Hydrogeology Journal

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 321–330 | Cite as

Identifying transboundary aquifers in need of international resource management in the Southern African Development Community region

  • Jeff Davies
  • Nick S. Robins
  • John Farr
  • James Sorensen
  • Philip Beetlestone
  • Jude E. Cobbing
Paper

Abstract

Transboundary aquifer (TBA) management, in part, seeks to mitigate degradation of groundwater resources caused either by an imbalance of abstraction between countries or by cross-border pollution. Fourteen potential TBAs were identified within a hydrogeological mapping programme based on simple hydrogeological selection criteria for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. These have been reassessed against a set of data associated with five categories: (1) groundwater flow and vulnerability (which is perceived as the over-arching influence on the activity level of each TBA), (2) knowledge and understanding, (3) governance capability, (4) socio-economic/water-demand factors, and (5) environmental issues. These assessments enable the TBAs to be classified according to their need for cross-border co-operation and management. The study shows that only two of the 14 TBAs have potential to be the cause of tension between neighbouring states, while nine are potentially troublesome and three are unlikely to become problematic even in the future. The classification highlights the need to focus on data gathering to enable improved understanding of the TBAs that could potentially become troublesome in the future due to, for example, change in demographics and climate.

Keywords

Transboundary aquifer Africa Arid regions Over abstraction Groundwater management 

Identification des aquifères transfrontaliers nécessitée par la gestion internationale de la ressource dans la région de la Communauté de Développement de l’Afrique australe

Résumé

La gestion des aquifères transfrontaliers vise, pour partie, à réduire la dégradation de la ressource en eaux souterraines causée soit par des prélèvements déséquilibrés entre les pays soit encore par des pollutions transfrontalières. Quatorze aquifères transfrontaliers potentiels ont été identifiés dans le cadre d’un programme de cartographie hydrogéologique basé sur des critères de sélection hydrogéologique simples dans la région de la Communauté de développement de l’Afrique australe (CDAA). Ils ont ensuite été réévalués au regard d’une série de données regroupées en cinq catégories : (1) écoulements souterrains et vulnérabilité (qui est perçue comme d’une influence essentielle sur le niveau d’activité de chaque aquifère transfrontalier), (2) connaissance et compréhension, (3) capacité de gouvernance, (4) facteurs socio-économiques et de demande en eau, et (5) problèmes environnementaux. Ces évaluations permettent de classer les aquifères transfrontaliers en fonction des besoins en coopération et en gestion transfrontalière. L’étude montre que seuls deux des quatorze aquifères transfrontaliers peuvent probablement être la cause de tensions entre états voisins, tandis que neuf sont potentiellement préoccupants et que trois ne deviendront vraisemblablement jamais problématiques même dans le futur. Cette classification souligne la nécessité de mettre l’accent sur la consolidation des données pour permettre une compréhension améliorée des aquifères transfrontaliers qui pourraient de façon potentielle devenir préoccupants dans le futur du fait, par exemple, d’un changement démographique ou climatique.

Identificación de acuíferos transfronterizos en vista de la necesidad de la gestión internacional de recursos en la región sudafricana de desarrollo comunitario

Resumen

La gestión de acuíferos transfronterizos (TBA) busca, en parte, mitigar la degradación de los recursos de agua subterránea causada ya sea por un desequilibrio de la extracción entre países o por la contaminación transfronteriza. Se identificaron catorce potenciales TBAs dentro de un programa de mapeo hidrogeológico basado en un criterio simple de selección hidrogeológica para la región sudafricana de desarrollo comunitario (SADC). Estos han sido reevaluados en función de un conjunto de datos asociados con cinco categorías: (1) flujo de agua subterránea y vulnerabilidad (el cual es percibido como la influencia general sobre el nivel de actividad de cada TBA, (2) conocimiento y comprensión, (3) capacidad de gobernanza, (4) factores socio económicos y demanda de agua, y (5) aspectos ambientales. Estas evaluaciones permiten clasificar a los TBAs de acuerdo con su necesidad de la gestión y cooperación transfronteriza. El estudio muestra que solamente dos de los 14 TBAs tienen potencial para ser motivo de tensión entre estados vecinos, mientras que nueve son potencialmente problemáticos y existen tres de ellos que tienen una baja probabilidad de convertirse en problemáticos aún en el futuro. La clasificación resalta la necesidad enfocarse en la recopilación de datos para permitir la comprensión mejorada de los TBAs que pudieran potencialmente convertirse en problemáticos en el futuro debido a, por ejemplo cambios en la demografía y el clima.

A identificação de aquíferos transfronteiriços como necessidade para a gestão internacional do recurso na região da Comunidade de Desenvolvimento do Sul da África

Resumo

A gestão de aquíferos transfronteiriços (TBA) procura, em parte, mitigar a degradação dos recursos hídricos subterrâneos causada quer pela extração excessiva não balanceada entre países, quer pela poluição transfronteiriça. Catorze TBAs potenciais foram identificados dentro do programa de mapeamento hidrogeológico internacional, com base em critérios simples de seleção para a região da Comunidade de Desenvolvimento do Sul da África (SADC). Isto foi reapreciado em função de um conjunto de dados associados a cinco categorias: (1) fluxo de água subterrânea e vulnerabilidade (o qual é identificado como a influência mais abrangente no nível de atividade de cada TBA), (2) conhecimento e entendimento, (3) capacidade de governância, (4) fatores sócio-económicos/necessidades de água, e (5) questões ambientais. Estas avaliações permitem que as TBAs sejam classificadas de acordo com as suas necessidades para a cooperação e gestão transfronteiriças. O estudo mostra que apenas duas das 14 TBAs têm potencial para ser a causa de tensões entre estados vizinhos, enquanto nove têm potencial para ser problemáticos e três são pouco prováveis como fonte de conflitos, mesmo no futuro. A classificação mostra a necessidade de focar a atenção na recolha de dados, de modo a obter um melhor conhecimento e entendimento dos TBAs que podem potencialmente tornar-se problemáticos no futuro devido a, por exemplo, alterações demográficas e climáticas.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeff Davies
    • 1
  • Nick S. Robins
    • 1
  • John Farr
    • 2
  • James Sorensen
    • 1
  • Philip Beetlestone
    • 3
  • Jude E. Cobbing
    • 4
  1. 1.British Geological SurveyWallingfordUK
  2. 2.Wellfield Consulting ServicesGaboroneBotswana
  3. 3.SADC Groundwater and Drought Management ProjectGaboroneBotswana
  4. 4.SLR Consulting (South Africa) (Pty) LtdPretoriaSouth Africa

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