The North West dolomite aquifers, South Africa: a stalled opportunity for water security and development

The karst dolomite aquifers of the North West Province in South Africa are among the most important in the nation. They serve as key water sources for municipal water supply and irrigation, and are also ecologically important in supplying springs that feed important rivers. Over-abstraction and consequent falling groundwater levels jeopardize water supply security, with increasing costs and risks to sustainable development. Better aquifer and conjunctive water management would improve water supply security and lower costs, with wider benefits to many sectors. This GRIPP Case Profile discusses these challenges and management experiences through the examples of two representative North West dolomite aquifers - the Grootfontein and Steenkoppies aquifers.