Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Water SA]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1816-795020130001&lang=es vol. 39 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Trihalomethanes in drinking water</b>: <b>effect of natural organic matter distribution</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100001&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Effects of distribution of natural organic matter (NOM) on formation and distribution of trihalomethanes (THMs) in municipal water were investigated. Water samples were fractionated using serial ultrafiltration with membranes of molecular weight cut-off (MWCO) values of 500, 1 000 and 3 000 Da. The resulting 4 fractions of water with NOM of (i) < 500 Da; (ii) 500 Da - 1 kDa; (iii) 1 kDa - 3 kDa; and (iv) &gt; 3 kDa were separated. Variable amounts of bromide ion (0, 40, 80, 120 and 200 µg/l were added to these samples. The samples were chlorinated at pH of 6 and 8.5 and held at 20°C for various reaction periods (3, 8, 28, 48 and 96 h). The results demonstrate that the higher molecular weight NOM is strongly correlated with UV254 and specific ultraviolet absorbance (SUVA), while the lower molecular weight NOM is weakly correlated with UV254 and SUVA. Increase in bromide ion concentration increases total THM formation. Fractions of brominated THMs decrease with increasing NOM molecular size. Lower molecular weight NOM forms more brominated THMs than the corresponding higher molecular weight NOM. Increase of bromide to chlorine ratio decreases chloroform and increases brominated THMs. Increase in pH increases chloroform and decreases brominated THMs. This study demonstrates that the distribution of NOM and bromide ion can have important role on the distribution of THMs in drinking water. <![CDATA[<b>Infrasonic backpulsed membrane cleaning of micro- and ultrafiltration membranes fouled with alumina and yeast</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Membrane fouling is universally considered to be one of the most critical problems in the wider application of membrane filtration. In this research microfiltration and ultrafiltration membranes were fouled during a cross-flow filtration process, using yeast and alumina suspensions in a flat cell. Infrasonic backpulsing directly into the permeate space was then used to clean the membrane, using both permeate water and soap solutions. Ultrasonic time domain reflectometry (UTDR) was used to detect and measure the growth of fouling on membrane surfaces, during the filtration and cleaning processes. The objective of this work was to examine the efficiency of back-pulse cleaning, using different combinations of membrane materials and foulants, in flat cells. The results show that a flux value of between 60% and 95% of the clean water value can be recovered after cleaning, by using a sequence of three 6.7 Hz backpulses, each pulse being 35 s long with a peak amplitude of about 140 kPa. <![CDATA[<b>Evaluating 5 and 8 pH-point titrations for measuring VFA in full-scale primary sludge hydrolysate</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100003&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es An evaluation of 5 and 8 pH-point titrimetric methods for determining volatile fatty acids (VFAs) was conducted, and the results were compared for tap water and primary treated wastewater at the laboratory scale. These techniques were then applied to full-scale primary sludge hydrolysate, and the results were compared with those obtained via gas chromato-graphy. The comparison showed that the VFA concentrations measured with the two titration methods were higher than those obtained via gas chromatography, differing by 9 and 13 mg COD-£-1 for the hydrolysate and by 5 and 6 mg COD-£-1 for the ordinary primary settler effluent. No improvement in the accuracy of VFA concentration measurement was obtained from applying the 8 pH-point titration method instead of the 5 point method. The 5 pH-point method was successfully applied to determine VFA in full-scale primary sludge hydrolysate and was shown to be equally efficient to the methods that are routinely-used for this purpose. <![CDATA[<b>A rapid method for determining chlorobenzenes in dam water systems</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100004&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es A method using direct immersion solid phase microextraction (DI-SPME) coupled to gas chromatography equipped with a flame ionisation detector (GC-FID) was developed for the analysis of 7 chlorinated benzenes in dam water. The main parameters affecting the DI-SPME process were optimised. The optimised method comprises the use of a 100 µιη polydi-methylsiloxane (PDMS) fibre coating; 5 ml sample size; 700 r/min rate of agitation and an extraction time of 30 min. The calibration curve was linear with correlation coefficients ranging from 0.9957-0.9995 for a concentration range of 1-100 ng/ml. The limits of detection and quantification ranged from 0.020-0.265 ng/ml and 0.204-2.65 ng/ml, respectively. Recoveries ranged from 83.6-107.2% with relative standard deviation of less than 9.2%, indicating that the method has good precision. The method