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Chapter 1 Introduction

The availability and quality of fresh water is inextricably linked to development (Ashton and Braune, 1999). Population growth affects water demand, which has a direct impact on water-quality (Biswas, 1992). El Obeid and Mendelsohn (2001) found that the population of the Kavango Region of Namibia has increased rapidly since the 1950s, with the most rapid growth between 1970 and 1981 at a rate of 7.5 % per year. They suggested that the Kavango Region has the greatest impact on water resources along the Okavango River. The effect of the increasing population on the Okavango River needs to be evaluated in order to develop a management plan for water utilization in the region. An indirect impact of increased population is often land cover change. The annual rate of land clearing between 1972 and 1996 was 4 % (el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001). In more recent years, most of the clearing has been inland along relic sand dunes (omarumba), as there are very few suitable sites left for clearance along the river. There has been relatively little land clearing in the Angolan headwaters of the river, due to instability caused by war. However, there are plans to develop the upper catchment of the Okavango River for agriculture, which may have a significant impact on the waterquality (Brown, pers comm., 2002; Miller, 1997). The development of a model linking land use and water-quality is required, so that the impacts of agricultural development can be projected (Butcher, 1999). An international project Every River has its People Project has been developed to manage the Okavango River watershed as a whole. The main goals of this project are to: promote sustainable management of natural resources in the Okavango River Basin and to increase the capacity of communities and other local stakeholders to participate affectively in decision making about natural resources, particularly those related water resources, at local, national and regional levels (Jones, 2001a, p1). Local people have recognized that the quality of the water and fish resources is decreasing, and have an interest in understanding how to protect these resources (Jones, 2001b). It is therefore necessary to understand the relationships among population, land use change and water-quality, in order to increase the understanding of the Okavango River system at a local and regional level. Research Objective The objective of this research is to examine the effects of increased population and land use/land cover change on the water-quality of the Okavango River in Namibia. In order to determine the impacts of land use change on the water-quality, satellite imagery was used to identify land cover change, and correlated with archive (Bethune, 1991; Hays et al., 2000) and recent water-quality data from 2002. A land cover classification scheme was developed to determine the land cover change from 1973 to 1993.

Study Site Location The Okavango River flows through three southern African countries, Angola, Namibia and Botswana (figure 1.1). It is a major regional freshwater resource and is Namibias largest perennial river (Schneider, 1986). The study area is concentrated within a 470 km long section of the Okavango River that defines the northern Namibian border and crosses the Kavango Region before flowing into Botswana where it forms an inland delta. The study section of the river includes the confluence with the major tributary, the Cuito (figure 1.2). Water samples were collected at seven sites along the Okavango River in Namibia. From west to east these are Nkurenkuru, Mupini, Nkwasi, Mupapama, Katere, Mukwe and Ngepi (figure 1.3).

Figure 1.1: The location of the Okavango Drainage within Southern Africa. The red box is subset in figure 1.2

Figure 1.2: The Okavango River Drainage System, subset from figure 1.1 The Kavango Region of Namibia is subset in figure 1.3

Figure 1.3: Location of Sampling Sites along the Okavango River, within the Kavango Region of Namibia.


The Okavango River originates in Angola as the Rio Cubango and flows south until it reaches the Angolan\Namibian border, where it turns east for some 415 km until it turns south and flows south into Botswana where it forms an inland delta (figures 1.1 and 1.2). The Okavango Delta has been designated a World Heritage Site (Pallet, 1997). The Cubango drains approximately 88,700 km2 and originates on crystalline rock approximately 1700 m above sea level, in an area that receives a mean of 983 mm annual precipitation (Bethune, 1991), of which approximately six per cent reaches the Cubango (Miller, 1997). The river flows 930 kilometers from its source to the confluence with its major perennial tributary, the Cuito. The Cuito also originates in Angola on Kalahari sands, 715 km from the confluence and drains approximately 60,600 km2. Its source region receives a mean annual precipitation of 876 mm. Together, the Cubango and Cuito Rivers drain from an area of almost 150,000 km2 (Ellery, 1997). The flow from the Okavango/Cubango is much more variable than the Cuito, so during the floods of the wet season (January through May) it contributes considerably more water to the delta. This situation is reversed during the other seven months of the year (el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001). The Omatako River in Namibia is thought to be a fossil catchment as there are no records of it flowing more than 400 km from its source (the source is 635 km away from the confluence). It potentially drains about 55,700 km2. However it forms an important backwater when the Okavango River flood waters flow up the lower part of the drainage (Bethune, 1991; el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001). The Okavango River probably gains water from aquifers in the Kalahari sediments. These are mainly recharged from elevated areas to the south. Near the river the aquifers are less than 20 meters deep el (Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001). Floodwaters reach Rundu in January or February and arrive at the delta in June or July. The highest waters in Rundu usually occur in April. Floods usually raise the Okavango river level 3-5 m above its lowest levels that occur in November (Bethune, 1991). Climate The climate of the Okavangos catchment area in Namibia and Botswana is subtropical, with a long, dry cool season and a short, hot wet season (Hines, 1997, el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001). The summers are very hot with a mean maximum temperature of 34 OC, and winters are mild with a mean minimum temperature of 6 OC. Occurrence of frost is rare. The Kavango Region has a mean annual rainfall of 600 mm, although it is highly variable, both between and within years (Hines, 1997). The greatest evaporation occurs in September and October and exceeds precipitation by a factor of three, (Ellery, 1997, el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001). Farmers take into account the high variability of rainfall by staggering ploughing and planting of crops through the rainy season. Wind velocity is generally low, averaging around 3 kilometers per hour, and the prevalent direction ranges from north east to south. In January some winds may blow from the west (el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001). Geology and Soils

Most of the water that flows into the Okavango Delta flows over Kalahari Sands. This is an environment of aeolian sands, which is an ancient erg extending from the Northern Cape in South Africa to the Congo; initial sand deposition started in the mid-Tertiary (Skinner, 2000). The Kalahari is underlain by thick geologically ancient Precambrian granitoid rocks, with poor surface exposure due to the thick sands (Scholes and Parsons, 1997). Two principal physiographic regions dominate the Kavango region. The first is the riverine landscape, comprised of the main Okavango River channel, floodplains with braided channels, and a fluvial terrace with alluvial deposits. The second region consists of Kalahari sands dominated by linear dune systems and undulating plains (Hines, 1997, Schneider, 1986, Simmonds, 1997). The dune systems are flat to gently undulating with the dune ridges and slacks (omurambas) trending east-west. The substratum consists of calcareous sand and gravel from the Kalahari beds which are mainly of aeolian origin. The Nosib Formation, laid down 850 to 700 million years before present, occurs at shallow depths east of Rundu and is comprised of conglomerate, phyllite, and quartzite (Dierks, 1994; Ellery, 1997). The Kalahari sands were deposited on Tertiary calcretes and have been eroded and partially reworked by wind and water (Simmonds, 1997). The principal soil types are related to the physiographic regions. Fluvisols occur in the Okavango and Omatako floodplains. These soils are developed in alluvial deposits, and are flooded regularly along the Okavango River. These are the most fertile soils of the region and are exploited for crop production (Mendelsohn, et al., 2002). On the south and west banks of the Okavango River terrace system, the fluvisols can be divided into three general soil sub-types in the area: Clovelly, Oakleaf and Hutton, using the South African Soil Classification System (Schneider, 1986). These exhibit physical, chemical and mineralogical properties typical of arid-region soils, with orthic topsoils and apedal (no structure) B horizons (Mpumalanga Soil Mapping Project, 2003). They display a moderate to high base saturation, which results in slightly acid to slightly alkali soils (pH 6.8-7.6). The cation-exchange-capacity is low and kaolinite is the most abundant clay mineral (Schneider, 1986; Simmonds, 1997). An estimated distribution of the two main soil types, fluvisols and arenosols in the Kavango Region is shown in figure 1.4. Upon the examination of figure 1.5 (vegetation type) the fluvisols occur with riverine forests, floodplains, Omatako drainage and dry tributaries to the Okavango River.

Figure 1.4: Estimated Soil Map of the Kavango Region (from Mendelsohn, et al., 2002). The soils of the sandveld surrounding the riverine environment are comprised of arenosols. These are developed in sediments of aeolian origin, and have very high sand contents. This results in rapid infiltration of water and little retention of nutrients, which makes them infertile and difficult to cultivate (Mendelsohn, et al., 2002). In the north eastern stabilized Kalahari sand dunes, where there is a deep sand mantle but little or no relief, the soils are the loose grey sands of the Sandspruit series. Where relief and drainage are more defined there is a catenary sequence of soils. These include red sands on elevated slopes, yellowish-brown sands on mid-slopes, and grey sands or heavier darker soils at the base. In the omarumbas, grey sandy loams are found, which result in impeded internal drainage and salinization if irrigated. Where the terrace system is discontinuous, the soils are red loamy sands with inclusions of grey coarse sandy loams (Simmonds, 1997). Vegetation There is a great diversity of flora within the Kavango region (figure 1.5), with 869 species in 88 families being identified (Bethune, 1991; Hines, 1997). The vegetation in the Kavango Region is a mosaic of small units, although each landform has a characteristic vegetation assemblage. Tall deciduous woodlands, consisting of BurkeaTeak woodland and shrubland, generally occur in relic dune systems where there is marked variation in soil between the sandy dunes and clay soils between the dunes. The floodplains and riverine forests are associated with the drainage of the region. Generally the river valley is characterized by medium to tall riparian woodland with Rhodesian Teak (Baikaea plurijuga), Dolfwood (Pterocarpus angolensis), Chivi (Guibourtia coleosperma) Yellowwood (Terminalia sericea) and various acacias. Herbs and grasses are extensive, even in overgrazed areas (Schneider, 1986).

Figure 1.5: Vegetation Types on the Kavango Region (from el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001).

Population According to the Namibian Population and Housing Census (2001), the population in the Kavango Region was 201,093 and accounted for 11 per cent of the total population of Namibia. The average household size is 6.5 people, an increase of 0.3 since 1991. This is the largest household size in Namibia. There are slightly more men than women in the region (52 % men, 48 % women). According to estimates made in 1999 the region had a population of 176,600 (el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001), which is an increase of more than 24,000 in 2 years. By 2020 the population is estimated to be approximately 216,000. The majority (75 %) of the population was less than 30 years old and 43 % were less than 15 years old in 1999 (el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001). It is worth noting that between 1991 and 1999 there was a decrease in 0-4 year olds, possibly related to increased mortality through AIDS or decreased fertility rates. The fertility rates decreased from 7.1 in 1991 to 6.6 in 1996 (el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001).

Figure 1.6: Estimated Population Density Integers (people per square kilometer) for 2000 (from el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001)

As can be seen from figure 1.6, the majority of the population lives along the river in the riparian zone of the Okavango River, along the dry drainages and major roads. Farming activity is an important source of income, with 96 % of the households engaged in both crop and livestock farming activity, while 71 % are dependent on farming as an income source (figure 1.7).

Figure 1.7 The floodplain (left), just east of Rundu, near Nkwasi (site 3) and household with a field of mahangu. Land Use/Land Cover The principal land use in the Kavango region is communal grazing and small scale farming (usually crop cultivation). The rest of the regions land use is composed of

conservation areas, government farms and other private farms (figure 1.8). Most of the land is controlled by tribal authorities (el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001).

Figure 1.8: Landuse in the Kavango Region, (after el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001) The most intense period of crop farming occurs from September to February, when the fields are cleared, ploughed and planted. Most crops are not irrigated, with the exception of large scale and government agriculture farms. Planting is staggered through the raining season, and is undertaken after there has been a good rainfall event. This increases the chance of crop survival during the hot, dry periods. The use of fertilizer is low and limited to the government and large scale agriculture farms. Livestock farming is dominated by cattle and goats, although there are some sheep, pigs and donkeys. They are not kept within fields but are moved between sources of water (usually the river) and grazing. Along the river, fishing provides another resource (figure 1.9). Figure 1.10 shows the pressure placed on natural resources (from el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001)

Figure 1.8: Children fishing at Mupini Health Center (site 2)

Figure 1.9: Pressure on natural resources in Kavango: sum of people, cattle and goat densities (from el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001) The Kavango Region is currently showing an increase in human population and land clearing for crops and livestock, which is putting more pressure on the natural resources, including the Okavango River (el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001). With the increase in stability in Angola and the likely migration of people into the catchments of the Cubango and Cuito Rivers, an examination of the water-quality of the Okavango River and its relationship to land use and land cover change is necessary, so that decisions can be made with an understanding of the present and probable future impacts.



