Honorary Members

The Division, through nominations by the Executive Committee, honour individuals for outstanding service in the field of ground water. These nominated Honorary members receive Honorary Life Membership for meritorious and outstanding service and dedication to furthering the science and technology of groundwater.

Lifetime Achievement Awards 2015 : Siep Talma (Private Consultant) ; Phil Hobbs (CSIR)



Mr Ernst Bertram
Ernst’s perseverance is amazing and he has been promoting the importance of groundwater and the development of groundwater as a science within the Department Water Affairs since 1973. He has been key in ensuring that groundwater is considered as a reliable resource as with his involvement in developing the National Groundwater Information System (NGIS) which is a portfolio of projects designed to meet increasing demands for groundwater information in a rapidly changing water business environment. Ernst has also promoted groundwater by the development of the concept of groundwater master plans, 2 of which (Kwa-Zulu Natal and Mpumalanga) have already been completed. Ernst is also passionate about training of young geohydrologists.  He is involved with the training academy at DWA and always prepared to assist with courses at the IGS.  Groundwater Conference, Pretoria, 19-21 September 2011

Dr Johan van der Merwe
Dr Johan van der Merwe started his career as a geologist/geohydrologist in 1972.  He was actively involved in the training of students up until 1988 when he joined the Department of Water Affairs (DWA).  At DWA he played a key role in formulating the processes necessary for the management of South Africa’s water resources, including:
The Water Law reform process which led to the National Water Act of 1998; The drafting of the National Water Resource Strategy 2004; Policy and Strategy for the groundwater quality management in South Africa 2006; A framework for a National Groundwater Strategy 2007; The development of the concept of Catchment Management in South Africa; The initiation of the Groundwater Assessment Programme (GWAP) for the Free State Municipalities to ensure effective Groundwater, Monitoring and Management. Johan retired from DWA in 2009, but he did not lose his passion for groundwater.  Instead he joined the board of Bloemwater and he joined the Institute for Groundwater Studies as a lecturer/researcher.  He continues to actively promote groundwater to water boards and is involved with the training of numerous young geohydrologists. He also serves on the organising committee of the GWD: Central Branch. The GWD acknowledges Johan’s contribution and dedication to groundwater, and the enthusiasm he shows when researching, lecturing and promoting the science of groundwater. Groundwater Conference, Pretoria, 19-21 September 2011

Prof Gerrit van Tonder

Prof Gerrit Johannes van Tonder, born 9 March 1953, surely did not expect that his first position as Junior Lecturer at the University of the Freestate in 1976 would’ve resulted in an illustrious academic career with 47 accredited Publications in Scientific Journals, attendance at 26 Conferences and author of more than 45 technical reports later. His many career highlights only accentuate the range and diversity of his scientific pursuits and the fact that this proclaimed Organic Gardener can also boast about more than 3000 rose bushes in his garden (more than 300 varieties), goes to show that he plays just as hard as he works!  The GWD was extremely proud to present this formerly awarded “best outstanding groundwater scientist in SA in 2005 (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF), with this years’ GWD Honorary Award.

Groundwater Conference, Somerset West, 16-18 November 2009

 Prof Jopie Botha

The GWD bestowed on Prof Jopie Botha an Honorary Membership and awarded him the Ground Water Division Medal. This award recognize Prof Botha’s scientific contribution to the field of groundwater in South Africa, especially in developing the theoretical understanding of groundwater flow in fractured rock aquifers. He has also played a significant role in mentoring a number of groundwater professionals.

Groundwater Conference, Bloemfontein, 8-10 Oct 2007

Prof Eberhard Braune - Groundwater Conference, Pretoria, CSIR ICC, 2005

Recipients in the 90's: Mr A R Reynders; Dr G Tredoux; Prof B Th Verhagen; Dr K L Morton, Dr T S Kok

Recipients in the 80's: Mr J R Vegter; Prof F D I Hodgson, Dr J F Enslin