is reliable and is free of matrix interferences. Water samples collected from Grootdraai Dam were analysed using the optimised conditions to assess the potential of the method for trace level screening and quantification of chlorobenzenes. The method proved to be efficient, as 1,3 dichlorobenzene, 1,4-dichlorobenzene and pentachlorobenzene were detected at concentrations of 0.429 ng/ml, 1.685 ng/ml and 1.433 ng/ml, respectively. <![CDATA[<b>Electrocatalytic performance of PbO<sub>2</sub> films in the degradation of dimethoate insecticide</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100005&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This study was performed to find the best experimental conditions for the electrochemical removal of the insecticide dimethoate (C5H12NO3PS2) from aqueous solutions using a lead dioxide niobium anode. The process was studied under galvanostatic polarisation mode. The influence of applied current density (10-50 mA.cm-2), initial chemical oxygen demand COD0 (100-550 mg.l-1), temperature (30-70°C) and pH (3-11) on COD and instantaneous current efficiency (ICE) was studied. The results showed that almost 90% of COD removal was achieved under optimal experimental conditions, indicating that electrochemical oxidation on a PbO2 anode is a suitable method for treatment of water polluted with dimethoate. It was found that the decay of COD generally followed a pseudo first-order kinetic and the oxidation rate was favoured by increasing the applied current density, temperature, pH and initial COD. The greatest COD removal (90%) was obtained when using an applied current density of 50 mA.cm-2, COD = 320 mg.l-1, pH = 11, T = 70°C and electrolysis time = 8 h. <![CDATA[<b>Sorption of toxic metal ions in aqueous environment using electrospun polystyrene fibres incorporating diazole ligands</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100006&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Electrospun polystyrene fibres incorporating potassium salts of pyrazole-l-carbodithioate and imidazole-l-carbodithioate were employed as sorbents for heavy metals from aqueous environments. The equilibrating time, initial metal concentrations and sorbent mass for optimal adsorption were 40 min, 5 mg/l and 8 mg, respectively. The optimal pH for metal ion uptake was between 6.3 and 9.0 and was found to be dependent on the basicity of the ligands. Protonation constants for the ligands in aqueous solutions were determined potentiometrically; pK of the imidazole was 6.82 while that of the pyrazole was 3.36. The efficiencies of adsorption and desorption of metals on the imidazolyl-incorporated sorbents were more than 95%, up to the fifth cycle of usage. The limits of quantification were < 0.0145 mg/l for all the metals. Accuracy of the determinations, expressed as relative error between the certified and observed values of certified reference groundwater samples was < 0.2% with relative standard deviations < 3%. Electrospun polystyrene fibres incorporating imidazoles proved to be efficient sorbents for divalent heavy metal ions in aqueous environments as their efficiencies exceeded those of chitosan microspheres, ion-imprinted composites, amino-functionalised mesoporous materials and most of the biomass-based sorbents previously reported on. <![CDATA[<b>Pedological criteria for estimating the importance of subsurface lateral flow in E horizons in South African soils</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100007&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es E horizons formed in soils by reduction and eluviation are considered to be an indicator of subsurface lateral flow (SLF) between the A and B horizons - a hydrological process important in generating streamflow. There is, however, uncertainty in the interpretation of the hydropedological behaviour of some E horizons. This study used a physical index (SLFI) to estimate the importance of SLF in profiles with E horizons, where SLFI is <img src="/img/revistas/wsa/v39n1/07e05.jpg" align="absmiddle"> Data were obtained from the South African Land Type database. For criteria development, 156 profiles were used and an additional 80 profiles were used to validate the criteria. SLFI values were determined for the 156 profiles and then divided into 3 groups, with high, medium and low values. The basic hypothesis was that the individual quantifiable and qualitative soil and landscape properties influencing the pedogenesis of E horizons, and their integrated pedogenetic expression in soil forms, would be most and least strongly expressed in the profiles of the 'high' and 'low' SLFI groups, respectively. This concept was employed in a unique way to allocate numerical values expressing the estimated importance of the criteria with regard to SLF. In order to validate the pedological criteria the 80 test profiles were subjected to a similar procedure to that used to develop the criteria, resulting in an integrated pedological criterion value for each profile, which was then correlated against its SLFI value. Selected measured properties, i.e. organic matter, Fe, Mn and clay content, of the test profiles were also correlated against their SLFI values in the validation