Conference Abstracts

All Abstracts were presented at the Groundwater Conferences

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A new mining site situated near Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo plans to develop a pit in phases over a period of six years. The mine requires dewatering volume estimates of the pit as well as a constant water supply to the plant. Hydrogeologic data available at the site during the scoping phase was limited to a few water level measurements and blowout yields from only five hydrological boreholes. Hydraulic properties from reports at neighbouring sites were extrapolated to the geological units at the site. The depth to water level at the site is about 20 m, with a planned final pit depth of approximately 180 m below surface.

Based on the limited data available an analytical approach to estimate the inflow into the mine was adopted. Analytical calculations proposed by Marinelli and Niccoli (2000) were used to estimate the inflow into the Pumpi mine pits. The analytical calculations consider recharge, depth of mining vertical and horizontal hydraulic conductivities. Drawdown evolution of pit dewatering are obtained by using different mining depths at different mine stages. The output results from the analytical calculations are the maximum extent of influence of the pit as well as the volume of water inflow into the pit. Limitations of the analytical equations are that they, amongst others, cannot consider complex boundaries.

Drilling and pump testing to obtain local hydraulic properties and boundary conditions are planned during the first quarter of 2013. The numerical model will be set up after the drilling and pumping tests, using the new data for calibration. The numerical model will contain as much of the physical layer definitions and potential internal boundaries as possible with model boundaries incorporated along  far  field  fault  zones  and  hydraulic  boundaries.  The  numerical model  should  improve the reliability of estimates of pit inflow and water supply to the plant.

The results between the analytical and numerical approaches can then be compared to improve future dewatering estimates with limited data. It is expected that the reliability of the analytical predictions will reduce after year 4, where the role of boundaries are expected to influence the drawdowns and related flow towards the pit.


This study explores some of the principle issues associated with quantifying surface  water and groundwater interactions and the practical application of models in a data scarce region such as South Africa. The linkages between the various interdependent components of the water cycle are not well understood, especially in those regions that suffer problems of data scarcity, and there remain  urgent  requirements  for  regional  water  resource  assessments.  Hydrology  (both  surface water and groundwater hydrology) is a difficult science; it aims to represent highly variable and non- stationary processes which occur in catchment systems, many of which are unable to be measured at the scales of interest. The conceptual representations of these processes are translated into mathematical form in a model. Different process interpretations, together with different mathematical representations, result in the development of diverse model structures. These structural uncertainties are difficult to resolve due to the lack of relevant data. Further uncertainty is introduced  when  parameterising  a  model,  as  the  more  complex  the  model,  the  greater  the possibility that many different parameter sets within the model structure might give equally acceptable results when compared with observations. Incomplete and often flawed input data are then used to drive the models and generate quantitative information. Approximate implementations (model structures and parameter sets), driven by approximate input data, will necessarily produce approximate results. Most model developers aim to represent reality as far as possible, and as our understanding of hydrological processes has improved, models have tended to become more complex. Beven (2002) highlighted the need for a better philosophy toward modelling than just a more explicit representation of reality and argues that the true level of uncertainty in model predictions  is  not  widely  appreciated.  Model  testing  has  limited  power  as  it  is  difficult  to differentiate  between  the  uncertainties  within  different  model  structures,  different  sets  of alternative parameter values and in the input data used to run a model. A number of South African case studies are used to examine the types of data typically available and explore the extent to which a model is able to be validated considering the difficulty in differentiating between the various sources of uncertainty. While it is difficult to separate input data, parameter and structural uncertainty, the study found that it should be possible to at least partly identify the uncertainty by a careful examination of the evidence for specific processes compared with the conceptual structure of a specific model. While the lack of appropriate data means there will always be considerable uncertainty surrounding model validation, it can be argued that improved process understanding in an environment can be used to validate model outcomes to a degree, by assessing whether a model is getting the right results for the right reasons.


The mineral-rich basin of the West African region has vast reserves of gold, diamond as well as iron ore deposits. Throughout the regional geological setting characterised by structural variations and intrusive belts with metamorphic mineral-rich sequences covered by saprolite soils, one common chemical constituent remains a constant in the water reserves. Arsenic is in high concentrations throughout the region with chemical ranges commonly above the various country guidelines as well as international IFC and WHO standards. The aqueous chemical species is associated with arsenopyrite-rich mineralogy of the regional greenstone belts and highly weathered soils. 

This conference presentation investigates the natural source of the arsenic through baseline data, as well as the effect of mining on the already high concentrations of arsenic in both the groundwater and surface water. Natural levels of various chemical species in the regional area are already high at baseline level. One of the main research questions is thus whether mining and other anthropogenic activities will have  an impact on the environment or will  the changes to concentrations be so insignificant to allow the ecosystems and water users to continue in their current ways without any effect. Various case studies in Burkina Faso, Liberia, Sierra Leone and other countries have been combined to investigate the arsenic-rich resources of the West African region through groundwater specialist investigative methods with emphasis on geochemical modelling of the fluidrock and fluid–fluid interactions leading to the aqueous chemical conditions in the region.


