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Developing Climate Change Adaptation Measures and Decision-Support System for Selected South African Water Boards

A Water Research Commission Project (K5/2018)

The project aimed to quantify the likely changes in various hydro-climate variables (rainfall, evaporation, groundwater recharge, runoff, water quality, etc.), but also the uncertainty in these changes, as they will impact on future water management plans and sustainable development. The proposed project aimed to investigate climate change adaptation measures for a water board, in the context of developmental changes by developing generic estimation tools, monitoring strategies and a decision support framework. The framework identified risks, vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies to climate change in order to allow the water boards to fulfill their water supply delivery mandates. The study undertook the analysis in cooperation with Amatola Water Board, a medium size water board in South Africa. The project ran for three years from April 2010 to March 2013.

The aims of this project were:

  1. To identify potential impacts and threats to sustainable water services delivery posed by climate change, as well as the uncertainties associated with these, with regards to changes in water quantity, water quality and socio-economic developments. This will be done through application of existing or newly developed estimation tools that can be used to convert downscaled Global Climate Models (GCM) output data to likely changes (including uncertainties) in the variables that impact directly on the operations of water boards (water quantity and quality). Part of the estimation process will include timescales of the expected changes.
  2. Develop a methodology for assessing risks and vulnerabilities (including uncertainties in predictions) to climate change for Water Boards and their capacity to fulfill their mandate on water services delivery.
  3. Develop a strategy and monitoring network for water audits in order to monitor indicators of change.
  4. Derive Thresholds of Potential Concerns (TPCs) for water quality and quantity issues for Water Boards related to raw and potable water, discharges, pricing effects, etc. based on the outputs of the climate models.
  5. Develop a decision-support framework for an adaptive management strategy to assess and modify water services delivery and development plans of the Water Boards in terms of infrastructure repair and developments, water conservation and demand management, water pricing changes and other associated issues.

Project Team

Project leader: Prof. Denis Hughes, IWR, Rhodes University
Researchers: Dr. Sukhmani Mantel, Dr. Andrew Slaughter
Post-graduate students: Mr. Thabiso Mohobane (PhD, graduated 2014)
Collaborators: Amatola Water Board

Project Deliverables

Individuals and organizations interested in the progress of the project can access the project deliverables and other resources as they are completed and added to this web page.

Deliverable 1: Year 1 workshop report
Deliverable 2 Quantifying water quantity and quality impacts associated with climate change
Deliverable 3: Quantifying expected changes that are not directly related to climate change and first annual report
Deliverable 4: Report on the outcomes of the second workshop
Deliverable 5: Further refinement of expected climate change [quantity and quality and their integration] and non-climate related changes
Deliverable 6: Design and Costing of a Monitoring Network and Initial Proposal for a Decision Support System for Water Boards
Deliverable 7: Report on the Outcomes of the Third Workshop and Second Annual Report
Deliverable 8: Design and documentation of a decision support system for developing adaptation strategies to climate change
Final Deliverable: Informing the Responses of Water Service Delivery Institutions to Climate and Development Changes: A Case Study in the Amatole Region, Eastern Cape
K52018 Final Deliverable 2014 (7990.1 kb) (includes all previous deliverables)

Journal publication

Mantel S.K., D.A. Hughes and A.S. Slaughter (2015) Water resources management in the context of future climate and development changes: A South African case study. Journal for Water and Climate doi:10.2166/wcc.2015.098.

Last Modified: Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:01:32 SAST