Chapter 2: Literature Review

Water as a Resource Water is the most essential natural resource for human survival, agricultural production and economic development (Biswas, 1992; Duda and El-Ashry, 2000). Eighty percent of the rivers in Sub-Saharan Africa are transboundary (Duda and El-Ashry, 2000). These rivers have a high resource potential for socio-economic development through fisheries, tourism and recreation, irrigation schemes and hydropower generation. They also facilitate inter-country cooperation, meeting the goals and objectives of the African Union (UNECA, 2000). As a continent, Africas proportion of freshwater resource is comparable to its portion of the global population. However the distribution of freshwater and population is not equal. The Congo River Basin holds thirty percent of the continents total water resource and only ten percent of its population. In fact Africa is the third driest continent in the world (UNECA, 2000). In arid and semi-arid regions, where water availability is limited, the water resource value is exceptionally high (Helmscrot and Flugel, 2002). Ali (1999) suggests that water resource issues deserve singular attention to avoid potential conflicts in southern Africa, where currently there is no agency to deal with water issues. This is important as conflicts arise over water usage. The Southern African Developing Community (SADC) has not been able to manage these conflicts. One such example was the proposal of a water diversion project (Eastern National Water Carrier, ENWC) from the Okavango River in Namibia to its capital Windhoek, to combat water shortages (Pallett, 1997). Botswana opposed this proposal due to threats to the Okavango Delta. The case had to be brought to the International Court of Justice in order to resolve the problem. In 1997 the ENWC project was postponed as there was sufficient rainfall to fill the reservoirs with enough water for two years consumption (Ramberg, 1997). Wetlands are important water resources as they provide many hydrological, ecological, economical and social benefits. For example, they support human population by supplying agricultural land for both crops and grazing, fishing, and water resources (Thompson and Polet, 2000). In floodplain wetlands, the intermittent floods provide nutrients into the side channels, allowing the biota population to increase and diversify. This provides an important food resource to people who live in the area, as well as alluvial deposits that make the plains fertile for dry season agriculture (Johnson and Richardson, 1995; Thompson and Polet, 2000). Water-quality Safe drinking water is unavailable to approximately 1.1 billion people world wide (Gadgil, 1998). The decreasing fresh water availability in many countries provides motivation for the development of water-quality remediation projects to improve the water-quality and therefore increase water availability (Deksissa et al., 2001). In order to utilize a water resource sustainably it is necessary to understand the status of the water-quality (van Ree, 1999). Water-quality is defined as the physical, chemical and biological status of the water body (Wang, 2001, p25). The abundance and diversity


of biota in a water body is dependent on the chemical and physical characteristics. The main physical/chemical parameters that are typically measured in water-quality studies are electrical conductivity, pH, temperature, suspended solids and nutrients (van Ree, 1999; Wang, 2001). Electrical conductivity is the ability to conduct an electrical current and provides information on the abundance of dissolved solids (Ministry of Environment, 1998). Temperature is important, because of its impact on the biological and chemical components of the water. Dissolved oxygen is also an important parameter because biotic life cannot survive without it. It also affects the solubility and availability of nutrients. A water body with dissolved oxygen levels less than 5 mg/l puts serious pressure on the biota, while 4 mg/l is the limit to avoid acute mortality (Ministry of Environment, 1998). In flowing water a pH between 6 and 8 is expected, depending on the watersheds geology (van Ree, 1999; Wang, 2001). Lethal effects on aquatic biota occur at pH below 4.5 or above 9.5 (Ministry of Environment, 1998). Water-quality Degradation Since water is such a basic necessity to the daily living of every organism, the quality of freshwater resources needs to be monitored and maintained. However, the quality of surface water has decreased on a global scale, which limits fresh water availability and puts even more pressure on a stressed resource (Gyau-Boakye, 1999; Helweg, 2000; Schulze, 2000). In fact, most large rivers across the globe have been greatly affected by human activity (Johnson and Richardson, 1995). Individual sources of water-quality degradation can be classified into two main categories. These are point and non-point sources. Point sources are where there is one location which is impacting the stream and usually have a spatial response, in that immediately downstream from the pollution source the water-quality is degraded. These impacts decrease further downstream as nutrients are taken up by biota and diluted as the pollutant is dispersed throughout the river. Non-point sources have a larger spatial scale impacts, and it is difficult to determine the exact cause and extent of the decrease in water-quality. Examples of point sources include waste water treatment plants and industrial parks. Non-point sources include run off over agricultural fields and atmospheric deposition (Smith and Alexander, 2000). Physical changes in land use/land cover and population density within a rivers watershed usually have an impact on the hydrology and water-quality of the river. These changes are not constrained to the riparian zone (Johnson and Richardson, 1995; Schulze, 2000). The hydrology of a region with limited water availability will dictate the distribution of pattern of population and land use. In these regions any increase in water use will upset the equilibrium between availability and demand (Thompson and Polet, 2000). Pegram and Bath (1995) found that the Mgeni River catchment (South Africa) was highly stressed, due to pressure to supply the increasing population of the Pietermaritzburg/Pinetown/Durban urban areas, rural domestic use, agriculture, environmental and recreational water demands. Eighty five percent of the contamination was from non-point sources. Previous Studies of the Okavango River


The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources of Namibia is developing baseline procedures to manage systems for sustainable utilization of its resources, upon which people are indirectly or directly dependent (Hocutt et al., 1991). As people are directly dependent on the Okavango River falls, a concerted effort is being made to monitor the biological quality of the Okavango River. The authors formed a conceptual basis for the development of an Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) for the Namibian section of the Okavango River. The IBI relies on structural and functional components of a fish community to reflect the health of an aquatic system. Hays et al.,(2000) conducted a fish survey from 1992 to 1999, to produce guidelines for sustainable management of fisheries in the Okavango River. They also collected water-quality data from the autumn of 1992 to the winter of 1997. Bethune (1991) conducted a comprehensive study of the hydrology, water-quality, vegetation, and fauna in the wetlands associated with the Okavango River. So far there does not seem to have been an excessive exploitation of the water resources in the Kavango Region. Presently the Okavango River is not affected by water scarcity, but by 2025 Duda and El-Ashry (2000) predict that the watershed will have serious water shortages. This projected water shortage is likely to lead to further international disputes over such an important water resource. With population growth, more pressure is being exerted on water resources. Since the Okavango River is a life-sustaining resource, it should be carefully managed to benefit the people of region (Bethune, 1991). The population in the Kavango Region has increased rapidly in extent since the 1950s, with eighty-five percent of the population live in the riparian zone (el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001; and Hocutt et al., 1997). Riparian zones are areas of land that adjoin, influence or are influenced by a body of water (Waterways and Wetland Manual, 2003). Associated with the population growth, there has been an increase in livestock, fire frequency and area of land cleared for crops and fuel (el Obeid and Medelsohn, 2001). Hocutt et al., (1997) suggest that due to the present population increase rates, the associated land use change, and the increasing chance of drought, a water-quality monitoring protocol is essential for the Okavango River. Water-quality Issues Mattikalli and Richards (1996) found that the quality of surface water has decreased in many countries over the past few decades, and that the agriculturally dominated watersheds in England are affected by soil erosion and suspended sediment load in the river. In the United States there is concern about the potential contamination, overuse and development of scenic rivers (Scott and Udouj, 1999). This study found that land use change within the Buffalo National River, Arkansas, may have impacted the waterquality of the region. In South Africa a Riverine Health Program (RHP) is being developed to monitor the biological quality of riverine ecosystems (Roux et al., 1999). It is planned to link the outcomes of the RHP monitoring outcomes with water resource management decisions. Smith and Alexander (2000) identified five main sources of nutrient loading to streams in the Unites States. These are point sources, fertilizer, animal agriculture, atmospheric deposition and non-agricultural run-off.


The quality of surface water is affected by human activity throughout a rivers watershed (Wang, 2001). Agriculture and industrial development within the watershed can seriously affect how a river functions (Johnson and Richardson, 1995). It is necessary to understand consequences of human activity on the water cycle and environment at all relevant scales (Klocking and Haberlandt, 2002). Over the past several thousand years the impact of humans on the environment has increased. In the last century water-quality and soil fertility have been severely degraded as a result of the growing pressure (Ojima and Galvin, 1994). The current population growth within many watersheds is placing greater pressure on the water resource. As the demand for water increases there is an associated escalation in effluent discharge, which has a negative impact on the water-quality (GyauBoakye, 1999). There is a global consensus that water demand will rise over time. Duda and El-Ashry (2000) suggest that two-thirds of the worlds population will experience water stress by the year 2025 and that a billion people will have severe water stress. Population growth not only increases the demand for water, but alters the landscape within watersheds, through land clearance for settlements, agriculture and infrastructure. Although anthropogenic impacts are not the only factors to effect the water-quality of surface waters, they have the greatest impact on ecosystem equilibria (Hocutt et al., 1994), even compared to long term climate change (Schulze, 2000). One of the impacts humans have on the water-quality is modifying the landscape within the watershed (Ojima and Galvin, 1994). Hunsaker and Levine (1995) and Wear, et al., (1998) suggest that land use change may be the single largest factor affecting water-quality. In the Wabash River basin of south eastern Illinois, land cover types and their spatial distribution accounted for between 40 % and 86 % of variance in water-quality, depending on watershed sizes (Hunsaker and Levine 1995). Land Use/Land Cover A distinction needs to be made between land use and land cover. Land cover is the biophysical state of the earths surface and includes cropland, forest, grassland and settlements. Land use is how land cover attributes are manipulated, managed and exploited (Shulze, 2000). Land-use changes are linked to economic development, population growth, technology and environmental change. Not all impacts from land use/land cover change are negative; they can increase productivity and sustainability without degrading the environment (Ojima and Galvin, 1994). Land use change has unintended, as well as intended, impacts on the environment. The clearing of natural vegetation releases nutrients into the atmosphere and water cycle (Houghton, 1994). Land management practices, such as grazing, fire and tillage, affect ecosystem composition, nutrient cycling and organic matter distribution (Ojima and Galvin, 1994). Hydrological responses are highly sensitive to land use change, although local scale abrupt changes may be more significant than regional scale changes (Schulze, 2000). Land use/land cover change is not uniform within a rivers drainage basin. In the Southern Appalachian Highlands of North Carolina, areas with intensive land cover change had serious implications for increased erosion, temperature regime change and decreases in dissolved oxygen (Wear, et al., 1998).


Every river system has water-quality threats that are particular to the characteristics that function within its watershed. Wang (2001) found that the greatest problem for water-quality is growing urban areas, although wastewater treatment plants did not negatively affect the quality. However the main threat to the Crocodile River in South Africa is nutrient pollution from agriculture (Deksissa et al., 2001). In the Serengeti ecosystem, the combined effect of deforestation, irrigation and water diversion decreased the flow of the Mara River to 0.5 m3s-1, compared to a peak flow of 1000 m3s-1 (Gereta et al., 2002). The Mutshindudi catchment in South Africa has shown environmental overloading resulting from population-related emissions (van Ree, 1999). A study conducted in the Gucha catchment in Kenya concluded that continued high rates of population growth posed a great danger to the water resource. They examined the impacts of land use change on water-quality within (i) agriculture and rural, (ii) urban, and (iii) other social, industrial and transportation categories. The main threats were identified as industrial effluents, agricultural runoff, and municipal and domestic wastes (Ongwenyi, et al., 1993). Many studies use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to investigate the relationship between land-use and water-quality (Mattikalli and Richards, 1996; Hunsaker and Levine, 1995; and Scott and Udouj, 1999). Scott and Udouj (1999, p.95) state that GIS technology can rapidly assess environmental change that has occurred within a watershed and Mattikalli and Richards (1996, p.72) emphasize that GIS is vital for this type of study as it provides the appropriate technology input, storage, manipulation, and analysis of large volumes of land use data at different scales. Mattikalli and Richards (1996) used an export coefficient model for the rapid assessment of surface water-quality using remotely sensed land use data. The model accounts for spatial variability of land-use within a watershed as it operates on individual and land use patches and the nutrient loads are aggregated to the watershed outlet. They suggested that this was an appropriate model for assessing the effects of various land use management scenarios on water-quality. Hunsaker and Levine (1995) observed two watersheds in the United States and found that the proportion of land use and its spatial pattern within a watershed were useful for characterizing water-quality. The type and location of land use were essential in order to model the water-quality of the river. They developed empirical and statistical models to analyze the importance of proportion and spatial pattern of land use, as well as its proximity to the water body. They found that they could accurately predict water-quality in two watersheds in the United States. Remote Sensing is a powerful tool for digital change analysis of land use/land cover (LULC). This involves detecting, describing and understanding changes in the physical and biological processes that occur within ecosystems (Mouat et al., 1993). Common detectable changes are clearing of natural vegetation, increased cultivation and urban expansion. LULC change can be analyzed using aerial photos and multispectral scanners, such as Landsat Multi-Spectral Scanner (MSS), Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM), Satellite Probatoire dObservation de la Terre (SPOT), and Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR). These changes are identified by using the different spectral reflectance curves that are characteristic of LULC classes. Each pixel has a digital number (a measure of reflectance) associated with each wavelength or band


that ranges from 0 to 255 in an 8-bit sensor. A higher digital number represents greater reflectance. The reflectance at different wavelengths can be plotted in a spectral reflectance curve and this can be used to identify spectral and information classes (Richards and Kelly, 1984). Zomer et al., (2001) conducted a detailed landscape level analysis of land use land cover change over 20 years in the forest Makalu Barun Conservation Area, Nepal. They successfully used Landsat TM (1992) and Landsat MSS (1992) data to map the change and identify the riparian forest stands that are under pressure and subject to disturbance and degradation. The need for an understanding of the effect of land use/land cover change on waterquality of the Okavango River is required so that there is improved understanding of ecosystem function. Once this relationship is understood, improved policy decisions can be made to alleviate (or at least not to exacerbate) the pressures on the Okavango River due to increasing population and land use change within the watershed. To obtain this understanding, a study into the effects of land use change on the physical, chemical and biological aspects of water-quality of the Okavango River needs to be undertaken. This study will analyze water-quality data and classified Landsat MSS and TM images to determine relationships between land use/land cover change and the water-quality of the Okavango River in Namibia.

