A framework for addressing the information needs of catchment water quality management
The process of catchment water quality management must be built on sound philosophies and appropriate information. Over the last few years, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry in South Africa has been reviewing and developing the philosophical support for catchment water quality management and has initiated a number of catchment plans. The translation of these philosophies into management information needs, which is supported by appropriate assessment of data obtained by monitoring the physical catchment, requires concomitant development. This paper provides a framework to anchor the scientific-technical support to catchment water quality management. The first part of the framework deals with the classification of the physical system, providing the conceptual 'platform' for monitoring, assessment and management. This is based on the definition of four physical process elements representing the components of water quality management, namely production, delivery, transport and use. The second part of the framework involves the definition of an assessment 'super-structure', building on these elements. This provides the link between the physical system and management in formation needs, through monitoring and assessment. The paper ends by providing an integrated framework, which indicates possible types of assessment associated with the different phases of the catchment water quality management process.