Information Systems

Information Systems are essential for the efficient management of water resources, as they can allow for quick and easy access to data as well as providing for data quality control.



The Department of Geological Survey (DGS) has maintained a MS-DOS-based National Borehole Archive (NBA), which unfortunately does not support multiple-users, constraining its use within the department. A copy of the archive is maintained at the Department of Water Affairs (DWA).

The NBA was populated with data recorded on Borehole Completion Certificates (BCC). In 2002, a new hydrogeological database (GeoDin) was launched, but it contained only the little data that was available to be transferred from the old NBA. Though it was intended that all the BCCs would be entered into the system, there remains a huge backlog of data to be analysed.

DWA maintains separate databases as a response to the limitations of the existing database arrangements. WELLMON is a software package for groundwater monitoring data, climatic data and other parameters, used to produce groundwater hydrographs. Currently, WELLMON contains only groundwater level and abstraction data.

Water Quality Database

The Water Quality Database contains water quality analyses of surface water and groundwater. This database unfortunately does not contain detailed positional data, again limiting its usefulness.



In Mozambique, Direcçao Nacional de Águas (National Directorate for Water) or DNA measures water levels and discharge at hydrometric stations in rivers and reservoirs (Taucale 2002). There is a minimum network of 13 stations in Mozambique with 2 stations noted on the Limpopo River. However, in 2002 only 6 of these were operational.

The most recent information available from 2002 notes that DNA has not established a network for measuring groundwater levels, water quality and sediment transport.

As noted under Water Demand Management within the Sub-Chapter Water Demand, a disaster management policy is in place, however, as of 2007 there was no legal framework yet approved. The National Institute of Meteorology (INAM) is responsible for maintaining the early warning systems while the DNA is tasked with monitoring flows (Muriwa et al. 2007).

Since the flood of 2000 in Mozambique which devastated thousands of hectares of land and many lives were lost, studies have been done to develop wide-area flood risk monitoring for the Southern African region (Artan et al. 2002). One model developed by Artan et al., performed well in simulating the timing and magnitude of the stream flow during the flooding in Mozambique in 2000.


South Africa

National Groundwater Information System (NGIS)

The National Groundwater Information System (NGIS) is a series of Department of Water Affairs (DWA) projects at regional offices, designed to meet the increasing demands for groundwater information. The NGIS system includes both spatial and non-spatial data, as well as tools for visualisation and analysis. Several sub-applications are detailed in the box below.

National Groundwater Information Systems

To access any of the following data sets, please contact

The National Groundwater Archive (NGA)

The NGA is a web-based system that allows registered users to capture, view, modify and extract groundwater-related data. Currently it focuses on data related to boreholes, wells, springs, and other geosites (points associated with geohydrological information). The NGA will replace the existing Open National Groundwater Database (Open NGDB).


Open NGDB is a system designed as a transition from the previous National Groundwater Data Bank (NGDB). This is presently the national database system for managing groundwater data and is accessible to trained users. It is available in the National Office and all Regional offices, although not all these offices are actively capturing groundwater data. Currently there are about 242 000 records in the Open-NGDB. This data can be obtained from DWA South Africa offices.


The Regional Geohydrological Information System is a complete hydrogeological information system, in which all relevant hydrogeological and related data are stored, managed, manipulated and queried. REGIS-Africa can be used for the evaluation of geohydrological situations on a national and regional scale.


The (C)Hydro Geochemical Analysis and Reporting Tool is a combination of the Management Information System and Decision-Support System which integrates geohydrological and hydro-chemical data to establish more effective and efficient monitoring.

Geohydrological Report System

The Geohydrological Reports System is a database of groundwater related technical reports. Approximately 2 600 technical reports are available in the library at DWA South Africa head-offices in Pretoria. These reports reflect the many hydrogeological investigations done by DWA South Africa officials or consultants over the years. A web-based system allows users to inquire about the availability of specific documents and obtain access to the documents in digital format (PDF). Other groundwater related documents and 1:500 000 Hydrogeological maps and brochures are also available on request.


The Geodatabase is an ARCGIS GEODATABASE storing all validated and verified spatial hydrogeological data. This database feeds into other applications, such as the REGIS-Africa.

Source: DWAF 2009

Water Management System (WMS)

The Water Management System was first initiated in 1996 by DWA South Africa to support decision-making and to provide the information needed to monitor and manage water resources in South Africa. To obtain data from the WMS contact:

The WMS comprises three essential components:

  • Monitoring Management Subsystem - manages resource quality operational monitoring at a national scale
  • Water Resource Management Subsystem - for sustainable water use, the protection of water quality, source control and for exporting Water Quality Data from the WMS to other systems
  • GIS subsystem - displays Water Resource information in a geographic viewer.

The system has the following functionality:

  • Monitoring
  • Water Quality Assessment
  • Water Quality Catchment and Resource Management
  • Point Source Management
  • Non-Point Source Management
  • Water Quality Education and Awareness
  • Best Water Quality Practices and Technology

Water quality data for both surface water and groundwater are collected at a regional level and entered into the WMS. The parameters analysed include:

  • Trace metals (Zn, Pb, Cu, etc.)
  • Inorganic (TDS, EC, Calcium dissolved, Na dissolved, Phospate, etc.)
  • Biological (Faecal coliform, suspended solids, algal identification, BOD5, etc.)
  • Organic pollutants (atrazine, terbuthylazine, methomyl, etc.)

In addition to chemical water quality parameters, physical water parameters are collected through the Hydstra project to better monitor the overall health of the aquatic system. Hydstra is a database managed by DWA South Africa, with its primary function being the management of long time-series data, including:

  • Dam water levels
  • Evaporation and rainfall
  • Streamflow (discharge)
A Rain Gauge can be set up to transmit information automatically to a information system network. Source: DWA SA 2007



No data on information systems in Zimbabwe were available at the time of publishing.

Current ongoing initiatives.

LIMCOM's current ongoing interventions being undertaken