A hydrogeomorphological approach to quantification of groundwater discharge to streams in South Africa
van Tonder, Gerrit J.
MetadataShow full item record
In South Africa, the flow requirements for maintaining the normal functioning of aquatic ecosystems is termed the “ecological reserve”, and these should be determined when a licence application for water allocation is processed. Determination of the ecological reserve entails investigation of the relationship between the major interactive components of the hydrologic cycle, namely groundwater and surface water bodies including rivers, lakes and estuaries. Information on groundwater discharge towards surface water bodies is critical for the water resource manager to make a decision regarding the amount of groundwater allocation that can be licensed without causing a negative impact on aquatic ecosystems. Existing techniques of hydrograph-separation are too subjective either due to the fact that assumptions of the techniques cannot be met in reality or that the parameters used in models do not have physical meanings. This paper presents a geomorphologic framework under which the quantification of groundwater from a hydrograph is discussed. A focus is placed on hydrogeomorphological typing that can be used to guide a process of separating groundwater discharge time series from hydrographs where a monthly groundwater discharge time series is required for comparison with instream flow requirements. For generating monthly groundwater discharge time series, a generic procedure is proposed, which is applied in a case study.