Work is being conducted in Limpopo province following a large volume release of petroleum hydrocarbons that took place from a leaking underground pipeline, resulting in significant groundwater contamination. This is considered to be the largest petroleum hydrocarbon release recorded to date in South Africa. The leak took place for 15 years before it was discovered 13 years ago in 2000. From the pressure tests that were performed, 10-15 ML of A-1 Jet fuel is considered to havbeen  released  to  the  subsurface.  Product  bailing was  the  first method  employed  for  the recovery of the free product, and was later replaced with a P&T system which was considered to be more effective.

The village located about 6 km to the north of the spillage depends mostly on groundwater. This paper presents a progress update of works that have been conducted in support of developing a conceptual model which aims to determine the areal extent of the plume.


Groundwater is the water that is found beneath the surface of the ground in a saturated zone (Bear 1979). Groundwater contamination refers to the groundwater that has been polluted commonly by human activities to the extent that it has higher concentrations of dissolved or suspended constituents. The scale of the potential supply of groundwater from the Cape Flats Aquifer Unit (CFAU) is very significant due to the increase of the population in Cape Town that leads to limited water resources (Maclear 1995). Groundwater contamination is a threat in the Cape Flats. This is because sand is more susceptible to pollution as a result of urbanisation, industrialisation, intense land use area for waste disposal and agricultural activities (Adelana 2010). The aim of this paper is to evaluate groundwater contamination and assess possible prevention and treatment measures in the CFAU. Pumping tests were done in UWC site in Borehole 5 (pumping borehole) and Borehole 4 (observation borehole) for six hours; three hours was for the pumping and the other three hours for recovery. This was done in order to see how the aquifer recovers after pumping. Water samples were also taken and analysed in the lab. This was done to find the type of contamination, whether it is degradable or non-degradable. The Borehole 5 drawdown plot is showing a straight line. This suggests a linear flow and that there is no confining bed beneath. This is because straight lines are showing the Cooper-Jacob type curve, which is for unconfined aquifers. The curve of Borehole 4 can be fitted to a Theis-type curve. This suggests a radial flow pattern indicating homogeneous characteristics in the deeply weathered zone and that there is a confining bed beneath. This is because aquifers responding in the same manner as the Theis-type curve, are confined aquifers (Hiscock 2005).The groundwater samples are showing a TDS range of 260 to 1 600 mg/l. This could be the result of the waste water treatment plant that is near UWC and the industries that are near the airport and at Bellville South. In conclusion, the geology of the CFAU is very susceptible to groundwater contamination, which is due to agricultural, industrial and human activities.


Variability in both rainfall and raw water demands at South African mines and lack of accurate predictive planning tools often leads to water shortages or spillages of excess dirty water. The demand varies due to changing production rates, scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, while available water resources are greatly influenced by droughts and untimely storm events. Using averages in static water balances or planning for “worst case scenarios” by increasing storm water capacity or securing larger volumes from external sources “for in case”, is expensive and could still be inadequate.

A dynamic simulation model can integrate all the variables above with available ground- and surface water resources. Groundwater is  often underestimated as  a  source.  A  simulation model can  test  strategies to optimise its role before expensive dams or pipelines are considered.

In the case studies presented, Arena simulation software (from Rockwell) are used with hourly time steps to dynamically simulate water flows/levels, evaporation, seepage and rainfall runoff. All flows and dam levels are recorded to Excel for statistical analysis after simulation runs. To calculate the significance of overflow events and maximum demands the model runs multiple iterations which render specific confidence intervals for results, for example a 95% confidence level that a specific dam will not overflow more than once during the life of mine. Models may span several shafts, concentrator plants and smelter complexes. One model integrated over 1 000 flows and 75 dams with respective flow logic on the backdrop of a Google map of operations. Highlights of recent case studies include: 

  • Groundwater from shallow anthropogenic aquifers greatly reduced external raw water requirements.
  • This also prevented the clean water from overflowing into the underground workings where it is then pumped from depth as dirty water. 
  • Artificial recharge of an aquifer with sporadic excess surface water increased the groundwater in storage that was used as a buffer for drought periods. 
  • Optimised models proved that external raw water requirements and overflows into the environment could be significantly reduced and in some cases eliminated.

A dynamic water balance simulation model integrates business components with all related flows and storages and is the best tool available to accurately predict water resource demands and overflows to the environment. It enables the testing and optimization of water management strategies long before capital is spent and enhances the understanding, buy-in and decision support for all affected parties.

A picture is worth a thousand words... A (good) simulation is worth a thousand pictures!


