3.7 Evaluation and Way Ahead

The Atlantis Water Supply Scheme is an excellent example of wise and efficient water use, including water recycling for potable services. It has also alleviated some of the pressure on the surface water resources in the region, especially with impending impacts of climate change and further population/economic growth. The availability of surface water may eventually be restricted due to the rapid development of the Cape West Coast and the lack of local water resources. Hence, the groundwater resources and the associated water recycling system will remain of critical importance for ensuring a water supply to Atlantis. This, however, requires that the Atlantis Water Supply Scheme be managed efficiently.

Proper management and operation of MAR systems is complex, but it is of utmost importance in order to secure required water volumes and quality. Suggested aspects for improved management and operation of the Atlantis Water Supply Scheme system include the following (Bugan et al., 2016; Tredoux et al., 2009a).

  • Interventions to stem the declining abstraction rates and rising groundwater levels require (e.g., de-clogging existing boreholes or drilling and establishment of new production wells). The implementation of such interventions would greatly improve the security of water supply.
  • Reinstatement of monitoring activities that have been declining since 2005 because current monitoring only provides for empirical computation of the water balance. It is essential that a monitoring program be maintained for all the water balance components. The scheme will need dedicated staff for specialist monitoring and assessment. It cannot continue to rely on consultants. A number of guidelines and manuals have recently been developed (Jovanovic et al., 2014) that can serve for capacity building of staff in the management and operation of the system.
  • Development and implementation of a groundwater protection plan because the aquifer is unconfined and vulnerable to pollution.
  • Development and implementation of a risk management plan with updated monitoring to prevent risks from new and emerging contaminants.
  • Improvement of wastewater treatment processes based on the outcomes of the studies done in Atlantis and preparation for potential stormwater treatment to ensure that water quality remains acceptable.

The general success and operation of the Atlantis Water Supply Scheme is promising in terms of establishment of similar systems in the arid and semi-arid areas of South Africa and the entire African continent in order to mitigate water stresses. Many lessons learned from the Atlantis experience can be transferred to other sites. However, each site will have to design unique engineering and management solutions depending on the specific sources of water, water demand and hydrogeological settings.


Managed Aquifer Recharge: Southern Africa Copyright © 2021 by Eberhard Braune and Sumaya Israel. All Rights Reserved.