process. The results provide supporting evidence for the validity of the pedological criteria. <![CDATA[<b>The hydrological characterisation and water budget of a South African rehabilitated headwater wetland system</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100008&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This paper presents a synopsis of the findings of a valley bottom wetland monitoring study in which dominant hydrological processes maintaining the system are quantitatively defined. The Craigieburn-Manalana is a wetland subjected to technical rehabilitation, at the headwaters of the Sand River in the lowveld savanna region of South Africa. Findings include the identification of a rapid water delivery mechanism from the surrounding hillslopes to the wetland following a threshold-exceeding precipitation event, when hillslope-toe soil matric potential is close to 0, leading to a raising of the wetland water table by >0.7 m within 3 h. A summary of quantified fluxes and associated water budget of the wetland and its contributing catchment is developed. It is revealed that this wetland does not necessarily conform to the typical assumptions that wetlands augment low flows. Surface layer scintillometry shows actual wetland evapotranspiration to dominate the water budget during the dry season (2.3-3.5 mm/d) compared to its contributing catchment (0.9-2.2 mm/d), whilst stream discharge had ceased. Hydrograph separation, based on stable isotopes (18O), revealed that the wetland does not attenuate peak flows during the summer rains when the wetlands soil moisture deficit is close to 0, since more than 66% of stream discharge comprised event water. These results are discussed within the context of current hydrological understanding of southern African headwater wetlands, such as dambos. <![CDATA[<b>Development of a customised design flood estimation tool to estimate floods in gauged and ungauged catchments</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100009&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The estimation of design flood events, i.e., floods characterised by a specific magnitude-frequency relationship, at a particular site in a specific region is necessary for the planning, design and operation of hydraulic structures. Both the occurrence and frequency of flood events, along with the uncertainty involved in the estimation thereof, contribute to the practising engineers' dilemma to make a single, justifiable decision based on the results obtained from the plethora of 'outdated' design flood estimation methods available in South Africa. The objectives of this study were: (i) to review the methods currently used for design flood estimation in South Africa for single-site analysis, (ii) to develop a customised, user-friendly Design Flood Estimation Tool (DFET) containing the latest design rainfall information and recognised estimation methods used in South African flood hydrology, and (iii) to demonstrate the use and functionality of the developed DFET by comparing and assessing the performance of the various design flood estimation methods in gauged catchments with areas ranging from 100 km² to 10 000 km² in the C5 secondary drainage region, South Africa. The results showed that the developed DFET will provide designers with an easy-to-use software tool for the rapid estimation and evaluation of alternative design flood estimation methods currently available in South Africa for applications at a site-specific scale in both gauged/ungauged and small/large catchments. In applying the developed DFET to gauged catchments, the simplified 'small catchment' (A < 15 km2) deterministic flood estimation methods provided acceptable results when compared to the probabilistic analyses applicable to all of the catchment sizes and return periods, except for the 2-year return period. Less acceptable results were demonstrated by the 'medium catchment' (15 kirf < A < 5 000 kirf) deterministic and 'large catchment' (&gt; 5 000 km2) empirical flood estimation methods. It can be concluded that there is no single design flood estimation method that is superior to all other methods used to address the wide variety of flood magnitude-frequency problems that are encountered in practice. Practising engineers' still have to apply their own experience and knowledge to these particular problems until the gap between flood research and practice in South Africa is narrowed by improving existing (outdated) design flood estimation methods and/or evaluating methods used internationally and developing new methods for application in South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Association between physical and geochemical characteristics of thermal springs and algal diversity in Limpopo Province, South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100010&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Algal species commonly occur in thermophilic environments and appear to have very wide geographical distributions. Presence of algal species is strongly influenced by temperature, pH and mineral content of thermal waters. No research has previously been documented on the algal diversity in South African thermal springs. This