The hydrogeology of Botswana.
Jennings, Christopher Mark Hubert.
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Botswana covers an area of 570 000 km and has a population of about 600 000. It is estimated that three-quarters of the human and livestock populations are dependent on ground water, with an estimated 26 x 10 m of water from this source being used annually. Details of the physiography, climate, denudational and depositional surfaces and geology are given: Ground water occurs in both primary and secondary aquifers under both water-table and artesian conditions at varying depths from less than 1m to over 300m. The water-bearing properties of the various aquifers are described with the basalt/Cave sandstone contact providing the greatest number of successful boreholes and the sedimentary rocks of the Pretoria Group providing the highest yields (208,45 litres/minute). The shallowest water is found in the Kalahari Beds and the deepest in the Ecca Group. Detailed descriptions are given of the hydrogeology of the Central Kalahari, Lobatse, Orapa and Serowe. In the Lobatse area, estimates of the average monthly recharge rate have been made as well as estimates of the total storage capacity of the various ground-water basins. The percentage of annual rainfall contributing to ground water has also been calculated. An annual recharge rate has also been calculated for Serowe while the total amount of water in storage in the important Cave sandstone aquifer has been estimated. Hydrogeological details of the Kalahari Beds, basalt/Cave sandstone aquifer and Middle Ecca aquifers are given following core drilling programmes. ERTS photography was used to assist in obtaining a figure of 56 x 10 m of extractable water present in storage in the "sand rivers" of eastern Botswana. Detailed aquifer tests on a variety of aquifers are described and show that the secondary aquifers generally present often behave in a similar fashion to primary aquifer. Approximately 5 000 boreholes are presumed to be present in Botswana. It is estimated that 17% of the successful boreholes have yields in excess of 150 1/min. The siting of boreholes using geological/geophysical aids has resulted in an increase in the success rate of nearly 25%. New geophysical techniques for the location of ground water have been investigated and ground geophysical methods used include electrical resistivity, inductive and conductive electromagnetic, Afmag, self-potential and seismic reflection and refraction methods. The well-tried resistivity method remains the most successful technique but self-potential, Afmag and seismic methods have given encouraging results. Extremely detailed studies using environmental isotopes are described. These have enabled quantitative estimates of ground-water storage and turnover times to be made; have given round-water flow rates; have outlined areas of recharge; have enabled permeabilities to be calculated; have enabled a clearer picture of recharge mechanisms through the unsaturated zone to be built-up; and have provided important evidence of areas in which recent recharge has contributed to ground-water supplies. The studies have shown that measurable amounts of tritium are present over far wider areas than originally anticipated and thus more recharge is taking place than thought earlier from laboratory tests and hydrogeological considerations. In Lobatse a water balance model is proposed and calculations based on this model indicate that some leakage, hitherto unsuspected, between several of the ground-water basins, take place. The carbon-14 method has, in addition, helped outline areas of recharge (Central Basin, Lobatse) which tritium had failed to do and has shown by using combined 3H and l4C data that mixing of young and old waters takes place. In the Kalahari, radiocarbon has been used to calculate ground-water flow rates, permeability and transmissivity. The oldest ground water in Botswana has an age of 33 700 years. Isotopic studies in the unsaturated zone have shown that water moves given rates downward at a rate of between 31 and 41 cm per year. Studies of water levels in boreholes have shown that nearly all boreholes show responses which can be directly correlated with seasonal recharge and hence the nature and frequency of recharge can be estimated. In addition, storage capacity and safe yield have been estimated using long term water level changes and knowing the amount abstracted from the basin. The rapid responses shown in some boreholes indicates surprisingly rapid recharge. Two boreholes in Botswana showed effects of the Tulbagh earthquake on 29th September 1969. The disturbance of semi-diurnal fluctuations in boreholes could possibly be used as an early warning device to predict catastrophic earthquakes. A prelimlinary annual safe yield for ground-water supplies in Botswana is estimated to be 4 x 10 9 m3 per annum. Tree roots have been found in boreholes at depths greater than 68m. This emphasises the role vegetation can have in causing transpirational losses from ground-water supplies. Irrigation from boreholes is unlikely to be profitable unless exceptionally large supplies are obtained or water be present at very shallow depth. Underutilised boreholes, e.g. boreholes drilled specifically for cattle ranching, could also be profitably used for irrigation. Details of ground-water chemistry and examples of fresh water overlying saline, saline water overlying fresh, chemical stratification with depth and changes in quality with time are given. The distribution of fluoride rich waters in Botswana is also given. This thesis has therefore attempted to outline the current status of hydrogeological research in Botswana and it is hoped that this will lay the foundation for later, more detailed and quantitative, studies. These will become even more vital than at present, as it is estimated that all readily available surface water resources in eastern Botswana will be fully utilised by the late 1980's and the country will rely even more heavily on ground water than at present.