The Development of a Framework for Managing Water Resource Quality and Objectives in the Orange-Senqu River BasinProject Number:
South AfricaContracting Authority:
European Development Fund
International Water Unit,
Botswana, Dept. of Water Affairs, Lesotho, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Namibia and Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, South AfricaContract Value:
20,000 Euro Project Start Date:
01 November 2009 Project Duration:
This activity is intended to support ORASECOM to develop approaches to water quality management that maintains appropriate sovereignty of the Member States, are consistent with the resource constraints in the Member States, and that recognise the commitment to cooperate and share skills and best practices. The aim of this report is to produce a vision and supporting framework for how the organisation wishes to address water quality management. In order to establish a regionally effective water management and quality assurance system, which is capable of assessing future monitoring (and donor-funded specific studies), the Member States may choose to (a) provide support under the auspice of the current Technical Task Team, (b) designate an Implementing Agent, (c) employ consultants through ORASECOM, or (d) instigate the formation of a Task Team with specific responsibilities for monitoring, laboratory analysis, information and data management.
Taking into account the current financial and human resource constraints in the region, an initial monitoring network is proposed only for the purposes of transboundary water management, which makes use of current national monitoring locations. Selection criteria for transboundary monitoring resulted in the identification of an initial list of 11 relevant surface monitoring locations, six in the Upper Orange-Senqu catchment with five in the Lower Orange catchment on the Namibian-South African border. Proposals for the incorporation of further key transboundary monitoring points into the network are expected from the Member States following the presentation of the draft report, e.g. additional monitoring points in the Middle Vaal system may be added.
An initial set of priority monitoring variables has been identified for each of the proposed monitoring stations. Their selection is based on existing data and knowledge, known pollution sources and the sensitivity of specific water users. The concept of Trigger Values for each variable is also proposed and may in the future be decided by ORASECOM for each of the monitoring variables at each site based on knowledge of potential pollution sources and water uses. The breeching of a value would initiate a response from ORASECOM to ask for a detailed investigation of the problem to be carried out by bilateral organisations, or possibly for ORASECOM to initiate investigations independently with support provided from donor agencies.
Priority monitoring variables and trigger values (TV) are proposed for the following water uses in the Upper Orange-Senqu and the Lower Orange catchment areas - agriculture (aquaculture, irrigation and livestock watering); domestic, ecosystem protection, industrial and recreation. The TVs will need to be agreed on a bilateral basis for each sampling station based on the current status, historical trend and level of protection required by the Member States. The basis for a transboundary groundwater monitoring programme (as part of the regional monitoring programme) is suggested for the four main transboundary aquifers. A proposal is made for qualitative and quantitative monitoring. A decision is required from the Member States in relation to the choice of monitoring boreholes.
Without an appropriate QA/QC system in place, any attempt to perform monitoring on a transboundary level may result in a lack of trust between the Member States arising from a lack of traceability of data, a lack of harmonization of procedures applied by the laboratories: from the sampling step on the field to data given back (concentration measurements accompanied with their uncertainty), and even a lack of representativeness (data not reflecting the reality). Therefore, the basis for an effective regional analytical quality control is outlined. This includes the introduction of (i) analytical accuracy targets for monitoring the quality of water, and (ii) a performance-testing scheme, which can be established and implemented as the primary inter-laboratory quality control program in the Orange-Senqu River Basin, with the participation of the laboratories involved in future transboundary water quality monitoring.
With respect to future data management, National Information Managers (NIMs) are proposed in order to take responsibly for collection of the data from designated Member State NRLs) involved in the monitoring programme, where the data from sampling and analysis are generated. NIMs may take responsible for data checking, preparation in an agreed data exchange file format (DEFF) ready for sending to the Central Point. Storage of monitoring data is proposed under the auspice of the South Africa DWAF in their Water Management System Water Quality Database extending the datasets to include data from Botswana (groundwater only), Lesotho and Namibia. An assessment of the collated data can be presented by ORASECOM in a summary annual report on an annual basis, highlighting the status of the Orange-Senqu River Basin in respect to water quality.
In order to agree the preferred route for the development of a regional framework for water quality management, a separate questionnaire, which accompanies this report, has been provided to each Member State to determine their preferences relating to the above issues, namely:
- Options for Institutional Development
- Options for a Monitoring Network (surface water and groundwaters)
- The selection of monitoring variables for the water quality monitoring network
- Options for the introduction of a QA/QC system
- Options of the use of Trigger Values as a management tool for ORASECOM
- Options for data management
The responses of the Member States will be collated during early 2010 and incorporated into this report, which will then represent the principle foundation of the regional development of water quality management framework for ORASECOM. Future development of the framework will be driven by ORASECOM with support from GTZ.