As the below average rainfall for the West Coast of the Western Cape persists, farmers of the region are coming to realise and appreciate the importance of responsible and sustainable groundwater management and conjunctive surface and groundwater use. The commercial farming sector in the Piketberg area is becoming more reliant on groundwater to augment shortfalls in the usual surface water supply. This seems to be the new norm for farmers on the West Coast as climate trends indicate continued water stressed periods in years to come. However, it is important to remember that groundwater, as a finite resource, requires monitoring and management.
Umvoto assists several prominent commercial fruit farmers in finding, developing, managing, and regulating their water resources. Most recently Umvoto assisted a pome fruit farmer to assess the regional and local groundwater potential of the farm as current surface water supply system could no longer meet demand. To assess the baseline condition of the fractured aquifers underlying the farms and to compliment the desktop analysis undertaken, a hydrocensus and field mapping exercise was conducted. This provided not only invaluable information related to the underlying geology of the area, but also gave details such as borehole locations, depth, yield, construction, quality, and use. Through an iterative process of decreasing uncertainty and risk, Umvoto identified two areas of increased groundwater potential and undertook Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) surveys to identify exploration borehole drilling locations within the identified exploration areas. In the next phase of work exploratory drilling and test pumping will be undertaken to determine the sustainable yield of the individual boreholes as well as the combined yield and best management practice for the groundwater resource as a whole.