GroundTruth was the project lead on a multinational Joint Basin Survey (JBS2 2015) commissioned by the Orange Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM) to determine the aquatic ecosystem health of the Orange Senqu River system from its source to the sea including its path through member states within the basin (Lesotho, South Africa,  Namibia, Botswana – groundwater inputs). Incorporated detailed sampling of various aquatic ecosystem health parameters including: diatoms, water quality, aquatic invertebrates (SASS5 and MIRAI), vegetation (VEGRAI), fish (FRAI), instream and riparian habitat integrity (IHI).

Field sampling was undertaken by three teams of experts at 56 sites across four countries (South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia) over the course of three weeks – the entire project/sampling was documented and turned into a short documentary film. Included groundwater quality sampling at sites in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

A separate study was included to undertake an inter-laboratory benchmarking exercise with laboratories specialising in water quality testing in each of the member state countries (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho). Results were assessed independently, compared objectively and then summarised in a report which was sent to each participating laboratory (keeping anonymity). The objectives were to establish the laboratories assessment capabilities/accuracy as well as to identify gaps (human resources, lack of/maintenance of equipment etc.).

Compilation of a specialist report including descriptions of survey methodologies, results, and a detailed assessment of impacts on the aquatic environment with recommendations to avoid and/or minimise impacts.  A planning session and a survey feedback session (including several presentations and talks) were held with representatives of member states in Namibia and Botswana respectively.