behavioural impact (on farmers) of what they do, for instance, entrenching expectations. <![CDATA[<b>Development of statistical models for trihalomethane (THM) removal in drinking water sources using carbon nanotubes (CNTs)</b>]]> This research developed models using the multiple linear regression technique for prediction of trihalomethane (THM) removal from chlorinated drinking water sources through a combination of a coagulation process with carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Terkos Lake water (TLW), Buyukçekmece Lake water (BLW) and Ulutan Lake water (ULW) samples were coagulated by a conventional coagulant (alum) and increasing doses of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) with the addition of alum. Also, chlorination experiments were conducted with water reservoirs from TLW, BLW and ULW, with different water quality regarding bromide concentration and organic matter content. The factors studied affecting THM removal were contact time, chlorine dose, coagulation process, total organic carbon (TOC), and specific ultraviolet absorbance (SUVA). Statistical analysis of the results focused on the development of multiple regression models, as Models 1 and 2, for predicting total trihalomethane (TTHM) based on the use of contact time, SWCNTs and MWCNTs doses, chlorine dose and TOC. When the two models were compared, Model 1 proved best suited to describe THM removal for the three water sources. The developed models provided satisfactory estimations of THM removal; the model regression coefficients for Models 1 and 2 were 0.88 and 0.77, respectively. Furthermore, the root-mean-square error (RMSE) values of 0.083 and 0.126 confirm the reliability of the two models. The results show that THM removal can be simply predicted by using the multiple linear regression technique in chlorinated drinking water sources. <![CDATA[<b>Geochemical scaling potential simulations of natural organic matter complexation with metal ions in cooling water at Eskom power generation plants in South Africa</b>]]> The modified database in the pH, redox equilibrium calculations code (PHREEQC) with a Tipping and Hurley database (T_H.DAT) coupled with the Windermere's humic acid model (WHAM) was used to simulate scale formation potential in cooling water circuitry, at Eskom power generating stations in South Africa. This study reports a semi-empirical simulative approach in which organic matter fractions, metals and anions in raw and cooling water were used as modelling experimental inputs. By using the saturation index profiles of Ca2+/ Mg2+ with fulvic acid in a modified Tipping and Hurley (T_H.DAT) database, fulvate complex species such as CaFulvate, MgFulvate, and geochemical modelling predictions, mineral phases that potentially precipitate are discussed. Speciation calculations showed that the increase in fulvic acid levels decreased saturation indices of scaling metal phases due to reduced levels of Ca2+ and Mg2+ in the water. Furthermore, if the concentrations of fulvic acid are known, semi-empirical calculations using the geochemical PHREEQC code with a modified T_H.DAT are possible. Consequently, mineral phase equilibria outputs may give an indication of how the pH and temperature is to be manipulated to optimally predict and control the incidence of scaling. <![CDATA[<b>Impact of invasive alien plants on water provision in selected catchments</b>]]> We analyse the impact of failing to control invasive alien plants (IAPs) on the water supply to the Berg River and De Hoop Dams, in other words, the opportunity cost of not clearing IAPs in these two catchments. To do this we used models to assess and compare the impact of current and future invasions on inflows into the dams. Although the clearing of current invasions would only provide a modest increase in the amount of water compared to, for example, the construction of another dam, failure to clear the invasion will have a negative impact on water security in the long term. We estimated that the Berg River Dam could lose up to 51% of its mean annual inflows to IAPs over a 45-year period, and the De Hoop Dam catchment could lose up to 44%. These impacts would continue to increase over time, and the costs of control could become very high as the plants invade rugged terrain. Major infrastructural development requires Ministerial approval, supported by advice from senior officials. We suggest that such advice should substantively take sufficient account of the benefits of clearing existing invasions, or at least of preventing further invasions. Our results suggest that serious consequences arise from insufficient investment in catchment management. An integrated approach to the management of the supply of and demand for water, that ensures long-term sustainability, is essential in informed decision-making and the early control of IAPs is a key component of that approach. <![CDATA[<b>The Pongola Floodplain, South Africa - Part 1: Two-dimensional hydrodynamic modelling in support of an environmental flows assessment</b>]]> The Pongola Floodplain in the Makhathini Flats is an area of low topographic relief between the 1973-commissioned Jozini Dam, and the Usuthu River which borders