Thank you to the Eastern Cape Chair: Mr Etienne Mouton, for making this great session possible!

TALK ABSTRACT  Small water treatment plants are defined as water treatment systems that have to be installed in areas which are not adequately serviced and do not normally fall within the confines of urban areas. They are therefore mostly used in rural and peri-urban areas and include chlorination plants for water supplies from boreholes and springs, small treatment systems for rural communities, treatment plants of small municipalities and treatment plants for establishments such as rural hospitals, schools, clinics, forestry stations, etc. Most of these applications require small plants of less than 2.5 ML/d (although plants of up to 25 ML/d may sometimes also fall into this category).
The decision-maker selecting one of these small water treatment plants has a great number of local and international system designs to choose from. Especially in the case of novel and emerging systems, very little may be known of these systems in terms of cost, efficiency and the applicability to the intended application. Supplier information may be sketchy, or promising new technologies have not yet been fully evaluated under South African conditions. Socio-economic factors are also very important and should be taken into account in the selection of small water treatment systems in order to ensure sustainability.

Although some evaluation of a selected number of small water treatment plants has taken place under previous WRC projects (WRC Report No 450/1/97: Package water treatment plant selection, and WRC Report No 828/1/01: Field evaluation of alternative disinfection technologies  for  small  water  supply  technologies),  a  number  of  other  small  water treatment plants, available on the international market, have not yet been assessed in any way for possible (beneficial) application in South Africa. This study is therefore seen as complementing existing guidelines in providing assistance in the selection and operation of specific small water treatment systems being marketed for the treatment of potable water for small communities.

A number of local and international studies have shown that the selection of the correct water treatment system is but a first step in ensuring a sustainable supply of potable water to small communities. Following of the correct operational and maintenance procedures is of even greater importance for ensuring sustainability of water supply.   Although most suppliers of small water treatment systems provide their clients with some operational and maintenance  guidelines,  these  may  not  be  exhaustive,  or  certain  important  generic aspects may not be covered. Information on operation and maintenance aspects will be of significant value to the owners and operators of such small water treatment systems.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER  Christian D Swartz is a consulting water utlization engineer specializing in drinking water treatment and water supply projects, and water reclamation and reuse. He holds degrees in Civil Engineering and a Masters in Water Utilization Engineering from the University of Pretoria. He is a registered professional engineer and previously worked at the CSIR as senior research engineer and project manager on numerous projects in the drinking water treatment field. He started his own private consulting engineering practice, Chris Swartz Water Utilization Engineers, in 1991 in Mossel Bay, and later also opened an office in Durbanville, Cape Town. Chris Swartz has more than 28 years’ experience in the water industry. Areas of expertise include project management on water supply projects, evaluation of water treatment technologies, evaluation of water and wastewater treatment plants, water reuse and desalination schemes, risk assessment and risk management, rural water supply, and lots more.

Chris, your talk just again highlighted the need for knowledge sharing and thank you for sharing so freely. This insightful, topical talk is packed with information and we all appreciate your time with us!


WRC Report TT319-07 (4.81 MB)Download
Presenter's Talk: Chris-Swartz-GWD-Presentation-11-Sept-2020 (9.42 MB)Download

Recording Available:


Connan Hempel (SRK Consulting) Q - via registration form: How would these systems deal with issues like elevated Arsenic & Fluoride?

Melissa Lintnaar-Strauss (DWS) Q: Chris, how many commercial labs are available in SA to test for the EDC`s and pesticides and what are the costs of tests?

Greta Pegram (Private) Q: What are your thoughts and how do you recommend removing substances such as hormonal or prescriptive medications that are increasingly being found in waste water discharges?

Sizwe Mabilisa (Private) Q: Deep rural communities who usually get their drinking water from rivers usually boil the water before drinking. How effective is this most? what other cost effective solutions can they explore?

Maphuti Kwata (CGS) Q: Since the small rural communities are using underground water such as wells and boreholes as water supply for drinking purposes with regard to leakage of CO2 which might be stored /contaminate underground water . What are the technologies/mitigation measures that could be used to prevent /reduce the CO2 as the contaminants /leakages to the under groundwater?

