Hydrological drought assessment using the standardized groundwater index and the standardized precipitation index in the Berg River Catchment, South Africa



Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies




Berg River catchment, Hydrological drought, SGI, SPI


Study region: Berg River Catchment (BRC), South Africa (SA). Study focus: Hydrological droughts threaten water security and climate Change and groundwater abstractions may exacerbate their impact. Thus, early detection and prediction of droughts is essential. The integration of the Standardised Groundwater Index (SGI) with the Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI), has been applied worldwide, it but not explored in South Africa (SA). The aim of this study was to evaluate the integration of the SGI and SPI for hydrological drought assessment within the BRC, SA. New hydrological insights for the region: The sensitivity of the SGI to selected Probability Distribution Functions (PDFs) was examined, resulting in the Gamma and Log-Normal PDFs being preferred in the BRC. SGI-Gamma and SPI-Gamma comparisons validated the SGI method and shed light on the key factors influencing groundwater-related droughts in the BRC. The following was revealed: Hydrological droughts in the BRC are influenced by climate factors, surface and groundwater interactions, and groundwater abstractions. When conducting hydrological drought assessments using the SGI and the SPI, the initial focus should be on catchment-scale assessments before expanding to national-scale evaluations. Groundwater in the BRC exhibit significant resilience to droughts induced by climate factors, and thus useful to mitigate the risk of future droughts. Finally, The SGI performed satisfactorily in the BRC with limited groundwater level data.

Open Access