oa Civil Engineering = Siviele Ingenieurswese - Atmospheric water - potential resource of the future?

Volume 31, Issue 10
  • ISSN : 1021-2000



It is already well known that by early next century rising demand on South Africa's conventional surface and ground water resources will cause water shortages to be severe and frequent. Available data on water in the atmosphere suggests that approximately 6.1012 m3 of water, mainly in vapour form, is transported annually over the South African land mass. This is ten times the volume that will, on average, reach the surface of South Africa as natural precipitation. The rest is destined never to reach the ground. even though it may appear temporarily in the form of droplets or ice particles in clouds. If an additional one per cent of the water in the atmosphere could be induced to precipitate at ground level, this would increase rainfall by 10 per cent, equivalent in volume to the mean annual runoff in all of South Africa's rivers. Widespread benefits, not only for runoff, but also for dryland agriculture and forestry, are instinctively suggested.

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