Spatial decision support system for hydrogeological studies in Table Mountain Group Aquifers, Western Cape Province, South Africa
Thesis (MA (Geography and Environmental Studies))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.
The Western Cape province of South Africa is a water scarce area with a Mediterranean climate. The majority of rainfall occurs in the cold winter months and the area experiences hot and dry summers. Studies done to investigate various water supply and water demand management options for the City of Cape Town, concluded that the Table Mountain Group (TMG) aquifer has the potential of yielding high volumes (estimated at 70Mm3/a) of good quality water, but that further research about this source as a potential augmentation supply to the City of Cape Town was necessary before extraction could commence. The aim of the study is to develop a spatial decision support system (SDSS) to be used by a hydrogeology project team, which includes hydrogeologists, environmentalists, ecologists, engineers and other stakeholders. The Table Mountain Group Aquifer (TMGA) SDSS is meant to be a decision support tool, but should also raise awareness about the use of spatial data and information and its capabilities for earth science and other multidisciplinary applications. By means of team discussions and interviews data, spatial analysis and data manipulation requirements were determined. Based on these requirements, four spatial analysis tools were developed. The spatial tool named “Borehole Analysis” analyses stratigraphic information obtained from existing boreholes and hydrogeological point data. The tool determines what groundwater use and monitoring has been undertaken in the area of interest. The “Topographic Analysis” tool identifies any topographical (e.g. rivers) and cadastral (e.g. farm boundaries) data within a certain distance from a possible borehole site. The “Sensitive Area Analysis” tool addresses queries with respect to sensitive areas, such as wetlands, statutory protected areas and private nature reserves. The “Image Classification” tool gives the team members an opportunity to use band ratios during image interpretation. The TMGA SDSS was developed using TNTmips v70, Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Spatial Manipulation Language (SML) and can be run on TNTAtlas v70, which is a free software. The TMGA SDSS enables the team members to have equal and ready access to data acquired by other members. This was found to support intra- and interdisciplinary conversation and facilitate understanding of how the data is being (or could be) used. It also contributes to levels of confidence in decision-making and supports a holistic approach to project design and implementation. Keywords: decision-making, geographic information system (GIS), spatial decision support systems (SDSS), spatial manipulation language (SML)