oa Civil Engineering = Siviele Ingenieurswese - Surface water resources of South Africa

Volume 31, Issue 10
  • ISSN : 1021-2000



Water is arguably South Africa's most precious natural resource. Research and investigations have shown that groundwater resources in South Africa are relatively meagre. South Africa's major water supplies are and will probably always be derived mainly from surface resources. South Africa's climate is semi-arid with an average rainfall of 475 mm/a, compared with 735 mm for the USA and 860 mm for the world as a whole.1 In South Africa about nine per cent of the precipitation, ie 43 mm or about 52.109 m3/a, reaches the river systems as runoff. The economically exploitable proportion of this is estimated at 34.109 m3/a, ie 67 per cent of the total. It is predicted that all of this will be fully exploited by the year 2020.2

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