Parameter and input data uncertainty estimation for the assessment of water resources in two sub-basins of the Limpopo River Basin

Oosthuizen, Nadia; Hughes, Denis A.; Kapangaziwiri, Evison; Mwenge Kahinda, Jean-Marc; Mvandaba, Vuyelwa

The demand for water resources is rapidly growing, placing more strain on access to water and its management. In order to appropriately manage water resources, there is a need to accurately quantify available water resources. Unfortunately, the data required for such assessment are frequently far from sufficient in terms of availability and quality, especially in southern Africa. In this study, the uncertainty related to the estimation of water resources of two sub-basins of the Limpopo River Basin – the Mogalakwena in South Africa and the Shashe shared between Botswana and Zimbabwe – is assessed. Input data (and model parameters) are significant sources of uncertainty that should be quantified. In southern Africa water use data are among the most unreliable sources of model input data because available databases generally consist of only licensed information and actual use is generally unknown. The study assesses how these uncertainties impact the estimation of surface water resources of the sub-basins. Data on farm reservoirs and irrigated areas from various sources were collected and used to run the model. Many farm dams and large irrigation areas are located in the upper parts of the Mogalakwena sub-basin. Results indicate that water use uncertainty is small. Nevertheless, the medium to low flows are clearly impacted. The simulated mean monthly flows at the outlet of the Mogalakwena sub-basin were between 22.62 and 24.68 Mminline-formula3 per month when incorporating only the uncertainty related to the main physical runoff generating parameters. The range of total predictive uncertainty of the model increased to between 22.15 and 24.99 Mminline-formula3 when water use data such as small farm and large reservoirs and irrigation were included. For the Shashe sub-basin incorporating only uncertainty related to the main runoff parameters resulted in mean monthly flows between 11.66 and 14.54 Mminline-formula3. The range of predictive uncertainty changed to between 11.66 and 17.72 Mminline-formula3 after the uncertainty in water use information was added.

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Oosthuizen, Nadia / Hughes, Denis A. / Kapangaziwiri, Evison / et al: Parameter and input data uncertainty estimation for the assessment of water resources in two sub-basins of the Limpopo River Basin. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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