Seasonal Behavior and Spatial Fluctuations of Groundwater Levels in Long-Term Irrigated Agriculture: the Case of a Sugar Estate
Megersa Olumana Dinka1, Willibald Loiskandl2, Julius Musyoka Ndambuki1
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1 Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, Tshwane University of Technology,
P/Bag X680 Pretoria 0001, Republic of South Africa
2 Department of Water, Atmosphere and Environment, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU),
Muthgasse A-1190, Vienna, Austria
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2013;22(5):1325–1334
This paper presents results on the spatial and temporal fluctuations of the groundwater table depth (GWTD) at Wonji-Shoa Sugar Estate (WSSE). Accordingly, spatial maps of GWTD were produced in a GIS (ArcView 3.3) environment from 35 groundwater monitoring piezometers. Results of the study revealed that WSSE, after nearly 60 years of irrigation, is experiencing a serious waterlogging problem. The groundwater (GW) depth is extremely shallow (<1 m below ground) in most of the piezometers throughout the entire sea- son and showed great spatio-seasonal variability. The rate of annual increment of GW rise, coupled with sea- sonal fluctuation, has obvious repercussions and grave consequences for the sustainability of WSSE in par- ticular and to the region in general. Unless the potential causes for the rise of GWTD are identified soon and feasible corrective measures for mitigating GW rise are introduced, severe crises in the region are inevitable.