Water resource planning in South Africa: Addressing the challenges of scarcity and drought

Friday, February 17, 2023

In semi-arid and arid areas, where precipitation and runoff are highly variable resulting in long periods of drought, effective planning is essential to manage risks and ensure adequate water supply. South Africa has long been involved in the development of practical methodologies and models for managing its water resources, with the aim to address the following key aspects: the assessment of water supply potential, the sizing of regulation storage, dam and system operations, managing risk and planning for the possible impacts of climate change.

An important aspect of water resources planning in South Africa is Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), explains Ms Ione Loots, course leader in Water Resources Planning at Enterprises University of Pretoria (Enterprises UP). This approach to water management seeks to balance social, economic, and environmental goals by considering the entire water cycle and all water users, including households, agriculture, industry, and the environment. “With IWRM, the government and other stakeholders work together to ensure that water is used sustainably and equitably.”

According to Loots, a holistic approach to water resource planning in South Africa is vital in addressing the challenges of scarcity and drought. “By implementing measures for water conservation, developing new water sources, improving water infrastructure and management systems, and promoting IWRM, we can ensure that water is used sustainably and equitably for the benefit of all South Africans.”

Enterprises UP’s course in Water Resources Planning is focussed on practical experience in the Water Resources Yield Model and its role in the planning process. It is a great source of knowledge for those wanting to further their professional careers in water-related fields including water infrastructure development plannng and hydrological modelling.