Mozambique. The floodplain system is characterised by a complex mosaic of meandering river channels, levees, and floodplains interspersed with pans (or depressions) and wetlands. The landmark 1982 study of the floodplain, Man and the Pongolo Floodplain, suggested a pattern of flows to 'maintain the floodplain' based on socio-ecological criteria. Since 1998, however, annual releases have been primarily targeted at the needs of recession agriculture and inundation of the floodplain in the Ndumu Reserve. No releases have been specifically aimed at maintaining the floodplain ecosystem and the services it delivers to support the livelihoods of local communities. In 2013, the Department of Water and Sanitation commissioned an Ecological Reserve study of the Usuthu/Mhlatuze Water Management Area, which incorporates the Pongola Floodplain. This paper describes two-dimensional hydrodynamic modelling using RMA2 to inform this flow assessment. Four computational Pongola Floodplain models have been developed since 1979, including cell-based, one- and two-dimensional approaches. The RMA2 model is based on existing topographical, hydrological and hydraulic information, and was calibrated and verified for the period 2008 to 2010 using water-level data from the local hydrometric monitoring network. Generally, good replications have been achieved in terms of peaks, rising and recession limbs, recession of ponded pan water-levels, and low-flow river stages. The RMA2 modelling represents an advancement of previous hydrodynamic studies of the floodplain and contributes to an improved understanding of its hydraulic behaviour. Model application was for the 15-year period 1990 to 2004, and simulations included naturalised, present management (2014), and 7 potential dam operational scenarios. The results were post-processed for analyses in the DRIFT DSS, described in the companion paper. <![CDATA[<b>The Pongola Floodplain, South Africa - Part 2: Holistic environmental flows assessment</b>]]> A holistic environmental flows (EFlows) assessment, undertaken as part of Ecological Reserve determination studies for selected surface water, groundwater, estuaries and wetlands in the Usuthu/Mhlatuze Water Management Area, South Africa, led to recommendations for modified releases from the Jozini Dam to support the socially, economically and ecologically important Pongola Floodplain situated downstream of the dam. The EFlows study analysed various permutations of flow releases from the dam based on the recommendations of pre-dam studies, and augmented by more recent observations, inputs from farmers and fishermen who live adjacent to the floodplain and discussion with the operators of Jozini Dam. The EFlows method used, DRIFT, allowed for the incorporation of detailed information, data and recommendations from a decades-old research project on the Pongola Floodplain that was undertaken prior to the construction of the Jozini Dam into a modern-day decision-making framework. This was used to assess the impact of a series of different flow releases on nature and society downstream of the dam. It was concluded that, within historic volumetric allocations to the floodplain, a release regime could be designed that considerably aided traditional fishing and grazing without necessarily prejudicing other uses, such as agriculture. <![CDATA[<b>Combining tracer studies and biomimetic design principles to investigate clogging in constructed wetlands</b>]]> In this study, we suggest a clogging maintenance strategy and design alteration for constructed wetlands. Such a system could benefit rural communities who rely solely on constructed wetland systems for provision of household and agricultural water and for whom regular system shut-down for maintenance is essentially not viable. A newly established, pilot-scale horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetland was investigated by means of step-change tracer experiments. Sampling was carried out at multiple points down the length of the wetland and at three depths for each location. The mean residence time data were used to generate velocity profiles. This methodology enabled the development of a three-dimensional hydraulic model to identify dead zones and regions of short-circuiting within the system. Biomimetic principles were then incorporated to propose improvements to conventional constructed wetland design, which would potentially allow for better clogging management and continuous operation. In particular, modularizing the regions of the wetland most prone to clogging (those containing dead space) would accommodate isolation, removal and replacement of such sections, while still allowing treatment of wastewater in adjacent sections. <![CDATA[<b>Development of Consumer Perception Index for assessing greywater reuse potential in arid environments</b>]]> Arab countries are primarily situated in arid environments and face serious water scarcity challenges due to growing populations, urbanization, and climate change impacts. Reusing greywater, if adequately treated at the point of generation, poses less human health risk as compared to blackwater reuse. Consumers have several reasons for being unwilling to reuse greywater, including