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Home The River Basin People and the River Governance Resource Management
Resource Management
Water Demand
Water Infrastructure
The Value of Water
Resource Monitoring
 Importance of Monitoring
 Existing Monitoring
Information Systems
 River Health
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Information Systems  

Information Systems are essential for the efficient management of water resources, as they can allow for quick and easy access to data as well as providing for data quality control.


The type of data collected in a river basin is described in Importance of Monitoring. This will necessarily include extensive databases on boreholes, hydrometry, water use, quality etc. at numerous locations and over a long period of time. After collection, the data needs to be made useful and accessible, to assist river basin management stakeholders. Modern data collection equipment means that water resources (WR) information systems are more likely to be in digital form. This is the case especially for Angola, where many systems are being recreated from zero. Digital information systems should allow more efficient and more equitable access to WR information, but clearly depend on an adequate level of IT and communications infrastructure.

Hydrometric data are an important basis for an appropriate information system.
Source: Tump 2008
( click to enlarge )

The war in Angola from 1975 to 2002 prevented data collection, destroyed hydrometric stations and boreholes and inevitably destroyed records. Good paper archives of hydrometric data are in existence in Angola for the period prior to 1975, and projects are in place aiming to rebuild hydrometric stations and transcribe paper archives into meaningful hydrometric records (Petterson 2004 and World Bank 2008). These archives contain water level and flow data for up to 189 hydrometric stations around the country.

With respect to borehole data, studies of the National Laboratory for Civil Engineering (LNEC) refer to several hundred test boreholes in the Kunene river basin (LNEC 1996). LNEC refers to plans agreed between the Portuguese and Angolan governments  to develop a comprehensive borehole database, using existing test and production boreholes. This database was to be based on an existing Portuguese system and was planned to record more than 80 borehole parameters, including data on location, use, water productivity, chemical quality, levels, land ownership, borehole depth and diameter etc. It is not clear whether or not the database was ever created.

In Angola, information systems to provide access to WR data need to be developed in parallel with the rehabilitation of resource monitoring systems such as hydrometric stations. The lack of comprehensive and accessible information systems about the river basin and about water resources, on both sides of the border, will hold up plans for sustainable river basin management.


Hardcopy Data

About 40 000 hardcopy records of Borehole Completion Forms of WW-numbered (specifies location) boreholes are available. These forms capture farm name and number (the most consistent way to locate land information in Namibia), borehole depth, depth of water strikes and associated yields, lithology and borehole casing material, and, for more recently drilled boreholes, GPS location. The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) is custodian of these data sets.

Some 90 000 chemical analyses of water samples for major ions as well as various bacteriological parameters are also available. In addition, about 30 000 groundwater samples were analysed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR, South Africa) during the CSIR Water Quality Project between 1965 and 1981.

In addition, NamWater reports monthly on pumping rates for production boreholes.

Electronic Data

There is a relatively complete set of data for boreholes drilled before 1990. Changing database platforms, coupled with the development of these databases and a lack of resources and capacity, has led to a substantial backlog in the harmonisation of these datasets. A new database (GROWAS) was introduced in 2004.

Surface water information in Namibia is managed in the hydrological database of the Hydrology Division in the Department of Water Affairs of Forestry, applying the HYDSTRA software.

Groundwater and Surface Water Abstraction

Under the Water Act of 1956, permits for large-scale groundwater abstraction are required only in Groundwater Control Areas of Namibia.




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