paper describes the algal distribution in 6 thermal springs in Limpopo Province, South Africa, and attempts to link this to the physical and geochemical properties of the springs. Water samples were collected from Mphephu, Siloam, Tshipise, Sagole, Eiland and Soutini thermal springs and algae identified. Temperature, pH and TDS were measured on site and water samples analysed for macro- and trace-elements. Cyanophyta was the algal group most often present, followed by Bacillariophyta, Chlorophyta, Euglenophyta and Dinophyta. Some of the algae were present in waters with pH ranging from 7.1-9.7 and temperatures ranging from 40-67°C. Others (the cyanobacteria and green algae: Nodularia, Schizothrix, Anacystis, Coelastrum, Chlorella and Spirogyra) only occurred in high temperature (60+°C) and pH&gt;9 waters, while a number of diatoms (Synedra, Aulacoseira, Nitzschia, Cyclotella, Gyrosigma, Craticula) occurred exclusively at temperatures <45°C and pH values <8. Algae were also present in waters with fluoride values exceeding that which is considered safe for human consumption as well as in waters relatively rich in uranium, rubidium, vanadium and manganese. It was clear that the occurrence of algae coincided with specific geological formations. These algae could act as indicator species of geology and heavy metals. <![CDATA[<b>Epipelic diatoms in the estuaries of South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100011&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Epipelic diatom flora was sampled around the South African coast between the Olifants Estuary, on the cool Atlantic Ocean northwest coast, and the St. Lucia Estuary, on the Indian Ocean northeast coast. Altogether, 333 taxa were identified with 14 being ubiquitous, as they were found in the cool temperate, warm temperate, and subtropical areas, as well as in St. Lucia Estuary situated close to Mocambique. There was little difference between the epipelic diatom species present in intertidal and subtidal areas and, because many of the species have a high tolerance to salinity, with some being found in conditions ranging from freshwater to a salinity of more than 150 psu, it was concluded that many of the species sampled do not appear to be reliable indicators for assessing salinity in South African estuaries. Although there was a wide spread of diatoms across all of the estuaries around the coast, the greatest species similarity occurred between the Olifants, Great Berg and Breede estuaries, suggesting that the Breede Estuary, normally considered to fall within the warm temperate region, may be more similar to the cool temperate type estuaries. Data also showed that there was very little similarity between the diatom flora in the rivers flowing into estuaries and the diatom flora in the estuaries. <![CDATA[<b>First results on bathymetry, stratification and physicochemical limnology of a small tropical African reservoir (Malilangwe, Zimbabwe)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100012&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The study provides a 9-month record of Malilangwe Reservoir water chemistry periodicity, for the period between February and October 2011. Malilangwe Reservoir is a small (211 ha), shallow (mean depth 4.54 m) reservoir situated in the southeastern lowveld of Zimbabwe. The reservoir has not spilled in nearly 11 years, which makes it a unique system as most reservoirs of comparable size spill annually. This is the first bathymetric and limnological study of the reservoir where the morphology and physicochemical quality of the water body were examined. The reservoir was not strongly stratified during the hot-wet and hot-dry season with oxygen depletion of < 2 mg£-1 DO being observed in the bottom layers (<6 m depth). Nutrient concentrations varied throughout the seasons. The reservoir exhibited marked seasonal fluctuations in water level, which decreased by over 149 cm between February and October. The N:P ratio rose to as high as 10.9 and generally reflected high levels of phosphorus in the reservoir. There were significant differences (p<0.05) in Secchi depth transparency between the study sites. Differences observed in water quality were due to water level fluctuations, with poor water quality conditions being experienced during the hot-dry season and the cool-dry season when water levels were low. The reservoir was classified as being mesotrophic. Therefore, there is a risk of eutrophication, especially since the reservoir is currently merely a sink for nutrients. <![CDATA[<b>Market dynamics as a driver towards the evolution of research needs</b>: <b>the case of up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket seeding granules</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100013&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Market dynamics offer positive (incentive) or negative (disincentive) feedback loops that shape the research needs for, or certain aspects of, a particular technology. Our case study results illustrate how market dynamics have influenced the evolution of research needs in the wastewater treatment sector, with specific emphasis on research on the seeding granules used to start