Mr Johannes Roelf Vegter (1925 –2016)
Mr Vegter passed away on the 6th of January 2016 in Pretoria at the age of 91.
As one of the Ground Water Division founding members (he was instrumental in forming this learned society), he served as the National Chairperson on the Ground Water Division Executive Committee from1978 to 1984; was awarded Honorary Membership shortly thereafter and became the recipient of the Groundwater Medal in the 1980's. He was widely acknowledged by his peers for his meritorious and outstanding service and dedication to furthering the science and technology of groundwater.
His unwavering passion and love for geohydrology was echoed in his continuous involvement in research projects long after his retirement. He will also be fondly remembered for his mentorship of generations of groundwater students and professionals alike and always had time to discuss the subject of groundwater at length.
The Division extends its condolences to his family, friends and colleagues with the passing of this true South African groundwater legend.
He bequeaths the groundwater community with a wealth of knowledge gained and shared throughout his illustrious career. (This is briefly summerised and not at all complete but a wonderful insight into his awe-inspiring professional life)
• Geological Survey: Deputy Director: Geophysics, Groundwater and Engineering Geology.
o Refers to numerous Geological Survey reports on activities with special mention of involvement in Uranium and Thorium minerals and petroleum exploration ( the focus on geological and geophysical land and sea exploration)
o Representative on numerous Committees such as:
Inter-departmental Coordination Committee for Hydrological research
Investigation Committee on mountain catchments in winter rainfall areas
Inter-departmental Coordination Committee for water in the Kalahari
SABS Committee for the establishment for a code for the testing of boreholes
South African National Committee on Oceanographic research
Inception Committee for geology management in the Coalmining Research Institute
Technical planning and advisory committee for SOEKOR
• Department Water Affairs (01/12/76 – 31/03/1989). Director: Directorate Geohydrology. Some of the highlights he mentioned, were:
o Delineation and development of important groundwater sources in coastal areas such as Atlantis, Lower Bergriver, Lambertsbaai and Graafwater areas.
o Delineation and development of important groundwater sources in in the Sishen- Kathu area.
o Delineation of freshwater sources in the Kalahari next to the lower Kuruman river.
o Extensive study of the dolomitic aquifers for emergency water supply in the Gauteng area (then PWV)
o Successful development of water supply for South-Namaqualand’s communities linked to desalination initiatives.
o Initiated rotation drilling with mud; hydraulic fracturing for increased yields; advanced geophysical borehole readings; and new EM methods in the Departmental Drilling Service
o Implementation of a National electronic groundwater database
o Effected policy changes to improve the access and usage of groundwater for public water supply
o Publication of the book “Management of Water Resources of the Republic of South Africa”
o As representative on more than twenty WRC committees, continuous contributions in groundwater research together with a number of Universities and other Institutes.
• Private Consultant (1989 -)
o Water Research Commission: “Workshop to establish the Priorities for the Geohydrological Research in SA – Situation Assessment: Characterisation of Ground-water Resources.
o Department Water Affairs: Municipal water supply: De Aar
o Water Research Commission: Commissioned to start on the book: “South Africa’s Groundwater Resources”
• Part-time Lecturer in Applied Geophysics at the University of Pretoria (1956, 1959, 1965)
• Part-time (temporary) Lecturer in Groundwater at the University of the Free State (1973) and at the University of Pretoria (1974, 1975 and 1981)
• Member of the Local Akasia Committee of the Transvaal Institute for the Development of Rural Areas (appointed by the Administrator 1971-1979)
• Past-Member of the Professional Advisory Committee on Geological Sciences for the South African Council for Natural Sciences.
Read more on his memberships, publications and international travels..