Groundwater quality characterization to protect biodiversity in SADC region (Southern African Development Community)

  • Stefania Vitale
  • Maurizio Barbieri
  • Giuseppe Sappa
Keywords: Secosud, groundwater, Limpopo National Park, GIS


The following paper describes the first phase of a study held in the context of the SECOSUD Phase II project, called “Conservation
and equitable use of biological diversity in the SADC region (Southern African Development Community), which aims at promoting
biodiversity conservation and sustainable economic development in the SADC [1]. The Southern African Development Community
(SADC) is an inter-governmental organization, with 15 member states: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho,
Mauritius, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Madagascar, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and
Zimbabwe. Its aim is to increase socio-economic cooperation and integration among the community. It is one of the richest area in
terms of biodiversity.
The main goal of the Project is to contribute to stop biodiversity loss by supporting the development of conservation strategies.
Biodiversity or biological diversity is formally defined by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as: “the variability among
living organisms from all sources including, among others, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological
complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems” (UN 1992 Article 2) [2].
Biodiversity is affected by the interaction of multiple drivers and pressures including demographic, economic, socio-political, scientific
and technological ones, which are leading to further decline, degradation and loss.
The principal pressures on biodiversity include habitat loss and degradation, overexploitation, alien invasive species, climate change
and pollution.
These pressures are continuing to increase. To use biodiversity and to keep it in a sustainable way, it is necessary to study it, assess its
economic value, develop a global strategy and a global network to monitor its status in the biosphere.
An important step in developing conservation of biodiversity requires a successful groundwater characterization and protection.
Conservation of biodiversity depends on groundwater needs strategies that allows for the use of groundwater in a way that is
compatible with the persistence of ecosystems in natural area, such as Limpopo Transfrontier Park, in the Southern African Region,
which is an area rich in term of biological diversity and ecological complexity. In particular the quality of ground water in some parts
of the country, especially shallow ground water, is changing as a result of human activities.
The goal of the following study is to provide an assessment of the actual groundwater quality-monitoring network and in
consideration of the growing demand for water, there is a need to understand the effects of planting on water resources to estimate
crop water requirement for the focus area, as last step of the methodology.