Chapter 3: Methodology
This research focuses on the changing land use/land cover (LULC) within the Okavango River drainage basin and its effects on the water-quality of the river. The primary focus is the temporal and spatial pattern of water-quality. Water-quality data were collected on three occasions between May and December 2002, and were compared to data collected in 1984 and 1993/4 (Bethune, 1991; Hays, 2000). The recent and archived data were then correlated with classified satellite imagery which had undergone change detection analysis. The two years with satellite imagery coverage are 1973/5 (Landsat MSS) and 1993 (Landsat TM). Classification is the process of analyzing pixel spectral signatures (their reflectance in each wavelength) and determining classes with similar signatures and relating those to actual land use/land cover information classes. Change detection is applied on a pixel by pixel basis, using the spectral signatures to determine whether a pixel has changed and if so, from which class it has changed to (Jensen, 1996). Water-quality Site Selection Seven sites were selected along the length of the Okavango River within the Namibia border, in order to sample for the water-quality analysis (figure 1.3; table 3.1). Suitable


site locations were selected with the aim of having several sites spread along the Okavango River. The selection criteria were the presence of population centers and accessibility. The precise sampling site locations changed during the May sampling period, as the availability of dug out canoes (mokoros) were limited because many had been confiscated during civil unrest to prevent illegal movement across the river. The pressure on natural resources (figure 1.10) was used to identify potential water sampling sites along the Namibian section of the Okavango River, with various levels of pressure. The actual water sampling site locations were determined by the presence of mokoros, and whether they could be revisited in subsequent sampling periods. From West to East, in a downstream direction the sample sites are Nkurenkuru, Mupini, Rundu (Nkwasi), Mupapama, Katere and Ngepi. The main population centers are located at Nkurenkuru, Rundu and Mupapama (figure 1.6). Table 3.1: Name, Number and Location of the seven sites used to measure water-quality. Latitude Longitude Site Name Site (Decimal Degrees) Nkurenkuru 1 17.62092 S 18.61635 E West Mupini 2 17.86290 S 19.62142 E Direction Nkwasi 3 17.86628 S 19.90678 E of water Mupapama 4 17.87833 S 20.29298 E flow Katere 5 18.03508 S 20.79983 E Mukwe 6 18.04998 S 21.43903 E Ngepi 7 18.11612 S 21.67118 E East

The sample site that was supposed to be located just downstream from Rundu (the largest population concentration in the region) ended up being further downstream than was ideal, as there were no mokoros available. We also met with either chiefs or headmen of the region to seek their permission and approval for collecting water samples. Collaboration with the Namibian Defense Force (NDF) and Police Force and the Angolan Police (NPLA) was also required due to previous instability of the area. In some cases (at Mupapama, site 4) we were accompanied by several members from each division to protect and oversee the operation. When canoes were unavailable motorized boats were used. This happened at Nkurenkuru (NPLA), Mupapama (NDF) and Nkwasi (owned by the lodge). The boats were kept in idle so the motor would not affect the water-quality results from pollutants leaking into the water, or from the motors and stirring up sediments. Sampling Samples were collected during three time periods in 2002 (27th -31st May, 20th-24th July and 27th-31st December). The first two were during the dry season and the third sample was at the beginning of the wet season, before the water had reached flood stage. The rivers maximum flow is usually reached in April (el Obeid and Mendelsohn, 2001). The river flow was lowest in July and highest in December, although the depth of the river did not vary more than half a meter. Sample site locations were determined using a


Garmin etrex GPS unit, accurate to within 30 meters. Each parameter was measured once at each site during the three sampling periods. Therefore there are three replicates per site, measured over the entire course of the study (May, July and December). Samples and measurements were taken in the main flow of the river, using a mokoro. Grab water samples were collected 3-5 cm below the surface in accordance with EPA standards using 1 liter polyethylene bottles. To ensure that the water collected was not contaminated by outside sources the bottle and lid were rinsed three times immediately prior to collecting the water sample. The water samples were refrigerated at the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) office in Rundu, until they were taken to Analytical Laboratory Services in Windhoek. During transportation, when a fridge was not available, the samples were kept in a cool box. Field parameters (pH, conductivity, temperature and dissolved oxygen) were also measured 3-5 cm below the water surface. Since the canoes are close to the surface of the water, measurements and samples were obtained just next to the canoe, while it was being paddled in the main stream of the river. The samples represent the quality of the water sub-surface in the fastest flowing section of the river, where the nutrient concentrations and conductivity are lowest.


Figure 3.10: Collecting water samples at A: Mupini (site 2) in December and B: Mukwe (site 6) in May. pH The pH was measured using a Hach EC20 Portable pH/ISE meter model 50075 and calibrated according to the manufacturers specifications with buffers of pH 7 and 4. In calibration mode, the probe was placed in the pH 7 buffer and left until it had calibrated, it was then rinsed with de-ionized water and the process repeated for the pH 4 buffer. The temperature was recorded. The pH is accurate to 0.001 and the temperature is accurate to 0.01 oC. Conductivity Conductivity was measured using a Hach CO150 Conductivity Meter Model 50150, calibrated using 1413/cm ES and 495 ES/cm standards, according to the instructions in the manufacturers manuals. This involved placing the meter in the solution until the correct conductivity was measured. A high and low conductivity standard was used to


test the accuracy. The standards were both much higher than the expected conductivity of the river, with values less than 50 ES/cm. The accuracy of the meter calibration was checked in the laboratory against low conductivity standards and was found to be correct. Conductivity measurements are accurate to 0.01 ES/cm. The temperature was also recorded. Dissolved Oxygen (DO) The Corning Deluxe Field Analysis System was used to measure DO, and calibrated (in part) according to the instructions in the manufacturers manual, in the % O2 mode. A zero per cent oxygen standard was used to obtain the 0 % value. The 100 % value was obtained by blowing air through a straw into a cup of water sealed with cling film and contained within a ziplock bag. The meter was held approximately 2 mm above the surface of the water where the air was saturated. This is a modified version of the standard method and was improvised in the field, due to lack of instruments that blow air into the water and a magnetic stirrer (which were not readily available at the campsite) (Roeis, R, pers comm., 2002). The DO measurements were recorded in mg/l, and were accurate to 0.001 mg/l. The temperature was also recorded. Nitrogen and Phosphorus Water samples were analyzed by Analytical Laboratory Services in Windhoek for nitrogen (total, oxidized, and reduced) and total phosphorus. The oxidized nitrogen is nitrite and nitrate, while reduced is the Kjeldahl nitrogen (organic and ammonium). The nitrogen concentrations are accurate to 0.01 mg/l and the phosphorus concentration in accurate to 0.001 mg/l. Nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations were analyzed using the methods described in the American Public Health Association guidelines (APHA, et al., 1995). Table 3.2 shows the preparation and analysis methods used as per the APHA, et al., (1995). For example, total phosphorus was determined colorimetrically after releasing the orthophosphate through persulphate digestion. Table 3.2: Methods for nitrogen and phosphorus analysis used by Analytical Laboratory Services described in APHA (1995). Constituent tested Sample Preparation Test Method Persulphate digestion 4500-P B. 5. Total reactive phosphorous Colorimetric 4500-P C. Total nitrogen Oxidation-colorimetric 4500-N D. Cadmium reductionNitrate (NO3-) 4500-NO3 E. colorimetric Nitrite (NO2-) Colorimetric 4500-NO2 B. Kjeldahl nitrogen (NH4+ + Norg) Calculated: total N minus oxidized N Statistical Analysis Statistics to determine whether there was a significant spatial or temporal pattern in the water-quality data were calculated using S-Plus 6. A link was created between the Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and a S-Plus dataset to perform the statistical analysis. A one way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was conducted on the means of each month, using the water-quality parameter as the dependent variable and the month as the independent variable. A linear regression was calculated using the three replications at each site (one from May, July and December), to determine if there was a correlation


between the distance from the Namibian/Angolan border (independent variable) and water-quality parameter value (dependent variable). Image classification and processing was conducted using Research Systems, Inc. ENVI 3.5 and PCI Geomatica 8.2 software. All of the software and hardware required to process the images was made available through the Center for Advanced Spatial Technology (CAST), at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. The images were initially georeferenced, classified. Subsequently, change detection analysis was run in ENVI. Data Acquisition The imagery used for land use and land cover analysis of the Okavango River basin was Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and Mulitspectral Scanner (MSS), which was provided by the Namibian Department of Water Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development. There are 18 available scenes from 1993 (Landsat 5 TM bands 2, 3, 4), 12 from 1973 (Landsat 5 MSS bands 4, 5, 6, 7) a 1997 image from Menongue, Angola (Landsat TM, bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) and a 1984 image from Rundu, Namibia (Landsat MSS bands 4, 5, 6, 7). Landsat TM and MSS do have consistent resolution. Landsat TM has 30 m spatial resolution, and has three visible bands, three infrared bands and one thermal band, while Landsat MSS has 79 m spatial resolution and has three visble and one infrared band. These satellite images were analyzed for land cover change along the Okavango River in Namibia and Angola. Three scenes each from 1993 and 1973/5 were used to assess land use and land cover change over a 20 year period. The 1973 images had a higher level of processing than the 1993 images, and had a projection of UTM zone 34S, datum WGS 84. Table 3.3: Satellite Images to be used for land cover change analysis (west to east). The scenes will be referred to using their scene number (10, 11 & 12). Sun Sun Scene Imagery Anniversary Scene name Satellite Azimuth Elevation : Date Window (degrees) (degrees) Landsat 1 08/27/73 55.59 44.25 Nkurenkuru 47 days 10 Landsat 5 10/13/93 78.13 54.91 Landsat 1 08/26/73 55.27 43.98 Rundu 39 days 11 Landsat 5 07/18/93 46.67 35.52 Landsat 2 08/24/75 41.37 56.73 Cuito 12 days 12 Confluence Landsat 5 08/12/93 52.22 39.53 Preprocessing The aim of all preprocessing is to make the images appear as though they were obtained from the same sensor (Hall, et al., 1991) and to enable the most accurate comparisons, so that when comparing change over time, you are actually comparing precisely the same area (pixel). The images should also have the same temporal, spatial,


spectral and radiometric resolutions (Mouat, et al., 1993). Usually for change comparison the images would have to be adjusted for sun elevation and angle, which affects the spectral signature of the images. Change detection analysis was conducted post classification. This removes the need for absolute accuracy in resolution and mainly depends on the accuracy of the classification. Spatial accuracy is still essential for the comparison, so the images must be georeferenced. The bands in the 1993 Landsat TM scenes were in individual files, so the first band was initially imported into PCI Geomatica 8.2 Focus as pix file. Two image channels were added and the remaining two bands from the scene were imported into the new channels. These were exported in ENVI header file format and opened in ENVI 3.5 for georeferencing and classification. The 1993 images were georeferenced to the 1973/5 images, as the 1973/5 images had a higher processing level (level 9 compared to level 5). Georeferencing is achieved by selecting common registration points (ground control points - GCP) between the two images. These were identified by river confluences and road intersections. River confluences were the main identifier as there is relatively little development away from the river. Figure 3.2 shows the location of GCPs for the scene that is west of the confluence of the Okavango and Cuito Rivers, and includes Rundu.

Figure 3.2: Location of common Ground Control Points for Scene 11: Rundu; 1993 (left) was warped to the 1973 (right) image. After the ground control points had been selected the 1993 scene was warped to the 1973 scenes projection in ENVI. This 1973 image was resampled using rotation, scaling and translation and the nearest neighbor method (choices in the ENVI GCP selection module). This resampling option adjusts the image to the preferred projection and assigns each pixel the digital numbers (the reflectance values) based on its nearest neighbor and does not change the original data so that little information is lost (Jensen, 1996). Root Mean Square (RMS) is the statistical error method for measuring residual error. GCPs can be accepted or rejected, according to their contribution to the RMS (Jensen, 1996). In the example shown in figure 3.2 there were 93 GCPs, with an RMS of 1.49. Any pixels that had a disproportionally high RMS were rejected. Figure 3.3 shows the two images


after the 1973 image had been georeferenced and illustrates that the scenes taken from the different years do not occupy the same geographical extent.

