Conceptual Issues and Case Study Applications

Report No 749/1/04



This project, a component of the Hydrological Modelling Systems Programme funded by the WRC at the School of Bioresources Engineering and Environmental Hydrology (formerly the Department of Agricultural Engineering) at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg, commenced in 1996 and was completed in 2002.

a) Objectives

The project objectives were

b) Motivation and Method

The motivation for this project was that water related issues, which often result in conflicts over allocation and use, be managed holistically, through working partnerships between researchers and stakeholders. These stakeholders may be water users, land holders, environmental interest groups, communities and government agencies, as well as NGOs. Such holistic management would require, inter alia, versatile agrohydrological modelling tools with process representations and configurations appropriate for southern African conditions.

The ACRU modelling system was to be the 'carrier' for this project because it was deemed suitable to be applied simultaneously as a

Apart from further model development, specialist fieldwork, decision support and database development, a major methodological focus of this project was to be the application of the model in appropriate case studies.

c) Directions given . . . directions taken

It was in the course of this project that major conceptual rethinking took place in regard to ICM, which is a very far-reaching overarching concept of water management and which, in hindsight, was found to be beyond the scope of a project such as this. The focus of this report is, therefore, rather on Integrated Water Resources Management, IWRM, which is a (still wide-ranging) subset of ICM (cf. Chapter 1). Simultaneously, the late 1990s saw major paradigm shifts in the management of water resources as well as, of course, the promulgation of the National Water Act of 1998. The ushering in of this Act had major repercussions on directions taken in, and research undertaken through, this project, and many of the chapters bear testimony to that.

In light of the project's objectives, motivations, methods and new directions which evolved during the project's duration, this report of 14 chapters is presented in three broad sections:

A number of the chapters titles and most of the chapter subheadings have been posed as questions to which the respective contents provide some answers. Each chapter, while linked conceptually and contextually to the others, can in essence be read as an entity.