Pathogen plumes: modelling water quality at Umhlanga beach, South Africa

The online tool “Woz’Olwandle”, a state-of-the-art Coastal Water Quality Model (CWQM), is currently used to monitor the water quality from Vetch’s Pier to the Umgeni South Beach. This research aims to bridge the gap in current water quality assessments by expanding the CWQM to include the Umhlanga Main Beach. This expansion will involve incorporating site-specific data, such as local hydrodynamics, pollutant sources, and water quality data, to enhance the model’s accuracy and applicability to the unique conditions of Umhlanga Main Beach. By expanding the existing model, I aim to provide a reliable tool for predicting sewage contamination levels at Umhlanga Main Beach. The outcomes of this research will benefit multiple stakeholders, including the local authorities and the general public. Access to reliable and up-to-date information allows local authorities to make informed decisions regarding beach closures, advisories, and pollution mitigation strategies. Simultaneously, the public will have real-time water quality assessments, empowering them to make informed choices about their recreational activities at Umhlanga Main Beach. This development and implementation of an accurate and reliable coastal water quality model will contribute significantly to improved water quality management and public safety, ensuring a healthier environment and safeguarding the well-being of beach users.

Leall Williams

BScEng (Civil)