The significance of a reliable groundwater resource assessment is of growing importance as water resources are stretched to accommodate the growing population. An essential component of a groundwater resource assessment is the quantification of surface water–groundwater interaction. The  insufficient  amount  of  data  in  South  Africa  and  the  apparent  lack  of  accuracy  of  current estimates of the groundwater component of baseflow lead to the investigation of a new method. This applicability of this new approach, the Mixing Cell Model (MCM), to quantify the groundwater contribution to baseflow is examined to assess whether the method would be of use in further groundwater resource assessments. The MCM simultaneously solves water and solute mass balance equations  to  determine  unknown  inflows  to  a  system,  in  this  application  the  groundwater component of baseflow. The incorporation of water quality data into the estimation of the surface water–groundwater  interaction  increases the  use of  available  data,  and  thus has  the  ability to increase the confidence in the estimation process. The mixing cell model is applied to datasets from the surface water–groundwater interaction test site developed by the University of the Free State, in addition to data collected along the middle Modder River during a fieldwork survey. The MCM is subsequently applied to a set of quaternary catchments in the Limpopo Province for which there are available calibrated estimates of the groundwater component of baseflow for the Sami and Hughes models. The MCM is further applied to the semi-arid quaternary catchment D73F to assess the applicability of the mathematically-based MCM in a flow system within a regionally-defined zero groundwater  baseflow  zone.  The  results  indicate  that  the  MCM  can  reliably  estimate  the groundwater component of baseflow to a river when sufficient data are available. Use of the MCM has  the  potential  to  evaluate  as  well  as  increase  the  confidence  of  currently  determined groundwater baseflow volumes in South Africa, which will in turn ensure the responsible and sustainable use of the countries water resources.


Ladismith was established in 1851 where freshwater discharge from the Klein Swartberg Mountains. Growth of the town required building of the Goewerments Dam in 1920 and the Jan F le Grange Dam in 1978. However, water demand now matches supply, and water shortages are being experienced. Poor management and recent droughts exacerbated the situation. A project was initiated to address shortcomings with the existing supply and identify additional sources of water. Groundwater is an obvious option, with the regionally extensive Cango Fault located directly north of  the  town.  The  west-east  trending  fault  juxtaposes  highly  productive  Table  Mountain  Group Aquifers with less productive argillaceous rocks of the lower Witteberg Group. The Alluvial Aquifer is also a target, with a recently drilled DWA monitoring borehole reported to be high-yielding. Drilling and testing of three exploration boreholes drilled into the fault, returned lower than expected borehole  yields,  but  still sufficient  to  contribute  to  the  town’s water  supply  and  merit  further exploration. Boreholes drilled north of Ladismith could be used to increase the existing water supply by 50%.


In recent years there is an increased awareness of hydrocarbon contamination in South Africa, and the need for remediating sites affected by these contaminants. Hydrocarbon contamination of groundwater can be caused by a large variety of activities at industrial, mining or residential areas. Once these contaminants are discovered in groundwater where it poses risks to human health and/or the environment, remediation is often required. Remediation of groundwater has become a booming industry for groundwater practitioners and often there is an attitude of more sophisticated and expensive solutions are better. This paper will show that this attitude is not always the best solution, but rather recommend an approach where a combination of low cost/low maintenance system need to be investigated and applied to reach clean-up goals. Determination of natural attenuation potential and on-going monitoring forms an integral part of this type of solution.


Southern Africa hosts over 93% of the continent's energy, which has been conserved in coal seams deposited  in  various  Karoo  age  sedimentary  basins.  Carbon  dioxide  geological  storage  (CGS)  is proving  to  be  an  emerging  greenhouse  gas  technology  (GHGT),  that  global  governments  have elected to mitigate the projected coal use in Southern Africa. One of the major challenges of successfully introducing CGS to the public and world leaders is the significant risk the technology poses to groundwater resources. Lack of public confidence is further coupled by the poor knowledge of the subsurface behaviour of injected media, such as CO2, in South African potential lithological reservoirs. The study has utilised data from a current MSc research, in which the Springbok Flats Coal Basin (SFCB) has been used as the problem set-up. The aim of this study is to determine which FELOW™ mesh  geometry would  be  the most  suitable  to  simulate  a  CO2   ingress plume within  a regional aquifer. The study has utilised principals of dense vegetation zones (DVZ) and density- variable fluid flow (DVFF) when simulating the ingression. The specific objective is to utilise the simulation  results  to  guide  amendments  of  water  legislature,  towards  accommodating  CO2 geological  injection  and  storage operations.  Results indicate  that  a  combination  of  high-quality triangular meshes of various geometries, created with the FEFLOW compatible mesh generator, TRIANGLE, produced the best 3D model and simulation results. The basic matrice unit for the DTZ was defined as a quad mesh composed of two right-angled triangles and one equi-angualar triangle (five nodes), while the unit for modelling springs was defined as a quad mesh with four-equi-angular triangles, both used in various scales. The results were used to amend the Stream Flow Reduction Activities (SFRA) policy and thus the aquifer licensing procedure of the National Water Act, in order to accommodate the allocation of aquifer use licenses for CO2  geological storage operations. The amendments illustrate the significance of finite element simulation codes for integrated water resources management policy.


