Project Overview

The resources provided on this website have been developed through an applied research project funded by the Department of Water and Sanitation through the Water Research Commission (WRC Project K5/2463). The focus of this project was to promote more effective water resource management through the development of practical guidelines for determining appropriate buffer zones for rivers, wetlands and estuaries.

The outputs of the WRC Project K5/2463 are summarised below and the relationship between them is shown diagrammatically:
  • Part 1: Technical Manual: The Technical Manual documents the step-wise assessment procedure developed to determine appropriate buffer zones for rivers, wetlands and estuaries. This includes the rationale for the approach taken, together with important supporting technical information which was used as a basis for developing the tools for buffer zone determination.
  • Part 2:  Practical Guide:  The Practical Guide was developed to assist users with the practical application of the buffer zone tools.  It includes field sheets and practical guidance for collecting and interpreting relevant desktop and field information.  Supporting information required to assess selected criteria has also been compiled, and includes a range of spatial datasets (i.e. shapefile or KML format). 
  • Tools for Buffer Zone Determination:  A range of spreadsheet-based tools has been developed to help users determine suitable buffer zone requirements.  These include a rapid desktop tool for determining potential aquatic impact buffer zone requirements, as well as three site-based tools for determining buffer zone requirements for rivers, wetlands and estuaries.  Once completed, the outcomes of the site-based assessments can be exported as a formal record of the buffer zone assessment process.
  • Mitigation Measures Tool:  This tool is essentially a consolidation of supplementary mitigation measures from a wide range of reference material.  It is designed as a quick access point for users with a broader interest in impact mitigation or those who advise on measures to mitigate impacts on water resources.

The Assessment Procedure: 
The Technical Manual sets out a step-by-step approach for determining best-practice buffer zone requirements for rivers, wetland and estuaries. This includes guidance on how to complete both desktop and site-based assessments, with further guidance included in the Practical Guide.

Tabs accessible on this website provide access to (i) reports and tools for buffer zone determination, (ii) spatial data and useful information used to inform the assessment process and (iii) contact details of project leaders.