Better water management for uMngeni River
uMngeni River in eastern South Africa is stressed by uneven water availability to meet the water demand from the population and the agricultural sector, as well as problems with the water quality. The area has a number of large dams, as well as many small irrigation dams. To meet the water demand in the area, water is transferred in water lines from the adjacent Mooi River. At the estuary the larger city of Durban is situated. Local authorities need a support system that can provide a basis for planning and decision-making on water management in the region.
Sweden and South Africa have initiated a bilateral cooperation with the goal of creating a decision support system for rivers. Sweden is represented by SMHI. In the first part of the project, SMHI set up the hydrological calculation model HYPE for uMngeni River basin and collected the data on the river that are available. This was done together with researchers from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The first phase of the work is summarized in the report "Source to sea: tracing causes of water quality problems and evaluating potential mitigation options. Case study of uMngeni river, South Africa". In the second phase, SMHI together with local representatives fine-tuned the model and used it to evaluate different scenarios that can be used as a basis for the water management in the area. Further information about the second step is in the report "Evaluating the Impact of Scenarios in Greater uMngeni Area, South Africa" below. Additional scenarios including climate change and further model improvements are planned in the next phase as the project continues through 2018.
Sweden and South Africa have created a bi-national commission, BNC, in which common issues in areas such as research are discussed and developed. The work of the BNC is mainly carried out in a number of committees. At this year's BNC meeting in Stockholm, a new Committee on Environment, Water and Energy was established . The committee took up work by SMHI on the air environment, water and climate as areas where the countries can continue to develop their cooperation.
In order to investigate adverse health effects on groups of people exposed to air pollution, SMHI surveyed the levels in South Africa in 2015. SMHI also participated in a mission to South Africa in March 2015, along with Sweden's environmental ambassador and representatives of other Swedish authorities. Valuable contacts were made during the trip between SMHI and scientists and government officials in South Africa.