Acid-mine drainage (AMD) has received considerable media coverage in South Africa as of late. This have caused a considerable increase in researches, most of them with emphasis on decanting of contaminated water from the old gold mines in Witwatersrand basins and fewer on mine residue contamination from coal and gold mines in the Mpumalanga Province. The paper outlines results of ground geophysical surveys that were carried out along the perimeter of two mine residual deposits (dumps) in the Barberton Greenstone Belt, Mpumalanga Province. The aim of the study was to generate a  3D geoelectric model of the subsurface showing possible acid-mine drainage contaminant pathways. Two geophysical methods, namely Frequency Domain Electromagnetic Profiling (FDEM) and Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) were applied in order to investigate the variation of electrical conductivity in the subsurface. The ERT method was done over frequency domain electromagnetics anomalies.

FDEM electrical conductivity values ranging between 40 mS/m to 60 mS/m were considered as anomalous in that geological terrain. These areas were then surveyed by the ERT method to check the depth extent of these FDEM anomalies. On the resistivity section, between station 40 m and 80 m of Dump 1 – ERT1, a discontinuity in the bedrock was identified. The area could act as a pathway for contaminants to flow from the dump to groundwater. The FDEM survey identified an area with high conductivity values to the north of Dump 1. The ERT results also showed a shallow plume at 30 m depth which is consistent on two parallel sections on Dump 1. The area could be a possible AMD pathway of a mine dump residue to a Komati tributary on the north. The bedrock is generally characterised by high resistivity values; a break in the bedrock exists on this high resistivity zone on ERT 6. This break could be a fault zone which can act as possible pathway of (AMD) from a mine dump residue to a shallow aquifer.

Potential contaminant recharge pathways were delineated using geophysical, electrical and electromagnetic methods. Potential groundwater recharge pathways and sub-vertical low resistivity zones with values <100Ohm.m   were   delineated   using   the   ERT   method.   Investigation   of   contaminant   plume   migration   is recommended over the anomalies that were generated from geophysics data in the Barberton areas. New technologies (artificial neural networks (ANN), fuzzy logic, etc.) combined with laboratory studies is recommended for development of a software platform that accepts 3D geoelectric data (present study), constrained with geology, geochemistry (soil and water), hydrology and hydrogeology data.


Accurate parameter estimation for fractured-rock aquifers is very challenging, due to the complexity of   fracture   connectivity,   particularly   when   it   comes   to   artesian   flow   systems   where   the potentiometric  is  above  the  ground  level,  such  as  semi-confined,  partially  confined  and  weak confined aquifers in Table Mountain Group (TMG) Aquifer. The parameter estimates of these types of aquifers are largely made through constant-head and recovery test methods. However, such tests are seldom carried out in the Table Mountain Group Aquifer in South Africa due to the lack of a proper testing unit made available for data capturing and an appropriate method for data interpretation. 

An artesian borehole of BH-1 drilled in TMG Peninsula Formation on the Gevonden farm in Western Cape Province was chosen as a case study. The potentiometric surface is above the ground level in the rainy season, while it drops to below ground level during the dry season. A special testing unit was designed and implemented in BH-1 to measure and record the flow rate during the free-flowing period, and the pressure changes during the recovery period. All the data were captured at a function of time for data interpretation at later stage. 

Curve-fitting software developed with VBA (Visual Basic Application) in Excel was adopted for parameter estimation based on the constant-head and recovery tests theories. The results indicate that a negative skin zone exists in the immediate vicinity of the artesian borehole in Rawsonville, and the  hydraulic  parameters  estimates  of  transmissivity  (T)  ranging  from  6.9  to  14.7 m2/d  and storativity  (S)  ranging  from  2.1×10-5   to  2.1×10-4   appear  to  be  reasonable  with  measured  data collected from early times. The effective radius is estimated to be 0.5 to 1.58 m. However, due to formation losses, the analytical method failed to interpret the data collected at later times. Consequently the analysed results by analytical solution with later stage data are less reliable for this case. Numerical modelling is proposed to address the issue in future.


POSTER Hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracking or fracking, is being engaged in the Karoo region of South Africa in order to enhance energy supplies and improve the economic sector. It will also lead to independence in terms of reduced amount of imports for fuel due to an estimated 13.7 trillion cubic metres of technically recoverable shale-gas reserves in South Africa. 