up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors. Because of insufficient data on the actual market demand for seeding granules for UASB plants, surrogate data, on the number of UASB plants installed internationally from 1970 to 2007, were used to predict the potential future demand for seeding granules. Secondly, we also determined whether or not such a demand would provide sufficient economic justification for the installation of one or more plants for manufacturing seeding granules in South Africa. The direct relationship between the demand for seeding granules and increased numbers of UASB plants was based on the premise that the start-up of each plant required a seeding inoculum before effluent could be treated. Three methods were used to obtain the data used in this study, namely: a literature survey, a questionnaire survey, and interviews with people having expert knowledge of wastewater treatment technologies. Our findings suggest that the UASB technology has largely been marginalised in the wastewater treatment market because of the introduction of competing technologies, and due to high initial capital costs. As a result, South African market demand for the seeding granules is likely to be very small or non-existent, because the number of new UASB plants installed per year is likely to decrease in future. Secondly, our research suggests that market dynamics, political contexts and technologies will continue to change, exerting an increasing downward influence on the UASB technology over time. <![CDATA[<b>Scenarios for the South African Water Sector in 2025</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100014&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es In 2008 the Water Research Commission initiated a project to develop 'Water Sector Institutional Landscape in 2025 Scenarios'. The aim was to build knowledge about key drivers and uncertainties related to the future of the South African water sector. A diverse group of stakeholders contributed to the development of the drivers, which translated into different scenarios and associated stories that have potential implications for social and economic development, as well as for the management of water resources and water services. The four scenarios were derived from a matrix with two axes that represent the ability of the decision-making paradigm of water institutions to deal with complexity, and the reconciliation of environmental, social and economic demands of present and future generations (sustainability). The Wise Tortoise scenario describes a sector which deals with complexity and is sensitive to sustainability issues, whereas the Ignorant Ostrich scenario describes the opposite conditions. The Greedy Jackal and Busy Bee scenarios describe the other combinations of the key drivers. The scenarios provide stakeholders and policy-makers in South Africa's water sector with insights to strengthen decision-making and to counter undesirable trajectories of change. The knowledge will empower role players in the water sector to engage in participative governance by equipping them with insights into potential futures that the South African water sector may face. This paper reports on the process to develop these scenarios for the South African water sector institutional landscape in 2025, presents the key forces, introduces the stories, and reflects on the use of scenarios in the water sector. <![CDATA[<b>Freshwater conservation planning in South Africa</b>: <b>Milestones to date and catalysts for implementation</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100015&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Since the 1970s, at approximately 10-year intervals, 4 national-scale freshwater conservation plans have been developed for South Africa. These 4 plans reflect different but broadly advancing approaches to conservation planning. We provide an overview of 3 historical plans and a more detailed discussion of the most recent plan which is based on a systematic approach. The main principles of systematic conservation planning, namely, to achieve representation, persistence and efficiency, are introduced. We then describe how these principles were used to develop National Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas (FEPAs) for the whole of South Africa. A strong implementation orientation influenced the development of FEPAs. End users were engaged throughout the planning process and map products were designed with user needs as well as relevant policy and legal contexts in mind. We believe that the process that was followed in developing FEPAs marks a new level of implementation-driven planning. Remaining constraints to effective implementation now lie mainly on the side of the receiving environment - i.e. the operating environments of those agencies with mandates to manage and conserve freshwater ecosystems. To this end we highlight 4 potential catalysts for effective implementation in the receiving environment, namely, absorptive capacity, multi-party cooperation, science extension and adaptive management. We conclude by calling for a new and broad research initiative linked to implementing FEPAs. <![CDATA[<b>Abundance, distribution and population