Figure 3.3: The original 1973 image (left) and the newly georeferenced 1993 (right) image for scene 11. During the warping required for georeferencing, the spatial resolution was modified for both the 1993 TM and 1973/5 images. The 1973/5 spatial resolution was artificially improved from 79 meters to 57 meters, while the 1993 TM resolution was degraded from 30 meters to 57 meters. The pixels have an area of 3249 m2. The digital numbers for the new pixels were interpolated from the original data using the nearest neighbor method. The change in pixel dimensions and the new digital numbers introduces some error into the classification, especially along class boundaries. Classification Only three bands were available in the 1993 images (Table 3.4). A composite of these three bands was used to compare the changes over time. Near infrared is highly indicative of vegetation health, as water stressed vegetation reflects less near infrared than healthy, moist vegetation. (Jensen, 1996). Table 3.4: Bands available for each sensor and their corresponding wavelengths and electromagnetic (EM) region. 1993 TM Bands Wavelength EM Region 4 0.76-0.90 Near Infrared 3 0.63-0.69 Red 2 0.52-0.60 Green 1973/5 MSS Bands Wavelength EM Region 7 0.8-1.1 Short Wave Infrared 6 0.7-0.8 Near Infrared 5 0.6-0.7 Red 4 0.5-0.6 Green


As there was a seasonal difference in the time that images were taken (table 3.3) a normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) was run on all the images. NDVI is the ratio between the red band (R) and the near infrared band (NIR) (equation 3.1). The ratio is applied to each pixel. The NDVI was used to augment the interpretation of both the unsupervised and supervised classifications. NDVI = NIR R (Equation 3.1) NIR + R The images were classified in two ways unsupervised and supervised. Unsupervised classification identifies clustering of digital numbers within the three bands and assigns them to a class. The number of classes and the minimum number of pixels assigned to a class can be controlled by the user. These spectral classes were then analyzed to determine if they correspond to any information classes. Spectral classes refer to a cluster of digital numbers and information classes refer to the spectral signature of objects on the ground (Richards and Kelly, 1984). For example water has a low reflectance at most bandwidths, while healthy vegetation has a strong reflection in near infrared and low reflectance in blue and red wavelengths. The information classes that should be identifiable from the images used in this study are water, bare ground, healthy vegetation and dry vegetation. A K-means unsupervised classification was run in ENVI, with three iterations (number of times the computer processed the data putting it into different classes) and a maximum of five classes. This method allocates each pixel to a class by assigning it to the one which minimizes the distance between pixel value and the class mean. In the first iteration the classes are assigned randomly; but with every consecutive iteration, the class boundaries become more appropriate to the pixel value distribution. Three iterations were chosen as a compromise between increasing accuracy and computer processing time. Since there was no ground truth data available the number of classes was limited to five so that relatively broad spectral classes would be identified (Jensen, 1996). By observing the classified image and determining how the pixels were related and correlated to the original image the five classes were assigned information classes (Table 3.5). Examining the distribution of the classes in spectral space using 2-dimensional scatter plots also assisted in identifying the information classes. Originally a maximum of ten spectral classes had been chosen, but I was unable to correlate the resulting classification to information classes, as I did not have any ground truth data (and the time lost from computer processing did not add enough useful information).


Table 3.5: The relationship between spectral and information classes through K-means unsupervised classification. Spectral Class Spectral Class Information Class Number Color Unclassified Grey Unidentifiable 1 Blue No reflectance (very dark water) 2 Bright Green Water or very damp vegetation/ground 3 Dark Green Healthy vegetation, (crops and natural) 4 Tan Unhealthy/Partially Cleared vegetation 5 White Bare ground (incl. roads and settlements) Supervised classification uses training sites that are defined by the user, by interpreting the image to define areas that are identifiable as information classes. These are input into the software and the remaining pixels are assigned to the class that they are closest to. Minimum distance is a common algorithm that assigns the pixel to a class based on the minimum distance to a class mean. The number of passes through the dataset affected class boundary and pixel assignment (Jensen, 1996). Training sites (called Regions of Interest - ROI, in ENVI) were identified by examining the spectral classes that the K-means unsupervised classification had identified, and observing the position of pixels in spectral space. Only four ROI classes were chosen, because there was no land cover data available that could be used to accurately identify more classes. Table 3.6 shows the classes that were used to conduct supervised classifications in ENVI and the characteristics used to select them. Two-dimensional scatter plots of where the classes position in spectral space were used as visual indicators of how unique the classes were. If there was significant overlap, the regions of interests were redefined to minimize the overlap, until the ROIs were suitably defined and spectrally distinct.

Table 3.6: The Regions of Interest (ROI) used for supervised classification in ENVI Spectral Class Spectral & NDVI Information Class Class Color Characteristics No/very low reflectance 1 Blue Water (specular), low NDVI value. Higher IR than Red, higher Healthy vegetation, 2 Green reflectance values than class 3. (crops and natural) Higher NDVI value than 3. Dry/Partially Cleared Higher (or similar) red than IR. 3 Tan vegetation Higher NDVI value than 4. Bare ground (incl. High reflectance in all bands. 4 White roads and settlements) Low NDVI values. Pixels were assigned to a class using Maximum Likelihood classification. This is a hard classifier that assigns a pixel to the class with the highest probability through


statistical analysis of spectral curves. Probability thresholds can be implemented so that only pixels with a high probability are within a class. The higher the probability threshold the more pixels will remain unclassified. This method accepts that pixels are not always one unique class, but may contain more than one class within the 3249 m2 pixel area. Every pixel has a probability of being in each class (so if there are four classes, then there are four probabilities), and the pixel is assigned to the class with the highest probability (unless a probability threshold is set). Maximum likelihood has some soft classifier characteristics (in that it recognized that a pixel may not spectrally pure). A probability threshold of 0.9 was used in the classification. Change detection analysis was conducted post-classification. As each scene did not have the same spatial extent in 1973 as it did in 1993 a region of interest was created that enclosed the common area from the two images in each scene. This was achieved by geographically linking the two images and drawing the boundary to the common area. This common area ROI was used to subset the scenes to create 2 images per scene that had the same spatial extent. The subset images were then used to determine change between 1973 and 1993. A confusion matrix was calculated using the 1973 subset image as the ground truth and the 1993 subset image as the input classification in ENVI 3.5. The confusion matrix is usually used to test a classification with respect to ground truth data (either an image or from ROIs) and ENVI outputs the matrix in both percent and pixel form. In this case the matrix was interpreted for change from 1973 to 1993. The principal diagonal represents pixels that did not change, while the columns give quantified information on from (class in 1973/5) the pixels changed to (class in 1993). The pixel confusion matrix was converted to m2, by multiplying the number of pixels by the area of each pixel (3249 m2) and then dividing by 1,000,000 which converts the area to km2. The accuracy of the change detection analysis relies on the accuracy of the classifications, whose comparability are affected by the factors that caused spectral reflectance differences between the two images. Change detection assumes constant temporal (within year), spatial, spectral and radiometric resolution, so that environmental consideration (phonological stage and atmospheric conditions) are as similar as possible. The resolutions of the Landsat satellite data that were analyzed were not constant, although conducting change analysis post-classification minimizes the error associated with this (Singh, 1988).

Chapter 4: Results
Water-quality During the period from May to December 2002 the water-quality of the Okavango River showed some marked temporal and spatial patterns. However the trends were not consistent between the water-quality parameters, sites and sampling periods.


A summary of the average water-quality parameters measured in each sampling period are presented in Table 4.1. The pH does not vary much between the sampling periods. The conductivity is low and there appears to be some temporal pattern. The dissolved oxygen seems to show some temporal trend, with the highest values in May. The phosphorus and total nitrogen concentrations in December are double their concentrations in May and July, although the oxidized nitrogen concentration is greatest in May. In December the reduced nitrogen is triple the concentration measured in May. Table 4.1: Summary of water-quality results from May to December. Each month is the mean of seven sites. May S.E.* July S.E.* December S.E.* 6.8 0.11 6.8 0.10 7.0 0.12 pH Conductivity (ES/cm) 34.5 0.57 25.3 5.05 41.0 3.29 0.74 5.8 0.64 6.4 0.35 Dissolved Oxygen (mg/l) 7.0 0.01 0.1 0.01 0.2 0.04 Total Phosphorus (mg/l) 0.1 0.15 0.3 0.08 2.8 0.16 Reduced Nitrogen (mg/l) 0.9 0.08 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.0 Oxidized Nitrogen (mg/l) 0.5 1.4 0.17 0.5 0.06 2.9 0.16 Total Nitrogen (mg/l) * Standard Error is calculated using: S.E. Standard deviation (s) is calculated using s

s (n  1)

x  x

n 1 pH The pH at the sampling sites along the Okavango River shows spatial and temporal changes, although they are not consistent trends (Figure 4.1). Over the study period the pH ranged from 6.5 to 7.6 (Table 4.2). Only five values were greater than pH 7.0, and only one of these (site 3, December) was greater than pH 7.5. Nkurenkuru (site 1) has the highest mean pH and Katere (site 5) has the lowest pH (in May). The pH at site 3 in December (7.58) appears to be anomalously high compared to the other pH values.

Table 4.2: Table of pH values, means and standard errors of sites 1-7, in May, July and December, 2002 Site May July December Site Mean S.E.* Site Name Nkurenkuru 1 7.38 7.40 7.16 7.31 0.08 Mupini 2 6.57 6.89 6.80 6.75 0.09 Nkwasi 3 6.72 6.79 7.58 7.03 0.27 Mupapama 4 6.95 6.80 6.79 6.85 0.05 Katere 5 6.50 6.53 6.98 6.67 0.15 Mukwe 6 7.03 6.80 6.60 6.81 0.12 Ngepi 7 6.75 6.67 6.88 6.77 0.06 6.84 6.84 6.97 Month Mean 0.11 0.10 0.12 S.E.* A slight spatial trend can be observed in July (figure 4.1). The pH decreases from sites 1 through 5, and then increases at site 6 before decreasing slightly at site 7. There is


not a consistent trend in May and December. The pH in May has greater variation between the sites. It decreases by about 0.8 between sites 1 and 2, increases by about 0.4 to site 4, decreases similarly to site 5, increases (by about a half) at site 6 and site 7 it had decreased again by 0.28. The December pH also has spatial variability, although it does not replicate the trend observed in May, as the pH increases and decreases between consecutive sites.
7.80 7.60 7.40 7.20
May July December

7.00 6.80 6.60 6.40 0 100 200 300 400 River Distance (km)
1 2 3 Site Number 4 5 6 7

Figure 4.1: The pH of the water from sites 1-7, in May, July and December 2002. River Distance is measured from the origin of the Okavango River as the Namibian border with Angola. Temperature The temperature of the water of the Okavango River showed a strong temporal trend, with the lowest values in July and highest in December (figure 4.2). This corresponds to the seasonal air temperature variation. During May and July the water temperature did not vary more than 1.1 oC. December was the only period that had a distinct spatial pattern. The temperature rose 2.2 oC between sites 1 and 2, and then steadily decreased by 7.3 oC to site 5. Between site 5 and 7 there was an increase of 5 oC.


Table 4.3: Table of temperature values (oC), means and standard errors of sites 1-7, in May, July and December, 2002. Site May July December Site Mean S.E.* Site Name Nkurenkuru 1 20.7 17 27.6 21.77 3.11 Mupini 2 19.9 17.9 29.8 22.53 3.68 Nkwasi 3 20.2 17 29.5 22.23 3.75 Mupapama 4 20.2 17.5 26.7 21.47 2.73 Katere 5 20.9 17 22.5 20.13 1.63 Mukwe 6 20.5 18 27.4 21.97 2.81 Ngepi 7 20.2 16.9 28.9 22.00 3.58 20.4 17.3 27.5 Month Mean 0.13 0.18 0.94 S.E.*



25 May July 20 December



10 0 1 100 200 300 River Distance (km) 2 3 4 Site Number 5 6 400 7

Figure 4.2: The temperature measured with the Hach EC20 Portable pH/ISE meter model 50075, in May July and December 2003 from sites 1 to 7. River Distance is measured from the origin of the Okavango River as the Namibian border with Angola.


There seems to be some relationship between water temperature and the time of data collection (figure 4.3). The variation in time was greater than the temperature variation between sites.

Figure 4.3: The relationship between water temperature and time of day sample was collected. Electrical Conductivity The electrical conductivity of the Okavango River ranges from 24.5 ES/cm to 47.2 ES/cm (both in December, at sites 7 and 2, respectively). May has the most consistent values with the lowest value at site 3 (32.3 ES/cm) and the highest at site 5 (36.3 ES/cm) (table 4.4). The greatest spatial variation occurs in July ( 5.05 ES/cm). December generally has the highest values except for site 7, where December is the lowest value (figure 4.4). Table 4.4: Conductivity (ES/cm) of the Okavango River in May, July and December 2002. No data is represented with x Site Name Nkurenkuru Mupini Nkwasi Mupapama Katere Mukwe Site 1 2 3 4 5 6 May 32.8 35.4 35.5 35.1 36.3 32.3 July December Site Mean S.E.* 37.5 46.7 39.00 4.08 x 47.2 29.51 12.27 x 43.3 28.45 11.18 35.8 46.4 39.10 3.66 32.3 45.6 38.07 3.94 29.8 33.6 31.90 1.12


Ngepi Month Mean S.E.*

50 45 40

33.9 34.5 0.57

29.1 25.3 5.05

24.5 41.0 3.29



Conductivity ( E S/cm)

35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 0 1 100 2 200 River Distance (km) 3 4 Site Number 300 5 6 400 7

May July December

Figure 4.4: Conductivity (ES/cm) of the Okavango River in May, July and December 2002. River Distance is measured from the origin of the Okavango River as the Namibian border with Angola.

