Umvoto’s role in Integrated Water Resource Management
Umvoto is geared towards promoting Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) by considering the three principles: social equity, economic efficiency, and environmental sustainability – the “Holistic Approach” – in finding solutions for clients. In addition, Umvoto also follows the “Monitor-Model-Manage Approach” in terms of groundwater management. These approaches have resulted in Umvoto’s long-standing relationship with Overstrand Local Municipality. Umvoto has been contracted as the Professional Service Provider since 2001 to undertake a variety of environmental and hydrogeological services for the municipality, including but not limited to wellfield development, water use licensing, and groundwater monitoring and compliance.
Table Mountain Group Aquifer Wellfields
The three fractured Table Mountain Group (TMG) aquifer wellfields in the greater Hermanus area (Gateway, Camphill and Volmoed Wellfields) are used conjunctively with surface water from the De Bos Dam, to ensure the optimal use of the water resources the municipality has access to. These three TMG wellfields are considered some of the best managed groundwater schemes in South Africa and are often used as an example of successful municipal groundwater bulk water supply. This has been best evidenced by the wellfields assisting the municipality in navigating both the 2009-2011 Southern Cape drought and the 2015-2018 “Day Zero” drought (the latter of which did not require severe water restrictions to be placed on Hermanus residents like the rest of the Western Cape). Additional bulk water supply from groundwater has allowed for continued economic development and social upliftment within the municipality, while the detailed groundwater monitoring network/programme ensures that there are no negative groundwater abstraction impacts to the surrounding environment such as groundwater-dependent ecosystems and the fynbos biome within Fernkloof Nature Reserve.
Hermanus as a case study
Umvoto has also been given opportunities to present the Hermanus groundwater supply case study at a number of conferences, including the Geological Society of South Africa (GSSA) Groundwater Division Conference, GSSA Geocongress, Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) annual conference, and most recently at the IAIAsa 2021 National Conference, where Hermanus was used as a case study to outline how groundwater utilisation can be used to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6, 11 and 13.