Sumaya Israel (UWC) Q: Is your talk more related to municipal treatment? As small rural communities may require point of use type treatment methods (filtration systems within the household).

Sumaya Israel (UWC) Q: Would you recommend in situ or ex situ application of the methods outlined?



TALK ABSTRACT  It’s commonly accepted that climate change will be experienced though water, particularly in developing countries. Several studies relating to the impacts of climate change on surface water have been undertaken while very little research exists on the potential impacts on groundwater. Hence, this talk aimed to discuss some of the current research with respect to climate impacts on groundwater. Various methods are proposed for estimating climate change impacts on groundwater, such as using hypothetical scenarios of progressive drying to assess stream flow sensitivity to drought, using MODFLOW to investigate projected effects of climate change on groundwater or using scenarios to analyze impacts of climate change on aquifer recharge.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER Chris Moseki has over 20 years of experience in groundwater development and water resources management. He also served as a research manager at the Water Research Commission responsible for development of tools and systems for adaptation to climate change for about 6 years. Chris is currently a climate change specialist scientist at the Department of Water and Sanitation. His interest includes research in groundwater and climate change as well as seeking solutions to climate and water related problems in the public sector.
DR CHRIS MOSEKI is also a longstanding member of the GWD and is revered and highly regarded. He has been instrumental in establishing WRM and Climate Change as Agenda points in the water sector strategies being work-shopped since the late 1990's, and driving forth and carrying the torch since then...And a great person with a warm smile. We appreciate you Dr Chris & also for sharing your knowledge, experience and material with us!

Well done and Thank you to the GWD Gauteng Branch Chair Mr Kwazi Majola for making the sharing & learning opportunity through this excellent presentation possible.


Presenter's Talk: Website-opt_Groundwater-Climate-change-_state-of-research-Aug-2020-FINAL (5.65 MB)Download

Recording available


The following were discussed:

Kes Murray Q: With all the increases in GW use (and dependence) in recent years in RSA, as well as with the expected reductions in recharge from climate change in the future, what is DWS's role with regards to monitoring, managing and allocating the status of aquifer storage levels at a regional scale?

Victor Tibane Q: What are the differences between water stress and water scarcity, how is each event determined, and what are the possible technological advances for solutions?

Elsabe Swart, Department of Environment and Nature Conservation (DENC) Q_1: How do you distinguish between water extraction impacts and that of climate change?

Q_2: How do you distinguish between water extraction impacts and that of climate change?Are any of these studies being done in the Northern Cape province? Is monitoring of boreholes sufficient (especially in the Northern Cape as it is the most arid province where these impacts are expected to be most severe)?

Q_3: What communications go through to the National Minister - concern is specifically i.t.o. the pressure to extract more underground water as a source for water going forward in the country. Concerned about the feasibility overall, but again especially i.t.o. the arid Northern Cape?

Henk Coetzee Q: Chris, have you looked at Eddie van Wyk's work on recharge, which looked at recharge being strongly event-driven, especially in more arid areas?

Sonia Veltman Q: I'd like to add to Henk's question. What's the options for looking at event driven recharge, modelling these based on changes in expected higher rainnfall events and then takinng those numbers back to these models adding it as objects, instead of averaging. What we see in the field is rapid recharge during storm events, but lagged in time?

Comment by Mr Fanus Fourie: The issue around low rainfall vs high intensity rainfall event will average out. Eddie said that the duration of the rainfall event is very critical to allow recharge to happen. Quick and intense thunderstorm will not create recharge but runoff.

Sivashni Naicker Q_1: The areas highlighted within the Karoo that are high risk, are there any management interventions that can be included in planning that DWS can do, especially in the rural setting, whereby people are more vulnerable?

Q_2: Dr Moseki, should we add investigation of potential artificial recharge sites to our all towns/recon studies?

Comment by Dr Sumaya Israel: I agree with you Dr Moseki, monitoring and having reliable data is key to sustainable management and understanding of our hydrological and hydrogeological systems.