Dissolved Oxygen (DO) The DO concentrations vary markedly over space and time, with no apparently consistent trend in either case. In May there is an increase from sites 1 to 3 by 2.9 mg/l, followed by a drop of 7.6 mg/l at site 4. It then increased steadily from site 4 to site 7 (figure 4.5). Table 4.5: Dissolved Oxygen (mg/l) of Okavango River in May, July and December 2002. Site Name Site May July Dec Site Mean S.E.* Nkurenkuru 1 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.4 0.06


Mupini Nkwasi Mupapama Katere Mukwe Ngepi Month Mean S.E.*

2 3 4 5 6 7

7.7 10.2 3.9 5.6 6.7 7.5 7.0 0.74

8.6 7.8 5.4 6.5 5.6 6.2 3.3 5.8 5.2 5.5 5.3 5.6 5.8 6.4 0.64 0.35

8.0 7.4 5.2 4.9 5.8 6.1

0.28 1.45 0.69 0.80 0.46 0.69

There is an overall decrease in DO in July, with the exception of site 2 (where there was a slightly higher concentration) and site 5 (which had the lowest concentration measured at 3.3 mg/l). In December the DO increased at site 2, and then steadily decreased by 2.2 mg/l to site 7. In July and December site 2 had the highest DO. May had the greatest range of dissolved oxygen concentrations of the three sampling periods. Generally the up-stream sites (1-3) have higher concentrations of DO.


May July Dec

Dissolved Oxygen (mg/l)

0 0 1 50 100 150 2 200 250 300 5 350 6 400 7 450 River Distance (km) 3 4 Site Number

Figure 4.5: Dissolved Oxygen (mg/l) of Okavango River in May, July and December 2002. River Distance is measured from the origin of the Okavango River as the Namibian border with Angola. Nitrogen Reduced (kjeldahl) nitrogen concentration is responsible for most of the total nitrogen measured (figure 4.6, tables 4.6 and 4.7). Kjeldahl nitrogen is organic nitrogen and


ammonium (NH4+), while oxidized nitrogen is nitrite (NO2-) and nitrate (NO3-). In July and December the oxidized nitrogen concentrations were 0.1 mg/l at all sites, therefore the total nitrogen is 0.1 mg/l greater than reduced (kjeldahl) nitrogen in the two sampling periods. May was the only sampling period with measurable nitrate and nitrite, and all other values were all less than 1.0 mg/l. It also did not follow the spatial trend of the reduced nitrogen concentrations. The oxidized nitrogen was only greater than the reduced at site 3 and then only by 0.2 mg/l (see the blue circles in figure 4.6). Table 4.6: Oxidized nitrogen concentrations for May, July and December 2002, with the month and site means. Site Name Site May July Dec Site Mean S.E.* Nkurenkuru 1 0.5 0.1 0.1 0.24 0.13 Mupini 2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.11 0.00 Nkwasi 3 0.8 0.1 0.1 0.34 0.24 Mupapama 4 0.5 0.1 0.1 0.24 0.13 Katere 5 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.21 0.10 Mukwe 6 0.6 0.1 0.1 0.27 0.17 Ngepi 7 0.5 0.1 0.1 0.23 0.13 0.5 0.1 0.1 Mean 0.08 0.00 0.00 S.E.*

4 3.5 3 Nitrogen (mg/l) 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 0 1 50 100 150 2 200 250 300 5 350 6 400 7 450 River Distance (km) 3 4 Site Number

May-Total July-Total Dec-Total May-Ox July-Ox Dec-Ox May-Red July-Red Dec-Red


Figure 4.6: Oxidized (NO2- & NO3-); reduced (Norg & NH4+) and total nitrogen concentrations (mg/l) for May, July and December 2002. River Distance is measured from the origin of the Okavango River as the Namibian border with Angola.

The reduced nitrogen in May and July was also low, with only one value (May, site 6) having a concentration greater than 1.5 mg/l. The reduced nitrogen concentrations were greater in May than July. December had the greatest reduced nitrogen concentrations of the three sampling periods. Table 4.7: Reduced nitrogen concentrations for May, July and December 2002, with the month and site means. Site Name Site May July Dec Site Mean S.E.* Nkurenkuru 1 1.1 0.5 2.8 1.46 0.69 Mupini 2 0.7 0.3 2.6 1.20 0.71 Nkwasi 3 0.6 0.3 2.4 1.10 0.66 Mupapama 4 0.9 0.7 3.7 1.76 0.97 Katere 5 0.6 0.1 2.6 1.10 0.76 Mukwe 6 1.6 0.2 3.1 1.63 0.84 Ngepi 7 0.8 0.5 2.7 1.33 0.69 0.9 0.4 2.8 Mean 0.14 0.08 0.16 S.E.* The spatial trend in the reduced nitrogen was similar in all three months, with a decrease from site 1 to site 3, an increase to site 4, and a decrease to site 5. In May and December there was a marked increase between site 5 and 6, followed by a decrease to site 7. In July there was an increase from site 5 to site 7, although site 6 had the second lowest reduced nitrogen concentration (0.2 mg/l). In July and December site 4 had the greatest reduced nitrogen concentration, while in May site 6 had the greatest concentration. Phosphorus The total phosphorus contents are an order of magnitude lower than the total nitrogen; with the maximum total phosphorus being 0.37 mg/l while the maximum total nitrogen is 3.8 mg/l. The spatial trend and concentrations of total phosphorus are very similar between May and July (figure 4.7). Most sites in May and July were below the detection limit of the method at 0.7 mg/l (APHA, et al., 1995). Only sites 4, 6 and 1 (in July) had measurable concentrations of phosphorus. These were less than 0.15 mg/l (table 4.8).


0.4 0.35 0.3 Total Phosphorus (mg/l) 0.25 0.2 0.15 0.1 0.05 0 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400

May July Dec


River Distance (km)

3 4 Site Number

Figure 4.7: Total phosphorus (mg/l) concentrations of the Okavango River in May, June and December 2002. River Distance is measured from the origin of the Okavango River as the Namibian border with Angola.

In December every site had measurable phosphorus, but they did not exceed 0.37 mg/l. The spatial pattern of phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations was similar in May and July, but not in December. Site 2, 3, 4 and 5 were the only sites with greater than 0.2 mg/l. Sites 1, 6 and 7 had less than 0.15 mg/l (figure 4.5 and table 4.8). Table 4.8: Total phosphorus concentrations for May, July and December 2002, with the month and site means. Site May July Dec Site Mean S.E.* Site Name Nkurenkuru 1 0.07 0.1 0.15 0.11 0.02 Mupini 2 0.07 0.07 0.37 0.17 0.10 Nkwasi 3 0.07 0.07 0.23 0.12 0.05 Mupapama 4 0.10 0.1 0.22 0.14 0.04 Katere 5 0.07 0.07 0.28 0.14 0.07 Mukwe 6 0.13 0.1 0.12 0.12 0.01 Ngepi 7 0.07 0.07 0.08 0.07 0.00 0.1 0.1 0.2 Month Mean 0.01 0.01 0.04 S.E.*


Previous studies on the water-quality of the Okavango River Bethune (1991) conducted a survey on the hydrology, physiology, fauna and flora of the Okavango River in Namibia from 1984 to 1986. This included analyzing the waterquality of the mainstream and backwaters of the Okavango River. The mainstream results for the conductivity and pH are presented in table 4.9, and the nutrient concentrations are presented in table 4.10. Only the mean values were available, so no spatial relationships can be determined from this data. In general, Bethune (1991) found that the waters were clear, well mixed and oxygenated, and the water temperatures within a degree of the air temperatures, with diurnal variation. The mean conductivity ranged from 31.8 ES/cm to 43.7 ES/cm (table 4.9). December had the highest conductivity measured in 1984, which corresponds to the higher conductivity measured in 2002 (tables 4.1; 4.4 & figure 4.4). There is an increase in mean conductivity in 1984 from March through December. The pH ranges from 6.79 to 7.19, and has the same temporal trend as the conductivity, in that it increases from March to December. In 2002, December also had the highest pH. Table 4.9: The mean conductivity and pH measured in the field for the mainstream sites from 1984 to 1986. No data collected is symbolized with x. 1984 1986 March June October December June Conductivity 31.8 1.5 36.9 3.92 38.0 8.34 43.7 2.83 33.0 7.35 (ES/cm) 6.79 0.14 6.89 0.14 7.09 0.13 7.19 0.54 x pH In March and June of 1984 the concentration of nitrite and nitrate was below the limit of the detection. The oxidized nitrogen from 2002 was the sum of nitrate and nitrate concentrations. These were also too low to be detected in July and December of 2002 and the highest concentration was 0.8 mg/l in May, which is double the highest concentration measured in 1984 through 1986, at 0.43 mg/l in May 1985 (Table 4.10). Kjeldahl (reduced) nitrogen is ammonia and organic nitrogen. As in 2002 these contribute more to the total nitrogen than the oxidized nitrogen. In 1984 to 86 the ammonia concentration ranged from below detection limits to 1.68 mg/l, while the organic nitrogen ranged from below detection limits to 6.27 mg/l. Organic nitrogen had a much greater range than the ammonia, although there does not appear to be a relationship between the two. The highest ammonia and organic nitrogen concentrations were measured in March and June, 1984, at 1.68 mg/l and 6.27, respectively. The dissolved oxygen ranged between 5.3 to 9.4 mg/l, although no temporal data is available.


Table 4.10: The minimum and maximum concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus (mg/l) field for the mainstream sites from 1984 to 1986. Concentrations below the detectable limit of analysis are represented by -. Nitrite: NO2-, Nitrate (NO3-); Ammonium (NH4+) Organic Nitrogen (Norg) & Phosphorus (P) 1984 1985 1986 Mar Jun Oct Dec May Jun min max min max min max min max min max min max 0.25 0.02 0.002 0.17 NO20.02 0.43 0.10 NO3 + 1.12 0.24 2.46 0.62 0.06 0.50 0.28 0.84 NH4 0.56 1.68 * 1.14 0.11 0.34 1.57 0.56 1.12 Norg 0.28 0.56 1.23 6.27 Total 0.03 0.10 0.10 0.03 0.07 0.07 0.05 P The water-quality was monitored at 9 sites along the Okavango River on six occasions between 1993 and 1994 and the results were presented in Hays et. al. (2000) (Appendix A; table A-E). The locations of these sites are illustrated in figure 4.8 along with the approximate locations of the 2002 sampling sites presented in chapter 4. The pH varied inconsistently in both spatial and temporal scales. Four pH values were greater than 8.0, and all of these occurred in autumn and winter of 1994, at Bunya, Rundu and Mbambi (sites 4, 5 and 7). The two highest pH values measured occurred at Bunya. The highest pH measured in 2002 was downstream from Rundu (site 3, Nkwasi) and was measured in December, which was the warmest period (summer). There were also nine instances where the pH was less than 6.5, four of which occurred in spring 1994, and three were in autumn 1993. Three sites (1, 3 and 4) had a pH less than 6.5 two out of the six times measured. There was more variation in the pH in 1993 and 1994 than in either 1984 or 2002.


Site 1 Site 2 Site 3 Site 5 Site 4 Site 6 Site 7

Figure 4.8: Location of sites in 1993/94 used in Hays et al., (2000), at Kakuru, Matava, Musese, Bunya, Rundu, Cuito, Mbambi, Popa Falls and Kwetze (black numbers). The approximate locations of the 2002 sites are labeled in red. Modified from Hays et al., (2000). The conductivity values measured along the Okavango River in 1993/4 are three orders of magnitude greater than those measured in 1984 and 2002. The 1993/4 values are close to the conductivity of sea water. The oxygen levels ranged from 2.50 to 10.50 mg/l, with all of the winter 1994 values being below 5 mg/l. The four highest values were measured in summer and autumn of 1994 at sites 6, 7 and 8 (Cuito, Bunya and Popa Falls). Site 8 tends to have higher values than the rest of the sites. There was no reduced (Kjeldahl) nitrogen data available for 1993/94. Most of the oxidized nitrogen (nitrate plus nitrite) were less than 1 mg/l, although in winter of 1993 and 1993, Cuito (site 6) had values of 1.1 mg/l. The levels at Rundu, Popa Falls and Kwetze (sites 5, 8 and 9) were less than or equal to 0.40 mg/l at all sampling times. The majority of the phosphorus levels were less than 0.1 mg/l, with the exception of Kakuru and Musese in autumn 1993 and spring 1994, and Rundu in winter 1993. Statistics A one way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was calculated on the means of each month to determine if they were statistically different. All of the temporal trends of the water-quality parameters were statistically significant at the 95 % confidence level, with the exception of pH and dissolved oxygen (table 4.11). Nitrogen and temperature have the lowest P-values, (P < 0.01) and have highly significant temporal trends. The temperature was significantly different in each month, with December being the warmest and July being the coldest (figure 4.2). In the case of oxidized nitrogen (figure 4.6), the


values in May are higher than the values in July and December. Reduced nitrogen has higher values in December compared to May and July, and total nitrogen is different in all three months. The total phosphorus concentrations in December are very significantly (P 0.01) higher than the concentrations in May and July (figure 4.7). The conductivity is significantly different in May, July and December, with highest values occurring in December and the lowest in July.

