The DRIFT process and software were developed over the last 30 years during environmental flow assessments, and continues to evolve through project application. It was initially developed as an excel-based model and was first used on the Lesotho Highlands Water Project in 1996, a large inter-basin project that diverts water from Lesotho to South Africa. Since then it has been used on three continents (mainly in Africa and Asia, but also in South America). DRIFT has been applied to ~50 projects in ~20 countries, at basin or sub-catchment-level and project-specific assessments (mainly for hydropower development). Some key projects where DRIFT has been used are summarised here.
After many years of application and ongoing development, we are confident that DRIFT can address environmental flow, river management and river conservation issues in any geographical region of the world and on any kind of river. In 2006 DRIFT was upgraded from an excel-based platform to a Delphi-based operating. The three founders of Southern Waters (Cate Brown, Alison Joubert and Jackie King) together with Andre Greyling (software developer) have been and continue to be the central creators of DRIFT. DRIFT is constantly being modified and updated in response to application requirements and desired outputs for specific projects.