Land use Change Assessment and Water Quality of Ephemeral Ponds for Irrigation in the North West Province, South Africa
Asare, F.; Palamuleni, L.G.; Ruhiiga, T.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15(6)
ISSN/ISBN: 1660-4601 PMID: 29874802 DOI: 10.3390/ijerph15061175
In the semi-arid environments of the North West province of South Africa the amount, timing, and distribution of rainfall is irregular, while water accessibility is a key factor in production. In line with this, a study was conducted to assess the impact of land use change on water quality and water depth within the sub-catchment areas of ephemeral ponds. To determine land use dynamics, 2004 and 2013 Landsat images were classified using maximum likelihood algorithm. Pond water quality was analysed for physical, chemical, and microbiological parameters using standard the American Public Health Association (APHA) methods. Multiple linear regression models were computed to determine relationships between land use changes and water quality parameters. Results revealed a reduction in grass cover, whereas built-up areas increased at the expense of bare land. All the values for the physical characteristics were higher than the recommended Department of Water Affairs (DWAF) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) limits, but chemical parameters, except cadmium, were within limits. Regression showed that bare areas have a positive effect on Escherichia coli (E. coli) in ephemeral pond water. The study highlights the suitability of pond water for irrigation to increase crop production and the effects of land use changes on ecosystems as critical for proper catchment planning, water resource management, and food security.