Table 4.11: Statistical Significance of the temporal trends observed for water-quality in 2002, calculated using one-way ANOVA. NS: not significant; * significant; ** very significant; *** highly significant. Water-quality Parameter P-Value Confidence Level Significance pH 0.660 NS Conductivity 0.017 95 % * Dissolved Oxygen 0.412 NS Temperature 5.12 x 10-10 99.9 % *** Total Nitrogen 1.88 x 10-9 99.9 % *** Oxidized Nitrogen 9.98 x 10-6 99.9 % *** -10 Reduced Nitrogen 1.89 x 10 99.9 % *** Total Phosphorus 0.0011 99 % ** A linear regression was calculated on the three replications at each site, to determine if there was a correlation between the distance from the Namibian/Angolan border and water-quality parameter value (table 4.12). Only December showed a linear spatial trend in any of the water-quality parameters (conductivity, dissolved oxygen and total phosphorus). Both conductivity and dissolved oxygen have linear decreases in December from site 1 to site 7. Total phosphorus shows an overall decrease, although this is not consistent from site 1 to 7.


Table 4.12: Statistical Significance of the spatial trends observed or water-quality in 2002, calculated through linear regression. NS: not significant; * significant; ** very significant; *** highly significant. May July December Water-quality 2 2 Parameter P-Value R P-Value R P-Value R2 pH 0.390 NS 0.150 0.034 NS 0.625 0.290 NS 0.219 Conductivity 0.894 NS 0.001 0.731 NS 0.026 0.037 * 0.615 Dissolved Oxygen 0.668 NS 0.040 0.116 NS 0.418 0.006 ** 0.808 Temperature 0.994 NS 0.000 0.839 NS 0.009 0.674 NS 0.038 Total Nitrogen 0.619 NS 0.053 0.300 NS 0.010 0.772 NS 0.170 Oxidized Nitrogen 0.716 NS 0.029 0.914 NS 0.003 0.201 NS 0.302 Reduced Nitrogen 0.685 NS 0.035 0.835 NS 0.009 0.769 NS 0.019 Total Phosphorus 0.338 NS 0.183 0.683 NS 0.004 0.019 ** 0.173 Image Classification False Color Infrared Images A mosaic of the three images used in this study is provided in figure 4.9. Each image has a scene number (table 3.3) that is identified in figure 4.9. The 1973/5 images did not contain the eastern portion of the Okavango River (Scene 12), so the data are limited to upstream of the confluence between the Cuito and Okavango Rivers.



Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) NDVI is a ratio of the near infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (0.95 Em) and the red portion (0.65 Em) and varies between minus one and one. A pixel with high reflectance in the near infrared and low in the red wavelengths will have a high NDVI value. High NDVI values are indicative of healthy vegetation. A color template (figure 4.10) was imposed on the images to highlight the differences between NDVI values. The NDVI images were stretched to the same values (-0.126 to +0.174) for a more valid comparison (Mouat, et al., 1993).

Figure 4.10: The color-0.126 template imposed on the Normalized Differential Vegetation 0.174 Index images. The images from 1993 generally have higher NDVI values than 1973/5 (figures 4.11 4.12, & 4.13), even in Scene 10 where the 1993 image was taken 47 days further into the dry season than the 1973 image (figure 4.11). In Scene 10 there is a fairly distinct northern trend with an increase in NDVI values, both in 1993 and 1973. The relic sand dunes (omarumba) can be seen in the southeastern portion of Scene 10, where there is linear change pattern. In 1973 it varies between blue and green, which corresponds to NDVI values -0.120 and -0.010 respectively. In 1993 the NDVI values change from -0.07 (dark green) to 0.01 (pale green).

27th Aug 73


13th Oct 93

Figure 4.11: Normalized Differential Vegetation Index of 1973 (above) and 1993 (below), Scene 10. The Okavango River flows SE across the northern half of the image.
-0.126 0.174

In 1973, Scene 11, the floodplain of the Okavango River is apparent, as it has lower NDVI values than the surrounding area (figure 4.12). Alongside the active channel of the NDVI values are higher. The Cuito River floodplain also has higher NDVI values. Again there is a northern trend of increasing NDVI values. Overall the 1993 image has much higher NDVI values than the 1973 image, although there is a larger area with relatively lower NDVI values in 1993 than in 1973. This is illustrated in the inserts of figure 4.12. The red (1973) and black (1993) boxes highlight Rundu Airport. The lower NDVI values extend to the airport in 1993, but not 1973. In the southwest portion of the 1993 image there is an extensive area of lower NDVI values with increasing distance from the river, a pattern that is not apparent in the 1973 image. Relic sand dunes are apparent in this area. The higher NDVI values in 1993 are repeated for Scene 12 (figure 4.13). In this instance we are not comparing 1993 to 1973, but 1993 to 1975. Only the southern half of the image is of interest because the northern half drains into the Kwando River, which is not connected to Okavango River system. The high NDVI values in the grey circle in the 1993 insert are a result of commercial framing.


26th Aug 73

18th Jul 93

Figure 4.12: Normalized Differential Vegetation Index of 1973 (above) and 1993 (below), Scene 11. The Okavango River flows SE and E in the southern half of the image, and the Cuito River flows SE to its confluence with the Okavango River, east of the image. The insert is Rundu, the main town of the Kavango Region.
-0.126 0.174


24th Aug 75

12th Aug 93

Figure 4.13: Normalized Differential Vegetation Index of 1973 (above) and 1993 (below), Scene 12. The Okavango River is not visible in the 1975 image. In the NE portion the Kwando River flows SE. The Okavango/Cuito confluence is visible in the 1993 image. -0.126 0.174

Unsupervised Classification: K-means The unsupervised K-means classification was restricted to 5 spectral classes (table 4.13). There were no pixels that were unidentifiable in any of the images (table 4.14). Class 1 had very low reflectance in the three bands, and most of the pixels in this class were the black border around the images. Some pixels within the image that were associated with lower NDVI values (approaching -1) were also classified in class 1. These were confined to the floodplains of the drainages. Although the 1993 image has a higher percentage of its pixels classified in class 1, the 1973 images have more class 1 pixels within the image (figures 4.14, 4.15 & 4.16). There was a lower percentage of class 2 in the 1993 images than the 1973 images. Class 2 was identified as either water or damp ground/vegetation. Table 4.13: The relationship between spectral and information classes through k-means unsupervised classification. Information classes were identified by comparing the classified images with spectral profiles, NDVI images and color infrared images. Spectral Class Spectral Class Information Class Number Color Unclassified Grey Unidentifiable 1 Dark Blue No/very low reflectance (specular) 2 Bright Green Water or very damp vegetation/ground 3 Dark Green Healthy vegetation, (crops and natural) 4 Tan Dry/Partially Cleared vegetation 5 White Bare ground (incl. roads and settlements) The largest percentage of pixels were classified into spectral classes 3 and 4 (table 4.14), which were identified as healthy vegetation (either crops or natural) and dry or partially cleared vegetation (table 4.18). These classes appear as dark green and tan on figures 4.14, 4.15 & 4.16. The percent of pixels classified as class 5 (bare ground) are similar in the 1973 and 1993 images, although the 1973 images have a slightly higher percentage (table 4.14). Table 4.14: Percent Pixels in each spectral class for the K-means Classification. Scene-Year Spectral Class Color Total 101011111212Class 1973 1993 1973 1993 1973 1993 UnGrey 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 classified 1 Dark Blue 10.84 15.09 10.09 13.68 8.81 14.13 72.64 Bright 2 8.71 5.80 9.48 3.52 12.01 4.12 43.64 Green Dark 3 29.28 27.93 31.03 30.25 34.68 29.98 183.15 Green 4 Tan 35.63 35.84 37.00 41.17 30.67 38.10 218.41 5 White 15.54 15.34 12.40 11.38 13.83 13.67 82.17

The spatial distribution change of the classes between the two years is also of interest. In Scene 10 there appears to be a northern trend between classes 3 and 4, where class 3 (healthy vegetation) occurs more in the northern portion and class 4 (dry vegetation) occurs more in southern portion, in both the 1973 and 1993 image. The only class which seems to have a spatial difference from 1973 to 1993 in Scene 10 is class 5. The dark red ellipse on figure 4.14 encompasses the same area at both dates. There were many more class 5 pixels in this area in 1993 compared to 1973. In the dark green ellipse on figure 4.14, the 1973 image had more pixels classified into class 5 than the 1993 image.
27th Aug 73

13th Oct 93


Figure 4.14: K-means classification of Scene 10: 1973 (above) and 1993 (below). See table 4.13 for information classes related to spectral classes.


After examining the images in Scene 11 it appears that most of the class 3 (healthy vegetation) has been replaced by class 4 (dry vegetation) from 1973 to 1993 (figure 4.15). Class 2 has also appears to have been replaced with class 3 from 1973 to 1993. Although the actual percentage of pixels classified into class 5 show that there was more bare ground in the 1973 image, there does seem to be a spatial increase of bare ground along the Okavango River. The subsets illustrate this at Rundu (dark red box) and Nzinze (dark green box) on figure 4.15. The red subset corresponds to the water-quality site 3, Nkwazi (figure 1.3). Throughout most of Scene 12 there appears to have been a decrease in class 1 and 2, and an increase in class 4 (figure 4.16 and table 4.14), similar to the change observed in Scene 11, where, from 1973 to 1993, the drier classes replaced the wetter classes. An example of this are the areas that were classified as class 2 (water or very damp vegetation/ground) in 1973 tended to be classified as healthy vegetation (class 3) in 1993 (figure 4.16). The black box in figure 4.16 illustrates changes from pixels mainly classified into class 2 and 3 in 1973 and then in 1993 the same pixels were classified into classes 3 and 4. There also does not seem to be a noticeable increase or decrease in class 5 from 1973 to 1993 in Scene 12 (table 4.14)


27th Aug 73

18th Jul 93

Figure 4.15: K-means classification of Scene 11: 1973 (above) and 1993 (below). See table 4.13 for information classes related to spectral classes.


27th Aug 75

12th Aug 93

Figure 4.16: K-means classification of Scene 12: 1973 (above) and 1993 (below). See table 4.13 for information classes related to spectral classes.

Supervised Classification though Maximum Likelihood The maximum likelihood classification calculates the probability of a pixel belonging to each class and assigns pixels to the class with the highest probability. The supervised maximum likelihood classification was limited to four spectral classes (table 4.15). The output classification from maximum likelihood is very similar to that of the unsupervised K-means classification, even with fewer spectral classes. More pixels were classified as water from the unsupervised to the supervised classification in both 1993 and 1973. Generally class 2 (green) from the K-means unsupervised classification was split between the water and healthy vegetation classes in the maximum likelihood classification. The black border around the images was assigned to the bare ground class in 1993, while in 1973/5 scenes 10 and 12 it was assigned to the water class and in 1973, in scene 11 it was assigned to the healthy vegetation class. Each 1993 maximum likelihood classifications had a higher percentage of unclassified pixels than the corresponding 1973 classifications. Table 4.15 shows the percent of pixels in each class in the shared area between the corresponding images from both years. In the three scenes along where the Okavango River forms the Namibian\Angolan border (scenes 10, 11 and 12), a higher percentage of pixels were classified as water in 1973 than 1993 in Scene 10 (the most western scene) and 12 (the most eastern scene), while scene 11 (the central scene) was the only image with more pixels classified as water in 1993 than 1973. All of the scenes, with the exception of scene 11 in 1973, had more pixels classified as dry vegetation than healthy vegetation. There was also a higher percentage of healthy vegetation compared to dry vegetation pixels in the 1973/5 images. The percent of pixels classified as bare ground increased from 1973 to 1993 in scenes 10 and 11, while they decreased by a little less than half in scene 12. Table 4.15: Percent Pixels in each class for the Maximum Likelihood Classification for the common area shared between the two years in each scene. Scene-Year Information Class Color 101011111212Class 1973 1993 1973 1993 1973 1993 Unclassified Grey 10.76 19.18 15.94 18.75 12.21 25.30 Water Dark Blue 0.44 0.08 1.01 2.44 1.52 1.33 Healthy Dark 30.37 26.84 41.04 25.36 30.88 8.42 Vegetation Green Dry Vegetation Tan 43.13 37.73 32.63 41.69 48.90 61.46 Bare Ground White 15.30 16.16 9.36 11.76 6.48 3.49 Only 50 % or less of the pixels classified in 1973/5 were classified into the same class in 1993 (Table 4.16; 4.18 & 4.20). In scene 10 the majority (66 %) of pixels that were classified as water in 1973 were classified as healthy vegetation in 1993, which is equivalent to 66 km2. Of the 19.1 km2 classified as water in 1993, only 3.4 km2 of those were classified into a different class in 1973 (table 4.17).

