A basic model to predict water quality changes in the Vaal Dam

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dc.contributor.advisor Thea Schoeman; Prof. Francois Steffens en_US
dc.contributor.author Kneidinger, Tanya Michaela
dc.date.accessioned 2012-02-06T07:32:28Z
dc.date.available 2012-02-06T07:32:28Z
dc.date.issued 2012-02-06
dc.date.submitted 2007
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/4364
dc.description M.Sc. en_US
dc.description.abstract The Vaal Dam (South Africa) and its tributaries have been extensively affected by domestic, mining, agricultural and industrial activities, as well as the release of effluents. These practices have contributed to large-scale algal blooms that have caused serious ecological, aesthetic, water purification and water distribution problems. This study addresses the need to develop a system that enables forecasts to be made regarding potential changes in the water quality ofthe Vaal Dam, especially with regards to predicting algal blooms. The primary aim was to develop a simple spreadsheet based model to predict the occurrence of algal blooms and other water quality changes in the Vaal Dam, making use of environmental parameters recorded at several sites located upstream of the Rand Water intake point at the Vaal Dam wall. Accurately forecasting sudden changes in water quality would enable proactive resource management, ensuring that Rand Water maintains a high standard of potable water delivered to its customers. Statistical model equations, to predict the concentrations of various water quality constituents, were obtained by step-wise regression analysis. These equations were then entered into MS-Excel spreadsheets. This allowed the input of environmental data and the subsequent calculation of the predicted value. This also allowed for the manipulation of various parameters to forecast the effects any changing values will have on the water quality. These "if-then'' scenarios would be of considerable use in implementing management measures to achieve the desired water quality. The performance of the model was statistically tested to determine if it adequately represents the study system. The models to determine chlorophyll-a concentration and several other water quality constituents proved to be fairly accurate in representing the study system. However, the model to predict nitrate concentrations did not perform satisfactorily. The limitations in model performance were attributed to the low frequency of water quality sampling and the effects of undetermined variables not represented by the water quality parameters selected for model development. The model is compact, does not require specialised software, and is applicable in practice. The predictive and scenario forecasting abilities make this model useful for the identification, monitoring and prediction of changes or trends in water quality over time. The benefits arising from this model will thus contribute to more cost efficient water treatment, improved response times to algal blooms, improved decision-making and proactive water resource management. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Water quality en_US
dc.subject Water quality management en_US
dc.title A basic model to predict water quality changes in the Vaal Dam en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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