The wetlands of the Okavango Delta accommodate a multitude of ecosystems with a large diversity in fauna and flora. They not only provide the traditional livelihood of the local communities but are also the basis of a tourism industry that generates substantial revenue for the whole of Botswana. For the global community, the wetlands retain a tremendous pool of biodiversity. As the upstream states Angola and Namibia are developing, however, changes in the use of the water of the Okavango River and in the ecological status of the wetlands are to be expected. To predict these impacts, the hydrology of the Delta has to be understood. This article reviews scientific work done for that purpose, focussing on the hydrological modelling of surface water and groundwater. Research providing input data to hydrological models is also presented. It relies heavily on all types of remote sensing. The history of hydrologic models of the Delta is retraced from the early box models to state-of-the-art distributed hydrological models. The knowledge gained from hydrological models and its relevance for the management of the Delta are discussed.
Hydrogeology Journal, 2009, Vol 17, Issue 6, p. 1297-1328