Fracking is an extraction technique used with the purpose of having access to alternative natural methane gas, which is interbedded in shale deposits deep under the surface of the earth. In this process boreholes are drilled horizontally into shale formations to cover a larger area in the shale and  subsequently  attain  more  natural  gas.  After  these  horizontal  boreholes  are  drilled,  large volumes of water, mixed with chemicals and sand, are pumped into these boreholes under a very high pressure, forcing the natural gas out. This water mixture is referred to as the fracking fluid. Water is the main component in the fracking fluid and the water used for the fluid reaches volumes up to 30 million litres per borehole.

The aim of this study is to present a baseline study of the area and its water resources to ultimately facilitate in resolving the actual impact hydraulic fracturing will have in the area, using a simulation model which will predict the migration of the fracking fluid in the subsurface. In this model, the chemistry of  the fracking fluid  will  be  included  to determine  the impact  it might  have  on the groundwater quality in the area


Currently limited progress is made in South Africa (and Africa) on the protection of groundwater quality. To achieve the objective of water for growth and development and to provide socio- economic and environmental benefits of communities using groundwater, significant aquifers and well-fields must be adequately protected. Groundwater protection zoning is seen as an important step in this regard. Till today, only one case study of groundwater protection zoning exists in Africa. Protection zone delineation can be done using published reports and database data. However, due to the complexity of the fractured rock at the research site, more data are required. This data can be collected by conducting a hydro census and through aquifer tests. An inventory of the activities that can potentially impact water quality was done and aquifer characteristics such as transmissivity and hydraulic conductivity were determined through various types of aquifer testing. Fracture positions were identified using fluid-logging and fracture flow rates were also measured using fluid-logging data. A conceptual model and basic 3D numerical model were created to try to understand groundwater movement at the research site. The improved information will be used to build a more detailed numerical model and implement a trustworthy groundwater protection plan, using protection zoning. The expected results will have applicability to groundwater management in general. The protection plan developed during this project can be used as case study to update and improve policy implementation.


The Karoo Supergroup has a hydrogeological regime which is largely controlled by Jurassic dolerite dyke and sill complexes. The study area is located in the north-eastern interior of the Eastern Cape Province,  close  to  the  Lesotho  border.  The  sedimentary  rocks  of  the  upper  Karoo  constitute fractured and intergranular aquifers, due to relatively hydro-conductive lithologies. The main groundwater production targets  within  the  upper-Karoo  are  related  to  dolerite  intrusions  that have  a  number  of  characteristics that influence groundwater storage and dynamics. Magnetic, electromagnetic and electrical resistivity geophysical techniques are used to determine the different physical  characteristics  of  the  dolerite  intrusions,  such  as  size,  orientation  and  the  level  of weathering. Trends in the data collected from a large-scale development programme can provide evidence that intrusion characteristics also play a role in determining the hydrogeological characteristics of the area. Interpreted geophysical borehole drilling, aquifer  testing  and  water chemistry  data  can  be  used  to  indicate  hydrogeological  differences  between dolerite intrusion types. Observed trends could be used for more accurate future well-field target areas and development.


After drilling technology improvements in South Africa in the early 1900s, several deep (>300 m) exploratory drilling programmes were conducted to explore for pressurised groundwater resources. The results were not significant, except for the Cretaceous Uitenhage Artesian Basin and recent investigations in folded Table Mountain Group Aquifer systems. Large sedimentary units in Southern Africa do have the structural geometry to drive regional artesian systems; however, diverse climate and aquifer hydraulic limitations counteract these conditions to such a level that sustainable basin- like  deep  flow mechanisms  are  probably  non-existing,  except where enhanced  by  deep mining activities.

On the contrary, several deep drilling projects in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia have undoubtedly  proven  the  existence  of  pressurised  groundwater  strikes  below  300 m  (northern Kalahari)  to  as  deep  as  3 000 m  (western  Karoo  Basin).  Given  the  regional  hydrogeological characteristics of these systems, the availability of sufficient recharge zones required to drive sustainable artesian flow or semiartesian conditions becomes a challenge. The existence of isolated pressurised compartments as a result of the lithostatic pressurisation in the deeper sections of many of the sedimentary successions may prove to be a more realistic explanation for these pressurised water strikes observed during deep drilling operations in Southern Africa.


