Agricultural groundwater management strategies and seasonal climate forecasting: perceptions from Mogwadi (Dendron), Limpopo, South Africa

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
Date
2019-03-01
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
16
142-157
Series
Journal of Water and Climate Change, Volume 10, issue 1
Abstract
This paper explores the agricultural groundwater management system of Mogwadi (Dendron), Limpopo, South Africa – an area associated with intensive use of hard rock aquifers for irrigation – and the potential contribution of seasonal forecasts. These relatively shallow aquifers are often perceived as ‘self-regulating’, yet climate variability and infrequent recharge episodes raise the question of whether seasonal forecasting could contribute to more sustainable groundwater use. Hydro-meteorological observations, interviews and repeat focus groups with commercial farmers were used to examine this question for the 2014–15 rainfall season, with follow-up interviews during the 2015–16 El Niño season. Two long-term borehole series showed effects of episodic recharge events and management interventions. Comparison of formal and informal management practices highlighted important contrasts: a perceived lack of formal coordination within governing bodies, contrary to high levels of informal coordination between farmers despite a persistent ‘tragedy of the commons’ problem. Seasonal forecast use was limited due to lack of awareness and understanding of their relevance, low credibility and trust of forecasts, and poor dissemination. Farmers expressed increased interest in such information after the 2015–16 drought, if tailored to their needs. Increased uptake is, however, contingent on complementary groundwater monitoring network improvements and enhanced cooperation between stakeholder groups.
Description
Keywords
agriculture, climate variability, commercial farmers, groundwater management, seasonal forecast, South Africa, INFORMATION, SUSTAINABILITY, SAFE YIELD, RISK, VARIABILITY, AQUIFER, ADAPTATION, SYSTEMS, RAINFALL, Groundwater management, Seasonal forecast, Commercial farmers, Climate variability, Agriculture
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Citation
Fallon, A, Villholth, K G, Ebrahim, G Y, Conway, D & Lankford, B A 2019, ' Agricultural groundwater management strategies and seasonal climate forecasting: perceptions from Mogwadi (Dendron), Limpopo, South Africa ', Journal of Water and Climate Change, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 142-157 . https://doi.org/10.2166/wcc.2018.042