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Title: Identification and delineation of groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs) in the Khakea–Bray transboundary aquifer region using geospatial techniques.
Authors: Rampheri, Mangana Berel.
Dube, Timothy.
Dondofema, Farai.
Dalu, Tatenda.
University of the Western Cape
University of the Western Cape
University of Venda
University of Mpumalanga
Keywords: Analytical hierarchy process.;Explanatory variables.;Groundwater-dependent.;Ecosystems; Khakea–Bray.;Transboundary aquifer.;Sentinel-2.
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Abstract: Identifying and delineating groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDEs) is critical in understanding their location, distribution and groundwater allocation. However, this information is inadequately understood due to limited available data for most areas where they occur. Thus, this study aims to address this gap using remotely sensed, analytical hierarchy process (AHP) and in situ data to identify and delineate GDEs in the Khakea–Bray transboundary aquifer region. The study tested various spatial-explicit GDE indices that integrates environmental factors that predict occurrence of GDEs. These include the normalized difference vegetation index as a proxy for vegetation productivity and modified normalized difference water index as proxy formoisture availability, land-use and landcover, topographical factors such as slope, topographic wetness index, flow accumulation and curvature. The GDEs were delineated using the weighted overlay tool in a Geographic Information System (GIS) environment. The thematic output layer was then spatially classified into two classes, namely, GDEs and non-GDEs. The results showed that only 1.34% of the area is characterised by GDEs covering 721,908 ha. Overall, identified GDEs were found mostly on a gentle slope on the large portion of shrubland and grassland. The derived GDEs map was then statistically compared with groundwater level (GWL) data from 22 boreholes that occur in the area. Our results indicated that: GDEs are concentrated at the northern, central and south-western part of the study area. The validation results showed significant overlapping of GDEs classes with both the groundwater level (GWL) and rainfall in the study area. The results show a possible delineation of GDEs in the study area using remote sensing and GIS techniques along with AHP and is transferable to other arid and semiarid environments. The results of this study contributes to identifying and delineating priority areas where appropriate water conservation programmes for sustainable groundwater development can be implemented.
Description: Published version.
DOI: 10.1080/10106049.2023.2172217
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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