Table 4.16: Confusion Matrix from the Maximum Likelihood classification, showing difference in percent from 1973 (columns) to 1993 (rows) in Scene 10. Healthy Dry Bare Class Unclassified Water Total Vegetation Vegetation Ground Un22.02 6.02 16.58 20.23 19.75 19.18 classified Water Healthy Vegetation Dry Vegetation Bare Ground Total 0.02 21.95 39.01 17.00 100.00 15.79 66.10 11.10 1.00 100.00 0.04 47.21 29.15 7.02 100.00 0.00 20.01 42.77 16.99 100.00 0.00 8.00 40.45 31.81 100.00 0.08 26.84 37.73 16.16 100.00

Most of the pixels that were not classified as healthy vegetation in 1973 were classified as dry vegetation (29 %) or were not classified (17 %) in 1993, which is the equivalent of approximately 2,000 km2 and 1,500 km2 respectively (table 4.16 and 4.17). The 1973 pixels that were not classified as dry ground were classified as healthy vegetation (~1,900 km2), bare ground (~1,650 km2), or were not classified (~2,000 km2) in 1993. Most of the pixels classified as bare ground in 1973 were classified as dry vegetation (~1,400 km2) in 1993. There was an increase of 190 km2 in bare ground from 1973 to 1993.


Table 4.17: Confusion Matrix from the Maximum Likelihood classification, showing difference in area (km2) from 1973 (columns) to 1993 (rows) for Scene 10. UnHealthy Dry Bare Class Water Total classified Vegetation Vegetation Ground Un533.79 5.97 1,134.43 1,966.14 680.77 4,321.11 classified Water Healthy Vegetation Dry Vegetation Bare Ground Total 0.54 532.13 945.62 412.04 2,424.13 15.67 65.58 11.01 0.99 99.22 2.65 3,230.34 1,994.18 480.48 6,842.08 0.23 1,944.10 4,156.26 1,650.98 9,717.70 0.02 275.76 1,394.39 1,096.51 3,447.45 19.11 6,047.92 8,501.46 3,640.99 22,530.58

The spatial distribution of pixels classified as bare ground in scene 10 in the maximum likelihood classification (figure 4.17) is very similar to that of the K-means unsupervised classification (figure 4.14). The subset of figure 4.17 highlights the increase in bare ground along the river from 1973 to 1993. There are very few pixels classified as bare ground along the Okavango River upstream from the subset (this is near the entry of the Okavango into Namibia). The bare ground along the Okavango River occurs from the subset in figure 4.17 downstream and through scenes 11 and 12. The blue subset shows an increase of bare ground along the Mpungu and Namungundo Rivers.
27th Aug 73


13th Oct 93

Figure 4.17: Maximum Likelihood Classification for Scene 10, with four classes: bare ground (white), dry vegetation (tan) healthy vegetation (green) and water (blue). The red subset is located at Nkurenkuru (water sample site 1) and the blue subset is located at Kaukuwa. The red square indicates the same area in both 1973 and 1993 for each subset. In scene 11, 50 % of the pixels classified as water were also classified as water in 1993 and, as in scene 10, the majority of the remaining pixels were classified as healthy vegetation. Approximately 3,000 km2 (37 %) of pixels classified as healthy vegetation in 1973 was classified as dry vegetation in 1993 (table 4.18 & 4.19), a greater difference than is observed in scene 10 (37 % compared to 29 %). The pixels classified as dry vegetation in 1973 in scene 11 had a similar reclassification proportion in 1973 as scene 10, with most (20 % of ~6,500 km2-) being classified as healthy vegetation. The rest was divided between bare ground (11 %) and unclassified (19%). The bare ground also had similar reclassification trend in scene 11 as it did in scene 10, with the majority (36 %) being classified as dry vegetation in 1993. Table 4.18: Confusion Matrix showing difference in percent from 1973 (columns) to 1993 (rows) in Scene 11. Healthy Dry Bare Class Unclassified Water Total Vegetation Vegetation Ground Un19.10 15.62 18.54 19.19 17.80 18.74 classified Water Healthy Vegetation 1.49 22.95 50.10 22.08 3.24 34.94

0.98 19.95

0.50 6.61

2.44 25.36

Dry Vegetation Bare Ground Total

44.41 12.05 100

8.37 3.83 100

37.39 5.90 100

48.37 11.51 100

36.31 38.78 100

41.69 11.76 100.00

There was an increase in the area classified as water (288 km2), dry vegetation (1,834 km ) and bare ground (484 km2) from 1973 to 1993, while the area classified as healthy vegetation decreased by 3,173 km2 (table 4.18). There were also more pixels that did not meet the 0.9 probability threshold in 1993 than 1973. Table 4.19: Confusion Matrix showing difference in area (km2) from 1973 (columns) to 1993 (rows) for Scene 11. UnHealthy Dry Bare Class Water Total classified Vegetation Vegetation Ground Un613.89 31.79 1,535.98 1,260.74 336.10 3,778.50 classified

Water Healthy Vegetation Dry Vegetation Bare Ground Total

47.90 737.93 1,427.57 387.52 3,214.80

101.97 44.93 17.03 7.80 203.53

268.20 2,894.95 3,098.36 488.72 8,286.21

64.48 1,310.84 3,177.65 755.83 6,569.54

9.50 124.73 685.62 732.19

492.04 5,113.37 8,406.23 2,372.08

1,888.14 20,162.23

There was an increase in pixels classified as water (red) from 1973 to 1993, Scene 11. A relatively high proportion of these occur away from the rivers, in the upper parts of the Angolan drainages. The decrease in the area and proportion of the scene classified as healthy vegetation is apparent by visual observance of the images (figure 4.18). It is also apparent that the increase in bare ground has mainly occurred on the southern side of the Okavango River. The subsets show two larger scale examples of this increase, the blue is at Nzinze (downstream from Nkurenkuru, site 1) and the red is located at Rundu (site 3, Nkwazi). The smaller red boxes within the subsets are located in the same place in both 1973 and 1993. At Rundu (red subset) the red box is located the airport.


26th Aug 73

18th Jul 93

Figure 4.18: Maximum Likelihood Classification of Scene 11, in 1973 and 1993, with four classes: water (blue), healthy vegetation (green), dry vegetation (tan) and bare ground (white). The blue inset is located at Tondoro and Nzinze, and the red subset is located at Rundu. The red boxes in the insets correspond to the same area in both 1973 and 1993.


In scene 12 the 1993 scene has the highest proportion of unclassified pixels and pixels classed as dry vegetation. Unfortunately it is difficult to compare changes along the river, as only a small proportion of the Okavango River is contained within the 1975 image. The majority of the 1993 image was classified as dry vegetation, which biases the percentage confusion matrix, as the majority of pixels changed to dry vegetation from all classes in 1973. The 1993 image also has the highest proportion of unclassified pixels of all of the images, as well as the lowest proportion healthy vegetation and bare ground. Table 4.20: Confusion Matrix showing difference in percent from 1975 (columns) to 1993 (rows) in Scene 12. Healthy Dry Bare Class Unclassified Water Total Vegetation Vegetation Ground Unclassified Water Healthy Vegetation Dry Vegetation Bare Ground Total 25.42 0.86 6.50 64.57 2.65 100 22.88 15.56 13.27 45.17 3.13 100 29.17 1.97 18.53 49.22 1.11 100 22.80 0.71 3.41 69.82 3.27 100 26.09 0.47 0.61 54.76 18.07 100 25.30 1.33 8.42 61.46 3.49 100


Table 4.21: Confusion Matrix showing difference in area (km2) from 1975 (columns) to 1993 (rows) for Scene 12. UnHealthy Dry Bare Class Water Total classified Vegetation Vegetation Ground Un637.80 71.58 1,850.47 2,290.15 347.41 5,197.41 classified Water Healthy Vegetation Dry Vegetation Bare Ground Total 21.52 163.16 1,619.73 66.40 2,508.62 48.69 41.51 141.31 9.79 312.87 124.98 1,175.77 3,122.54 70.38 6,344.14 70.99 342.10 7,013.31 328.97 10,045.52 6.32 8.06 729.34 240.63 1,331.77 272.50 1,730.60 12,626.23 716.17 20,542.92

The subset in the 1993 image shows that there is a trend of bare ground occurring along the Okavango River. This subset is south of the 1975 boundary so the difference between the two time periods cannot be assessed. The subset also illustrates the higher proportion of unclassified pixels.


27th Aug 75

12th Aug 93

Figure 4.19: Maximum Likelihood Classification of scene 12, in 1975 and 1993, with four classes: water (blue), healthy vegetation (green), dry vegetation (tan) and bare ground (white). Population and Land Use

The majority of the population in the Kavango Region lives along the river and the main roads, with several hot spots of high population density. The largest population center is Rundu, the main town of the region, with a population of approximately 50,000, and a density greater than 1,000 people/km2. This is approximately 15 km upstream from Nkwasi (site 3). There are nearly 11,000 people living along a 30 km stretch between Karakuta and Katere (site 5). The next highest density of settlement is Nkurenkuru, with a population of approximately 4,000 people/km2. Mukwe (site 6) had approximately 3,500 people and both Mupini Health Center and Nkwasi River lodge (sites 2 and 3), have populations of approximately 3,000 people within 10 km upstream. Mupapama (site 4) and Ngepi (site 7) had the lowest populations with populations of approximately 1,500 and less than 1,000 respectively. Large communal farms are located between Mupapama and Katere, and government agricultural farms are located upstream from Mupapama and Mukwe, with boundaries approximately 1 km from the Okavango River. The government farms have around 300 hectares under irrigation, with two annual harvests of maize, cotton and wheat. Fertilizer is applied on the government farms at 1.3 tons per hectare, in a ratio of 4:3:4 (NPK), with 40 % of 0.5 % zinc. Small amounts of urea and sulfate of ammonia are applied on-leaf once per crop. This land management practice can also be used as a guide for the other large scale agriculture farms (Horn, 2003, pers comm.). Their impacts on the spatial and temporal water-quality may be quite substantial. All of the water sampling sites were located in areas with small scale agriculture upstream. Mupapama, Katere and Mukwe (sites 4, 5, and 6) have either government or large scale agriculture within 10 km upstream, in addition to the small scale agriculture. The rest of the sites do not have any government or large scale agriculture within 30 km. Katere (site 5) has the largest area of large scale agriculture upstream of the seven water sampling sites, with approximately 200 km2 within a 40 km radius.


Chapter 5 Discussion
Overall the water of the Okavango River has low conductivity and nutrient concentrations, with seasonal variation associated with land use/land cover changes. Conductivity and nutrient loadings also display some limited spatial variability. There does not appear to have been substantial change in the water-quality from 1984 to present in response to growing population density and land clearance. The Okavango River system appears to be able to regulate the nutrient concentrations and sediment load at their present levels. Temporal Relationships in Water-quality The majority of the water-quality parameters measured in the Okavango River 2002 had a significant temporal trend. Conductivity, temperature, nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations were all greater in December than in May and July. This is suggested to be a result from the increased agricultural activity along the river at that time. The majority of the agriculture in the region relies on rainfall, with activity staggered throughout the rainy season. The runoff can be expected to wash sediments and nutrients into the river and therefore increase their abundance. Higher conductivities may result from carbonate flushing during rain events (Howard, et al., 1995; Lal, 1997; Ongwenyi, et al., 1993). There were several rain events during the first half of the December 2002 sampling period. There does not appear to be a change in the majority of the water-quality parameters from 1984 to 2002. However in 1993/4 there were several parameters that did not meet drinking water and aquatic life criteria set by the Ministry of Environment of British Columbia (1998). For example the electrical conductivities measured in 1993/4 were extremely high, with values ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 S/cm. The Okavango River is an oligotrophic system, and should therefore have naturally low conductivity. Both 1984 and 2002 measured conductivity below 50 S/cm, calling the 1993/4 data into question. The pH in 1993/4 had several measurements higher and lower than the range specified for aquatic life and drinking water (6.5 to 8.5) (Ministry of Environment, 1998). High pH values aid the solubilization of ammonia, while low pH values increase the concentration of carbon dioxide (Ministry of Environment, 1998). The oxidized nitrogen concentrations were also higher than in 1984 and 2002. The most recent satellite images correspond to this period of water-quality measurement and, with the exception of increased bare ground which may result in greater nutrient concentrations, there is no readily apparent evidence to explain these observations. Total phosphorus appears to have increased from 1984. Bethune (1991) noted that the peaks of phosphorus were located at human and cattle access points to the river. Patterson (2001) found that washing detergents were a source of phosphorus in Australia, and local washing detergents, such as OMO contain 6.10 % phosphorus by weight (City of Albury, 2003). Greater use of river access points can be expected with higher populations, and the phosphorus concentrations are suggested to be related to washing detergent use. The

seasonal increase of phosphorus in December is interpreted to be from greater agriculture activity and fertilizer application on government and communal large scale farms. During 2002 the water was clear to approximately three to four meters. However, in 1984 the river bed was visible at nearly all sites (Bethune, 2002 pers comm). The increase in sediment load may have been caused by land clearance within the catchment, which increases erosion and amount of silt and clay entering the river system (Lal, 1997; Koning and Roos, 1999). Howard et al., (1995) found that greater population pressures result in greater loads of suspended sediments in the Mgeni Catchment in South Africa. The classified satellite images discussed earlier demonstrate that land clearance and population increase is occurring within Namibia. Since Angola is becoming more stable there has been an influx of people into the Cubango River catchment. Land clearance associated with this growth is likely to increase the sediment load even further and may have significant impact on the water-quality and river system dynamics. This is an important aspect that needs to be monitored over the next couple of decades due to the possible impacts on the water-quality of the Okavango River and Delta system. Ongwenyi et al., (1993) found that the water-quality of the Gucha catchment in southwestern Kenya was at risk from land clearance and cultivation in the riparian zone and high population growth rates. Spatial Relationships of Water-quality Generally, there does not appear to be a downstream spatial trend within the waterquality data measured in 2002. One would expect a decrease in water-quality expressed in increased nutrient concentration and electrical conductivity downstream from cumulative interactions with people, livestock and runoff during precipitation events (Koning and Roos, 1999). This is not the case in either 2002 or 1993/4, with the exception of dissolved oxygen. The conductivity decreased in December 2002, which is an indication of lower total dissolved solids and higher overall water-quality (Lal, 1997; Ongwenyi, et al., 1993). There was also no obvious change in the water-quality downstream from the confluence between the Cuito and Okavango Rivers. This suggests that the lower population density and less bare ground of the Cuito River riparian zone do not alter the water-quality through dilution. The lack of an overall downstream waterquality trend suggests that, at present, the Okavango River is able to regulate the waterquality in response to local impacts from land use/land cover change and interactions with people and livestock. The water-quality parameters measured in 2002 do not show a common spatial pattern at the seven sites and the statistical analysis only found conductivity, dissolved oxygen and phosphorus concentration to have significant spatial trends. There is not a positive correlation between population density on the Namibian side of the Okavango River and the total phosphorus concentrations. The peaks in phosphorus concentrations in December 2002 occur at Mupini and Katere. Both of these sample sites have high population densities upstream and are used frequently to access the river. Bethune (1991) also noted higher phosphorus concentrations at human access points to the Okavango River. As mentioned previously, the peaks in phosphorus concentration may be linked to the use of washing detergents at river access points.