Soil and water pollution are major environmental problem facing many coastal regions of the world due to high population, urbanisation and industrialisation. The hydrofacies and water quality of the coastal plain-sand of part of Eastern Niger-Delta, Nigeria, was investigated in this study. Hydrogeological investigations show that the aquifers in the area are largely unconfined sands with intercalations of gravels, clay and shale which are discontinuous and, however, form semi-confined aquifers  in  some  locations.  Pumping  test  results  show  that  the  transmissivity  ranged  between 152.0 m2/day  and  2 835.0 m2/day  with  an  average  value  of  1 026.0 m2/day,  while  the  specific capacity varied between 828.0 m3/day and 15 314.0 m3/day with a mean value of 6 258.0 m3/day. Well-discharge  ranged  between  1 624.0 m3/day  and  7 216.0 m3/day  with  an  average  value  of 3 218.0 m3/day, while hydraulic conductivity varied between 3.2 m/day and 478.4 m/d with a mean value of 98.6 m/day. These findings indicate that the aquifer in the area is porous, permeable and prolific. The observed wide ranges and high standard deviations and mean in the geochemical data are evidence that there are substantial differences in the quality/composition of the groundwater within the study area. The plot of the major cations and anions on Piper, Durov, and Scholler diagrams indicated six hydrochemical facies in the area: Na-Cl, Ca-Mg-HCO3, Na-Ca-SO4, Ca-Mg-Cl, Na-Fe-Cl and Na-Fe-Cl-NO3. Heavy metal enrichment index revealed 12 elements in the decreasing order of: Fe > Ni > Cu > Zn > Mn > Cd > V > Co > Pb > Cr > As > Hg. The study identified salt intrusion, high iron content, acid-rain, hydrocarbon pollution, use of agrochemicals, industrial effluents and poor sanitation as contributors to the soil and water deterioration in the area. Saltwater–freshwater interface occurs between 5 m to 185 m, while iron-rich water is found between 20 m to 175 m. The first two factors are natural phenomenon due to the proximity of the aquifer to the ocean and probably downward leaching of marcasite contained in the overlying lithology into the shallow water table, while the last four factors are results of various anthropogenic activities domiciled in the area. The DRASTICA model, a modification of the DRASTIC model, was developed and used in the construction of the aquifer vulnerability map of the area. Modern sanitary landfill that ensures adequate protection for the soil and groundwater was designed and recommended to replace the existing  open-dumpsites.  Owing  to  the  monumental  and  devastating  effects  of  hydrocarbon pollution in the area, the need to eradicate gas-flaring and minimise oil spills in the area was advocated. Bioremediation and phytoremediation techniques were recommended to be applied in the clean-up of soils and water contaminated with hydrocarbon in the area.



Groundwater  is  a  reliable  freshwater  resource.  Its  location   underground  prevents  it  from evaporative  forces.  Thus  it  serves  as  storage  of  most  of  the  world’s  liquid  fresh  water.  Being enclosed in the ground it is not also easily contaminated. Since groundwater can be used wherever it exists without costly treatments, there is over-dependence on the resource. Though in the past it was mainly used by rural dwellers for domestic water supply, presently, due to effects of climate change on surface water resources, pressures of population growth leading to expansion of towns and cities, groundwater is also supplied for agriculture and industrial purposes. But, the resulting effect from these additional users is the vulnerability of groundwater resources to reduction and pollution. Its importance in sustaining livelihood and development has been highly credited and its management  is  looked  upon  as  a  prerogative.  To  enhance  groundwater  management  in  the Sandveld, a qualitative content analysis approach was used to evaluate six factors considered to be highly needed in groundwater management. This background was used to find out how institutional arrangement in South Africa facilitates or constraints groundwater management in the Sandveld, a highly groundwater dependent area in the West Coast of the Western Cape. The results showed that all  six  factors  are  present,  but  three  facilitate  groundwater  management  while  three  others constrain management. The community involvement which ranked first, is deficient. Thus, institutional weaknesses that need to be strengthened have been identified.


The subject mine has a policy of avoiding groundwater inflow into the underground workings due to the impact on the mine operations. It has already implemented a significant mitigation measure by excluding shallow mining and a large pillar under the river that is present in the mining area. To assess the potential for groundwater inflows into the underground mine workings as a result of a planned expansion project, Environmental Resources Management (ERM) undertook numerical groundwater modelling based on a detailed geological investigation to define the proposed mining area into high, medium and low mining risk areas with respect to potential groundwater inflow. The conceptual definitions of the mining risk areas are: 

High Risk general groundwater seepage and inflow expected in the face and roof of the mining unit from numerous joints and fractures which is regarded as serious enough to permanently halt mining operations. 

Medium Risk possibility of limited point source groundwater inflow in the face and roof of the mining unit from sporadic selective joints and fractures. Not expected to halt mining operations. 

Low Risk no significant groundwater risk to mining operations expected.

The areas identified as being potentially at risk from groundwater inflow were determined using a combination of geological mapping, ground geophysics and percussion drilling that was incorporated into a numerical hydrogeological model. The study undertaken by ERM enabled the mine to incorporate the identified mining risk zones into the early stages of the mine planning, and allowed for a significant reduction in the size of the safety pillar under the river.


