Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 12-16-2022


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Environmental Science and Management (ESM)


Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Committee Chair

David M. Kahler

Committee Member

Neil Brown

Committee Member

Joshua N. Edokpayi


water resources management, groundwater, hydrologic modeling, remote sensing hydrology, transboundary water resources


The Sand River Catchment is an important tributary of the transboundary Limpopo River in South Africa, which spans Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, and Mozambique. Groundwater is a critical resource in the region, especially in the context of population growth and climate change. Data are needed for proper management of these water resources. In regions where groundwater data are sparse in time, space, or both, the most promising solutions come from satellites and hydrologic models. Regional literature suggests that the Soutpansberg Mountains, located within the Sand Catchment, are high-elevation water towers with uncertain groundwater resources. Improved understanding of groundwater resources in this watershed is critical for water resources management in downstream areas of the Sand River catchment. Groundwater resources in the Soutpansberg Mountains watershed were estimated via a hydrologic modelling and catchment water balance approach and validated with field data using electrical resistivity tomography. Groundwater data were obtained from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE). Precipitation and surface water data were obtained from the South Africa Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) gage network. Additional data for surface water components were obtained from the Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS) that combines satellite and ground-based data with land surface models and data assimilation. Flow and infiltration were modelled using HEC-HMS (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). The model and water balance results support the hypothesis that the Soutpansberg Mountains watershed is a high recharge area that requires monitoring for sustainable use.