Nkadimeng Maletele (IUCMA) Q: Thank you very much for the lovely and educational presentation Dr Moseki, As new member in the groundwater studies family I would like to ask, after how many years is it effective to analyze groundwater quality and quantity data…And is the groundwater quality data important when quantifying the impacts of climate change on groundwater?

Thank you for your support in attending this Event.


Assessment of the impacts of climate variability on total water storage in the Orange-Senqu River Basin:  implications for groundwater resources management
by Dr Tales Carvalho-Resende

Well done and Thank you to the GWD Gauteng Branch Chair Mr Kwazi Majola for making this sharing & learning opportunity possible!

BACKGROUND TO THE TALK: Alongside the effects of climate change and anthropogenic factors, natural climate cycles have considerable impacts on the hydrologic cycle. In this study, we look at how global climatic oscillations cycles, like El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) affect total water storage and groundwater storage in the Orange-Senqu River Basin by analysing two large aquifers: the Stampriet Transboundary Aquifer System (STAS) shared between Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, and the Karoo Sedimentary Aquifer shared between Lesotho and South Africa. The findings could help decision-makers prepare more effective climate-change adaptation plans at both national and transboundary levels.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER: Tales Carvalho-Resende has more than 7 years of experience in the development and management of international cooperation projects on environmental issues, climate change and transboundary waters. He worked at the UNESCO Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP) where he coordinated and supported research and capacity-building activities on groundwater and climate change, water diplomacy, conflict resolution, and international water law that lead to the establishment of the first arrangements for the governance of a transboundary aquifer in Southern Africa (Stampriet Aquifer in 2017 – Botswana, Namibia and South Africa) and Central America (Ocotepeque-Citala Aquifer in 2019 – El Salvador and Honduras). He is Brazilian, PhD, Earth Scientist and holds an MA in International Affairs and LLM in Climate Change Law and Policy.

We appreciate his excellent presentation and the encouragement by Dr Tales for sharing of the materials.

In vain have you
acquired knowledge
if you have not
imparted it to others.

Deuteronomy Rabbah

Tales-Talk_GWD-Presentation-14-Aug_GWD_SouthAfrica [.pdf 948kb]Download

Q & A Session

(Live questions and responses to these questions are transcribed and might contain capture errors. We will continue with the quality check and update the post accordingly.)

Q: Thanks Tales for the wonderful presentation. It is always encouraging to see the application of GRACE derived data particularly in Southern Africa given that GRACE is underrepresented. I would like to find out what was the time mean that was used to estimate the total water storage changes?

Tales: To give you further information about the GRACE satellite. The GRACE data have to be considered very careful. Why? Because it provides an overview on a large scale and not at local level. GRACE mainly ‘sees’ the fluctuations of shallow aquifers but not deep aquifers. Most of the time this is enough because most of the groundwater abstraction occurs from shallow aquifers. GRACE has been out in the skies since 2002. With the model we were able to add 20 more years going back to 1980 - which is fantastic. So this is what we tried to do, go back to the past to reconstruct these fluctuations.

Q: The applicability of GRACE on large aquifers (such as the Stampriet) you mentioned. So how is the applicability of GRACE on the smaller aquifers; and also the applicability of GRACE on a national scale for instance if you want to do it for the whole country total water storage estimations and what is the impacts on the water storage?

Tales: One of the aims of this study was to have a first picture of the correlations between groundwater and climate change at a large scale because there have been very few studies on that particularly in Africa. So, I would say a first step is to have a general big picture at large scale (i.e. the same study can be replicated at Southern Africa level) and then once we have that first picture, we can already identify some correlations. In Southern Africa, we can see that there is already an El Nino correlation and then you go into detail and further studies can be done. So, I can say that this study can easily be replicated at a large scale in other regions/ country level but is just to give a first ‘snapshot’ of the situation.. Then you follow with further studies at local level.

Q: Is there any reason why you chose this study area?

Tales: Well, we have chosen this area because we were working with the support of UNESCO in that region. We had support to assess these impacts of climate variability in the Stampriet aquifer and then we said ok let us see what is also happening in the Karoo Sedimentary aquifers so as to have a broad picture of groundwater dynamics in the Orange-Sengu Basin. We have also applied the same methodology of other regions of the world and the results were quite interesting.

