Wish All a very Happy Season and good rest over this holiday period. We are thankful that we could spend the year together - staying in touch and finding even more opportunity to meet and share. Let us take the best of the year moving forward and take on 2021 with renewed vigor, focus and intent.
11 x Zoom sessions. Interesting intersecting topics hosted by the different GWD Branches: Western Cape, North West, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Central (Bloemfontein).
Special mention of all the Stakeholders, Networks, Memberships, Trade partners of 2020:
BWA, WISA, SADC-GMI, GEOSS, UP, IHP-SA, GAKZN, UKZN, WRC, UWC, DWS, GSSA, CGS, IGS
GWD Member Roll 2020
And there it blows!
There is little that delights as much as seeing (and drinking) water when you are thirsty.
It satisfies a fundamental need, it’s a sensory experience bar none and its presence or lack thereof, a deeply emotive issue.
Thus when a community bereft of water for so long, see the first blow of it – spectacularly - from underground, it’s indeed an emotional almost spiritual experience.
And rightly so that the country and press celebrates the fact with them. Celebrates the hands that make it possible. The awe and thankfulness of the people that can now for the first time, some ever, have water close at hand to drink, to wash, to sanitise.
Access to groundwater has changed many lives, particularly also over this year. That is something that the sector also celebrates, after all – this is their trade, their science. Their body of knowledge being honed and studied and shared and debated for decades already: how to bring groundwater - responsibly, sustainably, and with good quality – to those that needs it.
But there is a cloud that seems to obscure this bright sunbeams/ waterstreams of light and hope. It resides and lies uneasy in the stomachs of those that know and rests heavy on the shoulders of the custodians:
Spectacular results can often end in spectacular failures....or just make for some complications later
Geohydrologists (groundwater specialists) realizes that it is difficult to create excitement and buzz around a mostly unseen commodity. A river, dam and waterfall can awe and become part of a scenery – its visual and spatial and you can interact with it to create memories. Groundwater on the other hand – well yes, its hidden. The only thing indicative of it (if anything) is usually a windpump or pumphouse or a 2 dimensional map. Not very sexy or newsworthy. (Nowadays, it is the exciting new playground of the data modellers and animators that bring the science more to life! Watch the press on this one)
That said, nothing is as spectacular as a blow yield. Water shooting up in the sky and raining down with the promise of life-giving nourishment.
But seasoned geohydrologists and drillers know only too well that it is mostly all show. There needs to be a constant yield pumping test done for at least over 8 to 12 hours and water needs to be tested to see if it is indeed suitable for human consumption. The test pumping will indicate the actual yield that can be pumped sustainably at long term as to ensure the impact on the underground aquifer, and all the interconnected flow, is not permanent. That the well can not only give water until the press and its followers turn the camera’s off and move on to the next ‘story of the moment’.
Giving the gift of water is a blessing also for the many geohydrologists that can do it – daily – but it is done, carefully and measuredly - not to overpromise, not as a show but through consideration and in support of their science, their well-toned and constantly honed body of knowledge.
In the year ahead we will start sharing ‘Our Stories’. It will be about our members and member organisations’s experiences working in the groundwater field – with communities, Industry, government, learning institutions – individuals. There is excellent work being done out there and telling about and sharing that work and the impact it have on those giving and/or receiving , groundwater – making up 98% of freshwater on the planet – will ensure this resource is properly celebrated and made visible.
We are starting up a new feature on our website called ‘Our Stories’. We want to give a platform for our members to share there success stories/projects to the world. Tell us about your challenges with difficult drilling site and how you overcome it; the new method you applied in an area; the reseach that you are busy with, etc. We need to share.
We are requesting only a maximum of 200 words, a photograph/figure and contact details. The writing must consist of a title, short description, the results and the impact of the work.
The contact detail need to contain your details, the company/organisation/university details as well as the company/organisation/university logo.
We invite all our member to share experiences with us. And if the media picks up on a story, you will be contacted and not the GwD. This is free advertising for you and your organisation.
Let us Talk about It!
Email us your NAME & TALK THEME to add you to the List:
|1||Mrs Constance Mafuwane, SANBI||FRAMEWORK TO ENHANCE THE CURRENT DEGREE OF EFFICIENCY IN THE MANAGEMENT GROUNDWATER AND SPRINGS IN MPUMALANGA PROVINCE|
Part Love Letter to Groundwater & its Custodians
'Pro-active' has never really been a term associated with the local water sector. In the business of water – just like in life...and water is Life, not so? - our Agendas are informed mostly only by that 'must-do's, can't put this off any longer's' that scream the hardest for our attention at any particular time. And that is the nature of 'reactive' responses – cleaning up the mess, apologising, rationalising, blaming, promising action in mitigating the next disaster. All with hindsight – sometimes offering embarrassing insights – and mostly ending up in the minutes of a meeting or draft plan that will be dusted off / rebooted when the time is just a bit past twelve.
But that is bureaucracy, a wheel without power steering.
Enter our rugged and real <selective, note> groundwater technicians and groundwater scientists that actually walk the dusty plains and hills and valleys of this beautiful country. They talk with headman, the farmer, the woman and kids. They shake the hand of the mine boss, can stomach the boardroom bore and ethical tightropes with the best of MDs and Developers and do the corridor shuffle down the bleak hallways of government buildings..
..but their place is outside in the sun: measuring, plotting, drilling and probing
These workers of the science of the unseen. Most exciting, in my mind. This world below our feet that where, also ions old, fossil water turns.
< sidenote: A recent snippet read – it was a whole article but I can just only process snippets in this too much information world- of the study into the 'memory' of water made me wish I could tap into that world too>
But you don't just 'tap into groundwater'. It's a complicated and much involved science of geology and lithology and soil and gradients and impacts and hydraulics and Darcy's Law....and so much more. And it's also a frontier. Explorers by heart, our scientist map (and use all advanced new ways) and model to help us visualize our 'hidden treasure'.
And now they bring us news (based on scientific data no less) from out there ...from over the river and around the bend.
There is trouble in the land! Our treasure is being depleted...and in some places showing 'no signs of recovery'. Mother nature retaliates, users pollute, over abstract and sometimes just blatantly ignore the impacts that our way of living balancing the economy vs the ecology / environment... have on the world around and below us...
Our last, and in some places, only resort for sustainable living is being threatened.
And then stakeholders gather together and in a chorus affirm each other's concerns and call for action!
...Is the indicator on and blinking yet? And which way will the wheel turn?
How can we insure that we act purposefully and successfully upon these early warnings, I ask myself.
Having been part of the bureaucratic system where I witnessed first-hand how difficult (and cumbersome) the road to implementing any new policy or strategy is, I do a quick relaxation exercise to calm my mind. WE CAN DO THIS.
We can "raise awareness", we can go to press and call to action more stakeholders. Create such 'bottom-up' furore that the powers 'that be' take notice. This bring to mind the huge outcry in Polokwane over the....but that is another story for another day.
We can go to Green Peace <the activist in me that is> or Green Scorpions <has its sting still?> and 'safe our wetlands and the largest freshwater lake in South Africa' campaign it!
But I always stop there in my mind. I look for the possible alternative solution...opposite of the obvious? It is not the first 'early-warning' and not be the last. Not in the least...
Big picture, big solution? Is it possible? For now, until we can find partnerships in like-minded 'Actioneers'..this is a story as old as time...
Perhaps just as old as the groundwater you drink 😉
FOOTNOTE ADDED 27/05/2020 Opinion entirely my own. This piece was penned about a year and a half ago in response to a wetland report that landed in our inbox. I actually still have no idea what was the outcome/ resulted after the report went public.