The dissolved oxygen had very low concentrations at Mupapama and Katere, below the 5 mg/l criteria needed to maintain healthy biota (Ministry of Environment, 1998). Both of these sites have either large scale or government farms upstream, which may be a source for pollutants. Typically lower DO is created downstream from the site of pollution, where decomposition is taking place. The statistical significance of the spatial trend for electrical conductivity is probably related to the very low values observed in July, and the decrease from Katere to Ngepi (site 5 to 7) in December. The electrical conductivity does not appear to be related to population, land use or extent of bare ground. Although the reduced nitrogen did not have a significant spatial trend, higher concentrations were observed with high population density and extensive bare ground. Government farms were also located upstream from two of the three sites, fertilization on these farms may be a source for higher nitrogen levels (Koning and Roos, 1999). The water-quality at Nkwasi (site 3) was surprisingly high for being downstream from Rundu, the largest town in the region. The sewer system is an open pit is located sites just east of Rundu. The water in the pit only ever enters the river during very intense periods of rain when it overflows, and possibly through infiltration through the soil. Oxidized nitrogen at Nkwasi in May was the highest recorded, and is the only site where it is greater than the reduced nitrogen. This is most likely to originate in Rundu or its immediate environs. The high DO is probably linked to the high oxidized nitrogen, because there would be less conversion of nitrate to ammonia or nitrogen gases (Spruill, et. al., 2002). The main channel here is narrow at approximately 30 m width, with a lot of the water flowing through the reed bank, consisting mainly of Phragmites mauritanus and Phragmites astralis. Pollutants entering the Okavango River at Rundu may be filtered through the reed beds and therefore removed prior to reading Nkwasi. The high DO at Nkwasi may be caused through greater photosynthesis from the reed beds. Affect of land cover change on the water-quality Satellite imagery of the study region shows an increase in the extent of bare ground as a result of settlement expansion, road building and land clearance from 1973 to 1993. There have been several new roads built from 1973 to 1993, including the Trans-Caprivi Highway, which runs east from Rundu, parallel to the Okavango River. This has opened up the region, allowing people to exploit the land along the road. Most of this change has occurred near Rundu, although as water is supplied along the road this expansion is likely to continue. As the population continues to increase, exploitation of the land that the roads have opened up will disperse the pressure on the Okavango River floodplain to the land surrounding the road. The greater population of Mgungu Vlei, Kaukuwa, and Ekuli settlements is reflected through the expansion of bare ground. Most of the land clearance at Nkurenkuru (site 1) has been for small scale agriculture, and although there has also been road development, there are no large scale or government farms upstream. The increase in nitrogen concentrations in 2002 reflects an increase in runoff associated with the increase in bare ground upstream from the water sampling sites.

The most noticeable change in land cover change is the increase in bare ground along the southern side of the Okavango River. This is caused by the increase in population, resulting in land clearance for livestock grazing and crops. In 1973 Rundu airport is clearly visible, while in 1993 it is barely discernable, as it is surrounded by bare ground. Mupini (site 2) has a relatively smaller increase in bare ground area in comparison to the other sites. However, phosphorus concentration peaks in this area in December 2002 and 1993, probably associated with the site being a river access point for the local community. There is excessive clearing associated with the growth of Rundu upstream from Nkwasi (site 3), although this does not seemed to have negatively affected the water-quality in comparison to the other sites and the only difference is the peak of oxidized nitrogen in May 2002 and 1993. This suggests that at present the self-regulation of the Okavango River is able to cope with the increased population and land clearance. The location of government farms may be related to an increase in reduced nitrogen concentrations at certain sites, although population density is also a factor. Land cover change does not appear to have a large negative impact on the waterquality over time. Although the extent of bare ground has increased, the overall waterquality has not declined substantially, with the exception of an increase in phosphorus concentration and a decrease in water clarity from an increase in suspended sediments. There is greater short term seasonal variation than long term water-quality change.

Limitations of study The main limitation of the water-quality section of this study was the relatively small data set, both for spatial and temporal statistical analysis, as each site only had one replicate from each sampling period. The data were also not continuous or contiguous throughout 2002 and 1993/4. The lack of information available from the Angolan side of the Okavango River limited the conclusions that could be drawn about the interaction between population, land use/land cover and water quality. The water quality data could be improved by increasing the number of replicates, with more than one measurement at each site, during each sampling period. Only general comparisons could be made between the classified satellite images and water-quality data, as they were not synchronous with respect to time. The satellite images had different spectral, spatial, temporal, and sensor resolutions of the scenes, due to seasonal, and satellite sensor differences. Change analysis was conducted post classification to minimize the inherent differences between the images. As only three Landsat TM bands (2, 3, 4) were available this limited the spectral accuracy of the classification, and the boundary between dry and healthy vegetation may not be well defined. This affects the comparability of the two dates. The boundary between dry vegetation and healthy vegetation was the least discernable and not particularly comparable between the two dates. However, bare ground was the most spectrally distinct class. The maximum likelihood classification, utilizing both the NDVI and K-means classification increased the accuracy of the classification.

Chapter 6 Conclusions
There has been an increase in population in the Namibian side of the Okavango River, and with that an increase in the clearing of land for settlement, agriculture and roads. So far the impact of these changes on the water-quality of the river has been minimal, although large scale farms seem to be having an impact on the nutrient concentrations, especially in December. By comparing the 2002 water-quality data to archived data from 1984 and 1993/4, there does not appear to have been a noticeable decrease in the chemical water-quality of the Okavango River. The depth of visibility in the river may be decreasing from increased sediment loads, as a result from the increase in bare ground, which is more susceptible to erosion. Sediment load has not been quantified. The low dissolved oxygen concentrations at some sites are cause for concern, although more measurements are required to substantiate this evidence. There is a seasonal trend in water-quality with increased nutrient concentrations and conductivity in December, which corresponds with the greatest agricultural activity. The spatial trends were not statistically significant, although this may be a result of the small dataset. The sites with the greatest water-quality concern are Mupapama, Katere and Mukwe, with their highest nutrient concentrations. These sites have government and large scale farms upstream, which may be the source of nutrients. Lower nutrient concentrations at successive sites suggest that there is some regulation within the river system that removes nutrients. This is a major benefit of wetland systems, although the capacity of this selfregulation is not known. As Angola becomes more stable and people move into the upper catchment of the Cubango and Cuito Rivers, the associated land clearance and agriculture is likely to affect the water-quality of Okavango River through increased sediment load and nutrient concentration. The greatest impacts to the water-quality are likely to be observed in January and February when the floodwater from Angola arrives, and during the period of heightened agricultural activity. Therefore the water-quality still needs to be monitored so that impacts and changes to the system can be anticipated and understood. The impact of land cover change does not appear to have negatively affected the water-quality of the Okavango River, although changes to sediment load are possible. There does not seem to be one dominant factor controlling the water-quality, and it appears to be affected by a mixture of increased land clearance and land management practices, including fertilizer application.


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Summary of selected water quality paramters from Hays, et al., 2000. Table A: pH, B: conductivity (mS/cm), C: oxygen (mg/l), D: oxidized nitrogen (nitrate plus nitrite), and E: phosphorus for the Okavango River in 1993 and 1994. The nine sites within the tables are in order from upstream to downstream, and their locations are illustrated on figure 5.1. Aut refers to Autumn; Win refers to Winter; Sum refers to Summer; and Spr refers to Spring. The exact dates of sampling are unknown, but winter would be July and summer would December. pH A Aut 93 Win 93 Spr 94 Sum 94 Aut 94 Win 94 6.40 6.80 6.30 6.80 6.90 7.20 1 Kakuru 6.70 6.90 6.30 6.70 6.70 7.30 2 Matava 6.20 7.00 6.10 6.70 7.70 7.60 3 Musese 6.30 6.20 6.50 6.60 8.20 9.50 4 Bunya 6.60 7.10 6.60 7.00 6.70 9.00 5 Rundu 7.00 6.90 6.00 6.90 6.80 6.70 6 Cuito 6.70 6.70 7.80 6.60 8.20 7.10 7 Mbambi 7.00 7.00 7.70 6.80 6.90 7.40 8 Popa Falls 6.90 6.70 8.60 6.80 6.30 7.50 9 Kwetze B) Conductivity (mS/cm) Aut 93 Win 93 Spr 94 Sum 94 Aut 94 Win 94 9.80 5.70 7.80 5.30 4.40 3.70 1 Kakuru 6.20 4.30 6.00 4.10 4.70 4.50 2 Matava 9.50 3.70 5.50 4.10 5.50 4.40 3 Musese 5.40 3.90 5.00 6.00 6.20 6.30 4 Bunya 6.50 6.60 8.20 5.80 5.10 7.20 5 Rundu 7.50 4.10 5.10 6.00 5.20 4.60 6 Cuito 6.10 3.00 8.00 4.50 6.30 3.00 7 Mbambi 9.50 3.20 6.90 5.10 4.00 3.00 8 Popa Falls 7.50 4.00 10.10 5.20 3.80 4.10 9 Kwetze C) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Oxygen (mg/l) Kakuru Matava Musese Bunya Rundu Cuito Mbambi Popa Falls Kwetze Aut 93 Win 93 Spr 94 Sum 94 Aut 94 Win 94 3.20 8.60 7.52 5.83 6.63 4.55 6.60 6.53 8.60 5.90 5.90 4.54 8.30 7.70 9.14 5.60 7.90 4.52 6.60 7.54 8.32 7.50 8.90 4.43 8.70 8.95 5.00 5.50 8.60 3.91 7.80 7.79 6.000 5.00 10.20 3.61 8.30 7.74 7.37 8.00 10.40 3.32 8.10 7.45 9.00 10.50 11.88 3.31 6.70 2.50 7.79 6.50 6.60 3.09

D) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 E) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Oxidized N (mg/l) Kakuru Matava Musese Bunya Rundu Cuito Mbambi Popa Falls Kwetze Phosphorus (mg/l) Kakuru Matava Musese Bunya Rundu Cuito Mbambi Popa Falls Kwetze

Aut 93 Win 93 Spr 94 Sum 94 Aut 94 Win 94 0.00 0.80 0.02 <0.01 0.00 0.00 0.50 0.80 0.60 0.34 0.30 0.25 0.33 0.60 0.00 0.31 0.30 0.65 0.20 0.80 0.00 0.57 0.70 0.70 0.40 0.60 0.30 0.17 0.10 0.60 0.35 1.10 <0.01 0.60 0.70 1.10 0.30 0.70 <0.01 0.57 0.34 0.30 0.36 0.27 0.00 0.05 0.07 0.05 0.36 0.27 0.00 0.05 0.07 0.05 Aut 93 Win 93 Spr 94 Sum 94 Aut 94 Win 94 0.163 0.026 0.147 0.029 0.023 0.020 0.075 0.020 0.029 0.098 0.065 0.010 0.260 0.026 0.401 0.046 0.042 0.062 0.026 0.016 0.189 0.026 0.023 0.010 0.065 0.450 0.055 0.023 0.029 0.013 0.016 0.013 0.082 0.098 0.026 0.023 0.033 0.033 0.072 0.065 0.065 0.007 0.020 0.098 0.098 0.026 0.026 0.020 0.020 0.098 0.098 0.026 0.026 0.020