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Hydrological impact of rainwater harvesting in the Modder river basin of central South Africa

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dc.contributor.author Welderufael, W.A.
dc.contributor.author Woyessa, Y.E.
dc.contributor.author Edossa, D.C.
dc.contributor.other Elsevier: Agricultural Water Management
dc.date.accessioned 2016-02-02T09:10:45Z
dc.date.available 2016-02-02T09:10:45Z
dc.date.issued 2011-05-23
dc.date.issued 2011
dc.identifier.issn 03783774
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11462/713
dc.description Published Article en_US
dc.description.abstract Along the path of water flowing in a river basin are many water-related human interventions that modify the natural systems. Rainwater harvesting is one such intervention that involves harnessing of water in the upstream catchment. Increased water usage at upstream level is an issue of concern for downstream water availability to sustain ecosystem services. The upstream Modder River basin, located in a semi arid region in the central South Africa, is experiencing intermittent meteorological droughts causing water shortages for agriculture, livestock and domestic purpose. To address this problem a technique was developed for small scale farmers with the objective of harnessing rainwater for crop production. However, the hydrological impact of a wider adoption of this technique by farmers has not been well quantified. In this regard, the SWAT hydrological model was used to simulate the hydrological impact of such practices. The scenarios studied were: (1) Baseline scenario, based on the actual land use of 2000, which is dominated by pasture (combination of natural and some improved grass lands) (PAST); (2) Partial conversion of Land use 2000 (PAST) to conventional agriculture (Agri-CON); and (3) Partial conversion of Land use 2000 (PAST) to in-field rainwater harvesting which was aimed at improving the precipitation use efficiency (Agri-IRWH). SWAT was calibrated using observed daily mean stream flow data of a sub-catchment (419 km2) in the study area. SWAT performed well in simulating the stream flow giving Nash and Sutcliffe (1970) efficiency index of 0.57 for the monthly stream flow calibration. The simulated water balance results showed that the highest peak mean monthly direct flow was obtained on Agri-CON land use (18 mm), followed by PAST (12 mm) and Agri-IRWH land use (9 mm). These were 19 %, 13 % and 11 % of the mean annual rainfall, respectively. The Agri-IRWH scenario reduced direct flow by 38 % compared to Agri-CON. On the other hand it was found that the Agri-IRWH contributed to more groundwater flow (40 mm) compared to PAST (32 mm) and Agri-CON (19 mm) scenarios. These results are in line with the intended purpose of Agri-IRWH. Although there was a visible impact of the rainwater harvesting technique on the water yield when considered on a monthly time frame, the overall result suggests that the water yield of one of the upper Modder River Basin quaternary catchment may not be adversely affected by the Agri-IRWH land use scenario despite its surface runoff abstraction design. en_US
dc.format.mimetype Application/PDF
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Elsevier: Agricultural Water Management
dc.relation.ispartofseries Agricultural Water Management;8
dc.title Hydrological impact of rainwater harvesting in the Modder river basin of central South Africa en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dc.rights.holder Agricultural Water Management

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