An assessment of the contribution of surface and subsurface flows to river flows of the Sandspruit in the Berg River Catchment, South Africa.
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Studies have shown that the primary origin of salinity in river flows of the Sandspruit in the Berg Catchment located in the Western Cape Province of South Africa was mainly a result of atmospheric deposition of salts. The salts are transported to rivers through surface runoff and subsurface flow (i.e. through flow and groundwater flow). The purpose of this study was to determine the contributions of subsurface and surface flows to the total flows in the Sandspruit, Berg Catchment. Three rain events were studied. Water samples for two rain events were analysed for environmental tracers ?18O, Silica or Silicon dioxide (SiO2), Calcium (Ca2+) and Magnesium (Mg2+). Tracers used for two component hydrograph separation were ?18O and SiO2. The tracers, Ca2+ and Mg2+, revealed inconsistent contributions of both subsurface flow and surface flow. Two component hydrograph separations indicated is that groundwater is the dominant contributor to flow, while surface runoff mainly contributes during the onset of the storm event. Groundwater response to precipitation input indicated that boreholes near the river have a quicker response than boreholes further away from the river. Boreholes nearer to the river also indicate higher water levels in response to precipitation, in comparison to boreholes further from the river.