trends of Nile crocodile <i>(Crocodylus niloticus)</i> in Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100016&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) is an iconic or keystone species in many aquatic ecosystems. In order to understand the abundance, distribution, and population trends of Nile crocodiles in Gonarezhou National Park (GNP), southeastern Zimbabwe, we carried out 4 annual aerial surveys, using a Super Cub aircraft, along 3 major rivers, namely, Save, Runde and Mwenezi, between 2008 and 2011. Our results show that Runde River was characterised by a significant increase in Nile crocodile abundance whereas both Save and Mwenezi rivers were characterised by non-significant increases in Nile crocodile abundance. Overall, we recorded a significant increase in total Nile crocodile population in the three major rivers of the GNP. The non-significant increase in Nile crocodiles in the Mwenezi and Save rivers was likely due to habitat loss, through siltation of large pools, and conflicts with humans, among other factors. We suggest that GNP management should consider halting crocodile egg collection in rivers with low crocodile populations and continuously monitor the crocodile population in the park. <![CDATA[<b>The effect of ultrasound at 256 KHz on <i>Microcystis aeruginosa,</i> with and without gas vacuoles</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100017&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The effect of ultrasound on the growth of M. aeruginosa confirmed to contain gas vacuoles and on a laboratory culture with no gas vacuoles was investigated. Both cultures were treated continuously for 9 d with an ultrasonic flow device. To evaluate the influence of ultrasound during the treatment, the chlorophyll-a concentration was measured daily. Furthermore, changes in culture characteristics, e.g., flotation and gas vesicle formation, were determined. The results showed that, in contrast to the control, both ultrasonic-treated cultures had a lower chlorophyll-a concentration and cell aggregates were disrupted. Transmission electron microscopy confirmed a collapse of gas vacuoles in the environmental culture, while the laboratory culture, which did not contain gas vacuoles, showed many membrane-damaged cells. It was concluded that ultrasonic treatment of M. aeruginosa caused the disruption of gas vacuoles and destruction of cell membranes. <![CDATA[<b>Flood map development by coupling satellite maps and three-dimensional drafting software</b>: <b>case study of the Sarawak River Basin</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100018&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Flood maps are important for local authorities in designing mitigation plans to minimise damage and loss due to flooding. In recent years, flood events in the Sarawak River Basin, Malaysia have caused damage to property, loss of life and disruption of productive activities. Currently, the available flood map for Sarawak River Basin is generated using InfoWorks River Simulation (InfoWorks RS) and spot levels are captured using the Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) system. However, the high cost of this flood mapping technique has motivated the development of an advanced but low-cost flood mapping method. This study was carried out to test the feasibility of using Google Earth coupled with Autocad Civil 3D in generating flood maps. Google Earth was used to obtain the elevation data, while Autocad Civil 3D was used to plot the water level surface. Data for the maximum water level, recorded since 1960, for 12 water level stations were fed into the model for flood map generation. This research confirmed that Autocad Civil 3D coupled with Google Earth is feasible for generating an updated and accurate flood map, after comparison with 2 flood maps developed previously. <![CDATA[<b>Reviewers</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1816-79502013000100019&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Flood maps are important for local authorities in designing mitigation plans to minimise damage and loss due to flooding. In recent years, flood events in the Sarawak River Basin, Malaysia have caused damage to property, loss of life and disruption of productive activities. Currently, the available flood map for Sarawak River Basin is generated using InfoWorks River Simulation (InfoWorks RS) and spot levels are captured using the Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) system. However, the high cost of this flood mapping technique has motivated the development of an advanced but low-cost flood mapping method. This study was carried out to test the feasibility of using Google Earth coupled with Autocad Civil 3D in generating flood maps. Google Earth was used to obtain the elevation data, while Autocad Civil 3D was used to plot the water level surface. Data for the maximum water level, recorded since 1960, for 12 water level stations were fed into the model for flood map generation. This research confirmed that Autocad Civil 3D coupled with Google Earth is feasible for generating an updated and accurate flood map, after comparison with 2 flood maps developed previously.