Groundwater quality monitoring : An approach to groundwater resource quality protection
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Resource protection is considered by the National Water Act (Act No. 36, 1998) of South Africa as one of the methods that can lead to resource management. Furthermore, the Water Services Act (Act No. 108, 1997) regards people as having rights of access to basic water supply of sufficient quality. In this thesis the importance of water resource quality monitoring as a means of water resource protection is highlighted. The aim is towards management and sustainability of water resources in order to serve the current and future generation. The protection measures also focus on ecosystem protection to maintain as well as to restore ecological integrity. Several methods to protect water res ources are outlined . The review also focuses on Resource Quality Objectives (RQOs) as form of groundwater resource protection. In such, several attributes onto which the RQOs can be applicable to are hig hlighted. On the water qua lity monitoring side , an emphasis is placed on th e bacteriological quality of water for protection of public health. Several methods of identifying bacteria in water are discussed as well as the methods of report ing the analyses. The bacteriological quality of wate r is discussed under the l ight of water for basic human needs (domestic purposes). The way to interpret the results from a bacteriological examination point of view is also highlighted . On applic ation, the KwaZulu-Natal Coastal aquifer has be en chosen for groundwater protection purposes. The specific site is Mbazwana, in Northern KwaZulu-Natal. T he wells of this region were sampled for bacteriological as well physico-chemical water quality. The results from the tests revealed that the domestic waters of this region are contaminated, with 61 % of the tested/ sampled wells polluted by bacteria of faecal origin. Both the H2 S strip method and the standard method of bacteriological water quality examination were used for these purposes. In terms of physico-chemical water quality, the water sampled proved to be suitable for drinking purposes i.e. they meet the requirements of South African water quality guidelines. The bacteriological water quality does not meet http://etd.uwc.ac.za/ lll the above-mentioned guidelines, therefore the RQOs set plays a role to improve the water resources of this region to a desired state that will be unlikely to pose health risks to public. Based on categories of modifications of water resource units, the groundwater resources of the Northern KwaZulu-Natal revealed to be moderately modified with apparent modifications observed. This means that management rules to protect, manage and conserve the water resources are required. These management rules are RQOs, that are set to avoid further unnecessary water quality degradation while improving the current status of water resources.