potential health risk, religious and cultural concerns, and feeling uncomfortable. There are several possible reuse applications of treated greywater, such as watering plants, floor cleaning, landscaping, toilet flushing, etc. Therefore, it is important to assess consumer perceptions about greywater reuse before its implementation in any region. In this research, a framework based on greywater reuse indicators (GWRI) was developed to assess consumer perceptions before and after introducing low-cost treatment (LCT). Later the framework was implemented for Muscat, Oman. A questionnaire survey was carried out with 110 households located in diverse socioeconomic settings to collect data about general demographics, existing water uses, water sources, greywater applications (after LCT), and in-house plumbing systems. Seven key GWRI were estimated and aggregated to develop an overall consumer perception index (CPI). The study results revealed that CPI improved significantly from 'very low' to 'high' after introducing LCT. However, governments should provide financial assistance to consumers for improving in-house plumbing systems, based on detailed investigations. The study revealed that the CPI can be applied across the globe and can save time and effort for municipal managers, engineers, and policy makers by providing information that will enable effective decision-making. <![CDATA[<b>A scenario-based multiple attribute decision-making approach for site selection of a wastewater treatment plant: Bahir Dar City (Ethiopia) case study</b>]]> The challenge of selecting an appropriate wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) site is addressed in this study, using the case study of Bahir Dar City, Ethiopia. An innovative approach is proposed for selecting the WWTP site. Fifteen practically feasible alternatives were identified based on the geographical information system (GIS) based hydraulic design and considering the overall economy of the system. The three dimensions of sustainability were considered while evaluating alternatives through incorporating economic, social, energy and environmental criteria in decision-making. The multiple attribute decision making (MADM) method was applied to prioritize the alternatives. Four scenarios representing the different perspectives of choices were used for weight elicitation. The results of the study show that the developed decision-making approach identified practically feasible alternatives. The framework and decision-making methodology developed in this study helped to facilitate the decision making by local government in a holistic view that incorporates environmental management in the city of Bahir Dar. <![CDATA[<b>Isotopic tracing of stormwater in the urban Liesbeek River</b>]]> The ongoing drought in the Western Cape of South Africa (2014 to present) has called for an urgent need to improve our understanding of water resources in the area. Rivers within the Western Cape are known to surge rapidly after rainfall events. Such storm-flow in natural river catchments in the Jonkershoek mountains has previously been shown to be driven by displaced groundwater, with less than 5% of rainfall appearing in the storm-flow. However, the origin of storm-flow surges within urban rivers in the region remains unknown. In this study, we used stable isotopes in water to illustrate that at least 90% of water in the Liesbeek River during a storm event was rainwater. There was a strong correlation between storm-flow and rainfall rates (P < 0.001, Pearson's r = 0.86), as well as between the δ18O and δ²H values of river-water and rainwater (δ18O: Pearson's r = 0.741 (P = 0.001), δ²H: Pearson's r = 0.775 (P < 0.001)). Storm-flow within this urban river therefore appears to be driven by overland-flow over the hardened urban catchment, rather than piston-flow as seen in natural catchments. Our results support studies suggesting the Liesbeek River could be a target for stormwater harvesting to augment water resources in the city of Cape Town. <![CDATA[<b>Natural organic matter in aquatic systems - a South African perspective</b>]]> Natural organic matter (NOM) is a complex heterogeneous mixture of humic (HS) and non-humic substances which are widespread in the aquatic environment. Other constituents are amino acids, aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons containing oxygen, nitrogen and hydroxyl groups. It is the combination and proportions of these motifs which give NOM its overall polarity and reactivity. Its main origins include soils, residues of fauna and flora, microbial excrements and anthropogenic faecal loads, agriculture activities and urban landscapes. Due to the different origins of the precursor material and the extent of transformation it undergoes, the composition of NOM in different water bodies varies. Characterization methods for NOM can be divided into three broad categories namely: (i) direct measuring methods, which measure the amount of organic matter in the sample; (ii) spectrometric methods, which measure the amount of radiation absorbed and or released by chromophores; and (iii) fractionation methods, which separate NOM according to size and polarity. South Africa