The role of geohydrology in the determination of a spatial development framework in the Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site
Pretorius, Stephanus Johannes
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An assessment of the geohydrological character of the Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site (VDWHS) was done as a basis for the development of a groundwater resource management plan. This was done as part of the preparation for the compilation of an Integrated Management Plan and in order to reflect the principles of integration and sustainability with acknowledgment of the legal, institutional and environmental framework within the VDWHS. As the sole water supply in the VDWHS (except for the Vaal River) and being at a critical point in the water balance, groundwater resources require careful management and protection to ensure sustainability and equitable access. This was achieved through the delineation of different groundwater resource management units and the development of resource measures for each management unit. Due to the important role of groundwater as a natural resource, geohydrology is playing a major role in the alignment of the environmental, spatial and statutory frameworks in order to ensure good governance within the VDWHS. A geohydrological-based land use management guideline and spatial development framework were developed to optimise the integration between the water sector, the environmental sector and land use and spatial planning sector. It was concluded that a geohydrological assessment needs to form the basis of land use management and spatial planning in the VDWHS. Without effective integration of geohydrology and land use management contributing to a spatial development framework for the VDWHS, sustainable development will not be possible.