Ms. Chipo Mungenge, PhD Student at Rhodes University, South Africa holding a phytoplankton net used to sample the pan ecosystems. Photo credit: Chad Keates

Using data to bridge the gap between conservation and groundwater management

JRS grantee Southern African Development Community – Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI) is mobilizing data for the sustainable management of groundwater dependent ecosystems in the Khakea/Bray Transboundary Aquifer, a critical source of freshwater shared by both Botswana and South Africa. They work with an impressive network of research scientists that hail from across the region, including the Aquatic Systems Research Group (ASRG), the University of the Free State’s Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS), University of Mpumalanga, and the University of Venda.

In Southern Africa, a growing reliance on groundwater due to climate change calls for a deeper understanding of the biodiversity linked to transboundary water sources. Data from groundwater dependent ecosystems (i.e. wetlands and rivers) is critical to inform decisions for sound groundwater management region-wide.

Mr. Frank Bute MSc student at Rhodes University, South Africa collecting sediment samples, while cattle are utilizing the pan for drinking. Photo credit: Chad Keates.


Clicking Stream Frog (Strongylopus grayii) Photo credit: Chad Keates

SADC’s project hopes to better document the cause-effect relationship between changes in groundwater quality and groundwater levels as well as related changes in the biodiversity found in groundwater dependent ecosystems.