Artesian boreholes are a common feature worldwide in confined aquifers. However, the hydraulic testing of these boreholes and estimation of aquifer properties from such tests still pose a challenge for hydrogeologists. Common hydraulic tests, such as step-drawdown or constant discharge rate tests  require  a  static water  level  at the  start  of  the  test,  and  the measurement of  drawdown (increasing over time) and abstraction rate (fixed for a period of time). Usually, when undertaking a pumping test in an artesian borehole, the drawdown is measured from ground level, and the drop in hydraulic head between static pressure and ground level is often ignored. This also implies that the starting time of the test is not at the static water level. A constant head test, set at ground level, is the other option. However, the decrease in flow rate is not only dependent on the hydraulic properties of the aquifer, but also masked by pipe hydraulic effects within the well. This kind of test would also limit the available drawdown to be utilised for the test. 

Hence,  it was  required  to  develop a method for undertaking hydraulic tests in  strong artesian boreholes allowing for the drawdown to fluctuate between above and below ground and avoiding the pitfalls described above. The solution is a specially designed and constructed well-head for the installation of the pump and monitoring equipment prior to the hydraulic test. The standard tests are slightly modified and will only be carried out after sealing the well-head and reaching static hydraulic pressure. 

The recommended well-head construction and subsequent hydraulic tests were carried out at a strong artesian borehole in the Blossoms Well-field, south of Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape of South Africa.


The  possible  future  exploitation  of  methane  in  the  Karoo  has  stimulated  work  from  various disciplines to examine its occurrence, exploitability and exploitation risks. Groundwater issues are vital in this context because of its possible use during exploration and exploitation, and more important, to understand the risks of its pollution during and after all these activities. This paper presents the experiences of the authors to document the presence of methane in the Karoo based on data from boreholes, springs, tunneling and deep drilling. There have been frequent anecdotal reports of explosive gas in boreholes, both dry and wet, in the Karoo. In some cases the gas is identified as methane. Thermal spring waters in the Karoo invariably contain some amounts of methane. Methane pockets have been found in the Karoo during tunneling projects and in some deep Soekor boreholes. A groundwater study in the vicinity of the Gariep Dam indicated substantial quantities of methane in warm groundwater and an association with helium. The isotope concentrations of carbon and hydrogen in methane characterise the methane-forming processes. Such analyses in samples from the central Karoo basin are consistent with that of thermogenic gas found  elsewhere  in  the  world.  Towards  the  edges  of  the  basin,  lower  13C-values  indicate  that methane  there  is  produced  by  microbial  processes  at  shallower  depths.  The  presence  of thermogenic methane together with helium on the surface is likely to give clues to pathways from depth.


POSTER The study focuses on the primary aquifer in the Cedarville flats. Groundwater extracted from the aquifer is the primary source for domestic and agricultural purposes for farmers and the community in the Cedarville area. The aim of the study is to develop a conceptual hydrogeological model of the primary aquifer in Cedarville flats which may be used as an input to a groundwater flow model that will predict the behaviour of the aquifer. The main objectives of the research are:

Characterise  the  aquifer  based  on  borehole  log  information,  depth  to  water,  hydraulic properties of the aquifer and recharge.

Examine the hydrochemistry and environmental isotope composition of groundwater.

Develop a conceptual hydrogeological model for the Cedarville primary aquifer.

The study area boundary covers a large area including towns like New Amalfi and it goes to Lehlohonolo, but the main focus is in the primary aquifer in the Cedarville flats. The topography varies from predominantly hilly around the escarpment with numerous rivers draining deep valleys to a less mountainous undulating central area like Cedarville flats. Cedarville flats found in the midst of extremely broken ground forming the only considerable extent of plane country in the Eastern Cape territories. They cover about roughly 90 square miles and are hemmed in by ranges of mountains on the south and east and by small hills on the west and north. The aquifer is recharged by Mzimvubu River, which is the largest river in the Mzimvubu river basin; it extends from the Lesotho highlands to the Indian Ocean. It has four main tributaries: the Tsitsa, Tina, Kinira and Mzintlava, all having their headwater in the Drakensberg Mountains. The study area only shows the Tswerika, Riet, Mvenyane, Droewing and non-perennial streams. These streams all flow into the Mzimvubu River and their headwater is from the smaller mountains around the area.

The local geology of the area is formed by the Beaufort Group rocks and alluvium rocks which are quaternary in age. The geology that is specifically found in the Cedarville flats aquifer is made of alluvial deposits consisting of clay, sand and gravel. Surrounding the aquifer are Tarkastad subgroup rocks which are predominantly argillaceous rocks, including shale, carbonaceous shale, clay stone, mudstone and siltstone. The primary aquifer in the Cedarville flats is capable of sustaining long-term, large-scale production, and these kinds of aquifers are rarely found in the southern Karoo Basin.

Existing boreholes will be used to examine the bore log information, like lithology and thickness of the rocks that form the aquifer. Groundwater hydrographs will be drawn to determine the groundwater level variation. Pumping tests will be conducted to help with hydraulic conductivity, storativity and transmissivity of the aquifer. Water samples will be collected to test the water chemistry and environmental isotopes of the groundwater. Secondary data will be requested from National Groundwater Archives (NGA), Weather SA and the Department of Water Affairs. When all the data is collected, then a conceptual hydrogeological model will be produced.