has 6 distinct water quality regions, and each region has a unique NOM character and quantity. Existing water treatment plants do not remove NOM to levels low enough to inhibit the formation of disinfection by-products (DBPs). Currently, research is focusing more on the use of alternative techniques for NOM removal; these include advanced oxidation processes (AOPs), nanomaterials, and ceramic membranes. While NOM is well studied in other parts of the world, to the best of our knowledge, there is no state-of-the-art investigation of the occurrence and removal of NOM in South African source waters. This review aims at (i) synthesizing literature on the nature, occurrence and ecological impact of NOM, (ii) evaluating the removal of NOM in the six different water quality regions of South Africa, and (iii) suggesting novel approaches that can be used to remove NOM in South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Continuous simulation modelling for design flood estimation - a South African perspective and recommendations</b>]]> A number of severe flooding events have occurred both in South Africa and internationally in recent years. Furthermore, changes in both the intensity and frequency of extreme rainfall events have been documented, both locally and internationally, associated with climate change. The recent loss of life, destruction of infrastructure, and associated economic losses caused by flooding, compounded by the probability of increased rainfall variability in the future, highlight that design flood estimation (DFE) techniques within South Africa are outdated and in need of revision. A National Flood Studies Programme (NFSP) has recently been initiated to overhaul DFE procedures in South Africa. One of the recommendations in the NFSP is the further development of a continuous simulation modelling (CSM) system for DFE in South Africa. The focus of this paper is a review of CSM techniques for DFE, to guide further development for application in South Africa. An introduction to DFE, and particularly the CSM approach, is presented, followed by a brief overview of DFE techniques used in South Africa, leading into a more detailed summary of CSM for DFE within South Africa to date. This is followed by a review of the development and application of CSM methods for DFE internationally, with a focus on the United Kingdom and Australia, where methods have been developed with the intention of national scale implementation. It is important to highlight that there is a plethora of CSM methods available internationally and this review is not exhaustive; it focuses on and identifies some of the strengths and weaknesses of several popular methods, particularly those intended for national scale application, as the intended outcome from this review is to identify a path towards the development of a usable national scale CSM system for DFE in South Africa. Emphasis on a usable method is important, considering the reality that, despite promising results, numerous benefits, and national scale methods being developed, it appears that the CSM method for DFE is rarely used in practice. <![CDATA[<b>An anomaly in pH data in South Africa's national water quality monitoring database - implications for future use</b>]]> The South African national water quality database (Water Management System) houses data records from several environmental monitoring programmes, including the National Chemical Monitoring Programme (NCMP). The NCMP comprises an extensive surface water quality monitoring programme, managed by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS). The purpose of this technical note is to alert users to a systematic anomaly recently observed in the pH dataset of the NCMP, reflected in an abrupt increase between pre- and post-1990 data records. Although the cause of the anomaly in pH could not be confirmed with high confidence, an inappropriate acid rinse procedure in pre-1990 analytical methods was identified as the most likely cause, based on available evidence. This was supported by the variation in relative sensitivity when comparing the effect on waters with different buffering capacities, i.e., water with low buffering capacity (represented by total alkalinity < 10 mg/L, as CaCO3) showing the largest anomaly, compared with waters of higher buffering capacity (represented by total alkalinity &gt; 30 mg/L, as CaCO3) showing the smallest anomaly. Historical pH data records in the NCMP (i.e. pre-1990), therefore should be used with caution, especially in more weakly buffered systems. The possibility of reconstructing data using a correction factor derived from detailed statistical analyses of the post-1990 pH characteristics at selected sites is a possible solution that could be investigated in future. A key lesson learnt is the need to be diligent in capturing detailed meta-data on sampling procedures and analytical methods in datasets spanning several generations. Availability of such information is critical in order to provide users with a means of evaluating the suitability and comparability of data records in long-term datasets. The DWS includes such meta-data in the current version of the database, dating from about 1995 onwards.