Groundwater resource evaluation and protection in the Cape Flats, South Africa
Adelana, Segun Michael Adegboyega
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The analysis of geologic, hydrologic and hydrogeologic data interpreted to give the characteristics of the Cape Flats aquifer showed the quality of groundwater from the aquifer is suitable for development as a water resource. The conceptual model of the Cape Flats sand shows an unconfined sandy aquifer, grading into semi-confined conditions in some places where thick lenses of clay and peat exists. Recharge rates through the saturated zone of the Cape Flats aquifer have been determined by water table fluctuation (WTF), rainfall-recharge relationship, soil water balance and chloride mass balance methods (CMB). Recharge rates using the WTF vary considerably between wet and dry years and between locations, with a range of 17.3% to 47.5%. Values obtained from empirical rainfall-recharge equation (method 2) agree with those of the WTF. Recharge estimates from the water balance model are comparatively lower but are within the range calculated using empirical method 2 (i.e. 87 - 194 mm or 4 – 21% of MAP). These recharge rates also agree with estimates from the series of other methods applied to sites located in the north-western coast of Western Cape and are comparable to recharge rates obtained elsewhere in the world.