Preliminary Conceptual Model of the GIS based Rainwater Harvesting Decision Support System

J. Mwenge Kahinda, E.S.B. Lillie, R.J. Boroto, R. Dube, and A.E. Taigbenu (South Africa)


Rainwater Harvesting, Geographic Information System, Decision Support System, South Africa


In water scarce countries such as South Africa, less conventional water sources such as Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) are increasingly pursued in order to reconcile demand and supply. Unreliable water supply is regarded as one of the elements central to the poverty level of a large section of the population in Africa [1]. It is advocated that RWH holds the opportunity to contribute to the equitable, efficient and sustainable use of water resources by alleviating temporal and spatial water scarcity, providing water beyond the basic human needs and, hence, enabling small-scale productive activities. Previous studies have established the socio-economic and hydrological impacts of RWH at plot scale, however little is known about its impacts at catchment scale. As RWH is promoted beyond household scale and gains wider acceptance, the associated social, economic, hydrologic and environmental impacts will require a better understanding. The paper presents the initial thinking for the structure of a GIS based RWH Decision Support System (DSS), its envisaged functionality as well as its data requirement. The RWH DSS aims to provide the means for quantifying and qualifying potential impacts associated with the large scale adoption of RWH in South Africa.

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