Flowing fluid electrical conductivity (FFEC) profiling provides a simple and inexpensive way to characterise a borehole with regards to the vertical location of transmissive zones, the hydraulic properties  of  the  various  transmissive  zones  and  the  intra-well  flow  conditions  which  may  be present in the well under ambient conditions. The method essentially involves analysing the time evolution of fluid electrical conductivities in a borehole under pumped and ambient conditions using a down-hole conductivity/temperature data logger. The premise of the method is that the borehole column of water has its electrical conductivity altered by adding saline water into the borehole. This results in a contrast in electrical conductivity (EC) between the water in the borehole and the water in the adjacent formation. At depths where transmissive zones are present, decreases in EC values in the FFEC profile will be observed where formation water with a lower EC (relative to the borehole water column) enters into the well, whilst pumping at low abstraction rates (between 500 ml and 1 liter per minute). By altering the EC of the well-borewater and maintaining a constant pumping rate,  the  sequence  of  FFEC  profiles  depicts  the  dynamic  flow  and  transport  response which  is dependent upon the hydraulic properties of the formation. In this paper the authors present several examples where FFEC profiling has been used to identify transmissive zones in boreholes where no information existed with regards to the vertical distribution of transmissive zones. Furthermore, the authors present case studies where FFEC profiling has been employed as an alternative technology to more conventional hydraulic profiling techniques. This includes a comparative technology case study where down-hole impeller flow meter technology was employed in addition to FFEC profiling and a multi-rate FFEC profile test which was used to determine discrete fracture transmissivity values in a borehole where packer testing equipment could not be installed. Within the context of groundwater contamination investigations, the method holds several attractions as it generates minimal waste water to be managed and disposed of, is inexpensive and can be completed within a relatively short time period.


POSTER Lake Kosi Bay is an estuary-linked lake system composed of four interconnected lakes, namely Makhawulani , Mpungwini , Nhlange , Amanzamnyama and interconnecting channels, which drains via a sandy opening to the Indian ocean and three extensive areas of swamps (Wright 2002 ). The Kosi Bay lake system is considered as the most pristine lake system on the South African coast and has been used as a recreational fishing destination since 1950 (James et al. 2001). The lakes are separated from the ocean by a strip of forested sand dunes (South African Wetlands Conservation Programme 1999;  Wright  2002).  Groundwater  utilisation  in  the  area  ranges from  extraction  of seasonal groundwater from shallow, hand-dug wells to drilling of boreholes for family or communal use and development of groundwater well-fields for agricultural projects (Botha et al. 2012). The exact amount of abstraction of the groundwater is unknown. 

The  Kosi  Bay  system  is  situated  on  the  northern  KwaZulu-Natal  coast,  2.9 km  south  of  the Mozambique international boarder. According to a Statistics South Africa survey (2007), the approximate  population  is  163 694.  The  Kosi  system  falls  under  the  UMkhanyakude  District Municipality, which covers more than 128 818 km2. The travelling distance from north of Durban is 470 km and coordinates of the Kosi Bay system are 2650S-2711S, 3238E- 3253 (Write et al. 1997). The catchment has an area of about 304 km2. The Kosi Bay system is principally clean, white sands, particularly in the northern most reaches where tidal influences are most marked and the system experiences a seasonal inflow of fresh water into its heard (Andeas Holbach 2012).


This paper was presented at the GWD Central Branch Symposium, Potchefstroom in 2012

Numerical modelling of hydrogeological systems has progressed significantly with the evolution of technology and the development of a greater understanding of hydrogeology and the underlying mathematical principles. Hydrogeological modelling software can now include complex geological layers and models as well as allow the pinching out of geological features and layers. The effects of a complex geology on the hydraulic parameters determined by numerical modelling is investigated by means of the DHI-WASY FEFLOW and Aranz Geo Leapfrog modelling software packages.

The Campus Test Site (CTS) at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa was selected as the locale to be modelled. Being one of the most studied aquifers in the world, the CTS has had multiple research projects performed on it and as a result ample information is available to construct a hydrogeological model with a high complexity. The CTS consists primarily of stacked fluvial channel deposits of the Lower Beaufort Group, with the main waterstrike located on a bedding-plane fracture in the main sandstone aquifer.

The investigation was performed by creating three distinct hydrogeological models of the CTS, the first consists entirely of simplified geological strata modelled in FEFLOW by means of average layer thicknessand does not include the pinching out of any geological layers. The second model was created to be acopy of the first, however the bedding-plane fracture can pinch out where it is known to not occur. The third and final model consisted of a complex geological model created in Leapfrog Geo which was subsequently exported to FEFLOW for hydrogeological modelling.