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Artificial recharge is not a new concept in South Africa. The Atlantis scheme near Cape Town has been operational for over 20 years, and farmers throughout the region have built numerous earth dams for the purpose of enhancing groundwater recharge. Since 1997 the Water Research Commission, the Department of Water Affairs and municipalities have supported research, feasibility studies and the implementation of schemes. Examples in Southern Africa are summarised in Section B.3 (p 38) of the Artificial Recharge Strategy.

Location of Case Studies of Artificial Recharge Projects

(click on the locations on the map for extracts of case studies )
case study map Omdel Windhoek Karkams Williston Calvinia langebaan Atlantis Prins Albert Plettenberg Bay Polokwane
Case studies that are extracted from the WRC booklet are indicated with an astirisk (*) below.

The full reference for this booklet is: -
Murray EC, 2004. Artificial Groundwater Recharge: Wise Water Management for Towns and Cities. Water Research Commission Report No TT 219/03.

Recent initiatives in getting AR projects off-the-ground is described in the November 2010 report
Potential Artificial Recharge schemes: Planning for Implementation. 

In here you will find chapters on the following case studies:

Plannning and Implementations schemes Download the : -
Low resolution Report - (7 MB)
High Resolution Report - (15MB)
  • The Prince Albert case study is an example of how an aquifer can rapidly be replenished to ensure it is full prior to the onset of summer. This example is described in detail and can serve as a guide for future studies of this nature.
  • The Plettenberg Bay study provides an example of an opportunity to utilize more of the aquifer’s storage by drawing water levels down deeply and then transferring winter runoff to replenish the aquifer prior to summer.
  • The Sedgefield study presents an opportunity to utilize a sand aquifer to treat the town’s waste water for re-use.
  • The Langebaan study proposes a way forward after an initial borehole injection test.
  • The Hermanus study looks at the possibility of diverting household roof runoff (and potentially urban runoff) into the sand aquifer for household irrigation.
  • The Vermaaks River Valley assessment provides an example of opportunistic artificial recharge with storm runoff.
  • The Sand Dams section gives examples of areas potentially suitable for augmenting small-scale irrigation supplies. 
  • The Lephalale case study presents a recommendation of simultaneously developing wellfields and artificial recharge schemes.
  • Kenhardt is an example of how an existing dam with a low assurance of supply can be used for opportunistic artificial recharge.
  • Kathu provides an example of how mine water abstracted during the de-watering process can be used to replenish a town’s groundwater supplies.

The Prince Albert and Plettenberg Bay case studies include all the factors that affect the potential success of a project, and can be used as a template for other investigations.