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Home The River Basin People and the River Governance Resource Management
The River Basin
Climate and Weather
 Principles of Hydrology
 Water Cycle
 Surface Water
SW/GW Interactions
 Water Balance
 Hydrology of Southern Africa
 Hydrology of the Kunene Basin
Water Quality
Ecology & Biodiversity



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Surface Water / Groundwater Interactions  

Groundwater and surface water can be closely linked even when separated spatially. Each contributes to the other, with these interactions playing an important role in the hydrology of a region (USGS 2009).

Due to the hard-rock geology of most of southern Africa, groundwater-surface water interactions in the region generally occur only in narrow strips of alluvium along river channels, Cenozoic sand deposits fringing the coastline of the continent, or in the primary aquifers in Kalahari sand deposits, such as those found in the Middle Kunene (Scott and Le Maitre 1998).

Vegter and Pitman (1996) subdivided the interactions into three main categories:

  1. Influent or losing streams: where the water table is below the stream bed and water flows from the stream bed through a porous material to recharge the groundwater (below).
  2. Effluent or gaining streams: where the water table is above the stream and groundwater feeds into the stream (lower left).
  3. A fluctuating water table: where the water table shifts up and down, determining periodic influent or effluent flow (lower right).
Influent or losing stream.
Source: Commonwealth of Australia 2006
( click to enlarge )
Effluent or gaining stream.
Source: Commonwealth of Australia 2006
( click to enlarge )
A fluctuating water table.
Source: Commonwealth of Australia 2006
( click to enlarge )




Explore the sub-basins of the Kunene River

Video Interviews about the integrated and transboundary management of the Kunene River basin

Explore the interactions of living organisms in aquatic environments

Examine how the hydrologic cycle moves water through and around the earth