Water Research Commission Project K5/2707: An Integrated Approach to Managing and Mitigating the Risk of Agricultural Nonpoint Source Pesticide Pollution to the Aquatic Environment. 

Project Leader: James Dabrowski (

Project Duration: April 2017 – November 2021

Project Team: Dr. James Dabrowski (Freshwater Research Centre), Dr. Helen Dallas (Freshwater Research Centre), Mr. Tumisho Ngobela (Freshwater Research Centre), Prof. Patricia Forbes (University of Pretoria), Dr. Michael van der Laan (University of Pretoria), Mr. Tapera Mangwede (Ph.D. Student, University of Pretoria) and Mr. Ettienne van der Walt (Agricultural Research Council). 

This project essentially follows on from a previous project funded by the Water Research Commission (K5/1956) which focussed on the occurrence and risks of pesticides in agricultural areas of South Africa. This project identified numerous pesticides that were frequently detected in surface waters and also produced maps providing a spatial indication of the relative application of over 200 active ingredients across South Africa.

Considering the increasing challenges related to water quality management in South Africa and acknowledging the role of nonpoint source (NPS) pesticide pollution in deterioration of water quality, the aim of WRC Project No. K5/2707 is to use monitoring, modelling and risk assessment approaches to identify specific management/farming practices aimed at reducing the impact of waterborne agricultural chemicals on water resources. The general approach adopted in the execution of this project is one that it is aimed at providing an integrated approach to reducing the impacts of agricultural chemicals in the aquatic environment. The underlying principle of the approach is that management and farming practices need to:

1. Identify target areas where agricultural NPS pollution of pesticides is of greatest concern (i.e. identify hotpsots)

2. Target specific pesticides which are of greatest concern and

3.  Be designed to address the most important cause of contamination, by:

        I.  improving application, or

      II.  selecting pesticides which pose less risk to the aquatic environment, or

    III. reducing the transport of chemicals from source to the aquatic environment