Water Research Commission Project K5/2537: Environmental water temperature guidelines: bridging the gap between research and implementation


Project leader: Dr Helen Dallas (

Project Duration: April 2016 to September 2019

Project team: Dr Nick Rivers-Moore (FRC), Dr Heather Malan (FRC), Mr Pfananani Ramulipho (PHD student, University of Venda), Ms Nonkanyiso Zungu (PHD student, Unievrsity of Cape Town)

This project follows on from two preceding WRC projects related to water temperature, biotic response and vulnerability to climate change.  These projects have established a solid scientific platform of thermal research in South Africa, but to date this information has not been explicitly translated into practical management steps for determining the thermal component of the ecological Reserve and for setting water temperature targets. 

Currently, water temperatures are dealt with as exceedance of percentile values, which is not a satisfactory approach because it ignores issues around how to generate temperatures when data are missing, how to analyses temperature time series relative to ecological response, and how to account for regional differences in water temperature patterns.  

This project proposes to bridge the gap between science/research and management/ implementation, by taking the body of research on water temperatures generated over the last ten years, and packaging it in ways that best serves the end users.