Namib-Naukluft region groundwater resource management projects

In the framework of a longer-term collaboration between the Universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town, South Africa, the University of Namibia, Namibia, and UNIL, the water resources in the Namib-Naukluft area of Namibia are being studied in this extremely dry and fragile ecosystem that is of economic, albeit largely touristic importance to Namibia. The ultimate aim of the project is to help the Namibian Government understand the quality and the resource potential of the groundwater sources, vital for this region. With several collaborative Masters and Honours studies completed, the first constraints on the hydrogeology and hydrochemistry of the groundwaters were obtained and the resource potential can now be evaluated. Recently finished and present studies are further investigating and refining this basic understanding, evaluating the mean residence times of the groundwaters, their longer-term recharge rates as well as local and regional sources of natural and anthropogenic contaminants, including a number of groundwaters with excess nitrate concentrations, for example. The research, so far generously supported by the Foundation for National Research (FNR), South Africa, as well as the Fondation Herbette of UNIL, focuses on geochemical and isotopic approaches to understand the infiltration processes across the desert soils, the recharge rates and hence an assessment of the water quality and changes thereof with time.



Participants: Laurent Decrouy, Eric Verrecchia, Jorge Spangenberg, Torsten Venneman
Masters students: Laurence Devantay, Anaël Lehmann


Typical recent publications
Vennemann T., Reymond C., Buffat A., Desponds L., Morel C., Naude K., Miller J., and Mapani B., 2013. Unravelling complex groundwater recharge and transport of contaminants using combined stable and radioactive isotope tracers. Goldschmidt Conference Abstracts 2013, Florence, Italy, August 2013, Gold2013:abs:5921.
Vennemann T., Reymond C., Buffat A., Desponds L., Morel C., Naude K., Miller J., and Mapani B. Stable isotopes in the service of water resource management in the Namib-Naukluft area of Namibia, 34th International Geological Congress, 2012, Brisbane, Australia.
Vennemann T.W., Reymond C., Bernhard C., Naude K., and Miller J., (2010). N and O isotope composition of nitrate in aquifers of the Naukluft Mountain region, Namibia. Goldschmidt Conference Abstracts 2010, A1079.