Q:  Did you fit groundwater level data with the modelled results?  If so, how good was the model fit in validation?

Tales: If you have a look to slide 17. The answer is yes. We validated the model both in the GRACE (starting from 2002 until now) and the groundwater level data time-frame. Again, the groundwater level data might not have been representative of all of the basin but the very few that we could collect and were available, fitted very well and we felt confident to go further with these correlation of climate indices.

Q: Kwazi spoke about the scale with regards to applying GRACE data to a small scale. I personally tried that and the results were very coarse but looking at other studies, myself and others actually found that at scales greater than 150,000 km2 that is when you can start to see and get better results. We actually did not find absolute values in terms of values of total water storage but rather just the anomalies. Also using the soil moisture data and abstracting it from the GRACE the total storage data that actually gave us some insight into what is happening to groundwater level. So far we have not found or could use any long term data that is representative of areas less than the 150,000 km2 in SA and I think it is also the same issues that you faced when doing your study in the Stampriet. So I am not sure if you or somebody in your team have found some way to downscale so that can maybe be able to apply GRACE at a more local scale?

Tales: Yes, unfortunately for the time being we have not been able to go deeper into local scale. Exactly one of the challenging issues are the ones that you mention. So as you know groundwater fluctuates differently from one borehole to another, so a borehole that is only a few km away can have a different dynamic than another, and what we would need -I would say- to really make sure this model is robust is to have a strong groundwater level monitoring network at work in which you would allow you to have the average of all the groundwater level data. What GRACE does offer is usually an average of what is happening in the 150,000 km2 to give you one number. So that is the challenging issue. We did apply the same model in other aquifers that have a very good monitoring network mainly in the Unites States, and it worked very well. But as I said – this is only to show you what can happen at large scale.

Q: Is it possible to simulate the longer time effects of the Milankovitch cycles (100,000 year cycles) which effects of changes in Earth’s position relative to the Sun and are a strong driver of Earth’s long-term climate, and are responsible for triggering the beginning and end of glaciation periods (Ice Ages)

Tales: This is quite challenging as we don’t have good and reliable data on rainfall and evapotranspiration at long term to extend the model. The current version of the model starts at 1980 because our data on evapotranspiration starts by then.

Q:  How long after the El Nino/La Nina has started do you start to see the impacts on the groundwater storage changes or was it not part of the study?

Tales: We could see here that it was highly responsive so only a couple of months afterwards we could already see the impacts. Again this is only for shallow aquifers but this is very important information in the sense that it is highly responsive. So if you know there is a drought coming you will have an impact very soon after and this is the reason why it is really important to really be in touch and discuss with the climate people e.g. the different meteorological agencies and so on, because if you can have a good forecast of what happens with the rainfall patterns then you can have a good forecast also for groundwater. In this case we have seen that the aquifers are highly responsive to rainfall patterns which are intrinsically linked with climate indices.

Q:  What is your depth of "shallow" aquifers?

Tales: By shallow aquifers we mean here unconfined aquifer and the water table level that we could get here from the different chronicles were usually a couple of meters (approx. 10-20).

Q: What was the effect of human abstractions? How were these included in the model?

Tales: This is an interesting question as yes, it is difficult to get data on abstraction. This model here did not consider human abstractions but what we could see here and what we could see in other studies is that if you have a dry period it means that abstraction increases and the trend decreases. So in our study we talk about trends not numbers. The results of the model are shown in a normalized scale so abstraction can be “implicitly” considered because of that. It is very difficult to give you numbers on abstraction because it is not always very reliable data, so keep in mind the trends. The takeaway message here is that usually when you have a decreasing trend it also mean that you have more abstraction this means that the trend goes even down.

Q: The groundwater system seems to be more sensitive to human activities than climatic changes. Is long term still relevant or urgent? Long-term? 200 years or so

Tales: It is very difficult to separate what is the human component and what is the climatic component because both are together. When it comes to groundwater – if you have a drought – this means that you will abstract more so both are intrinsically linked. That is why it is very difficult to disaggregate both of them. In the long term, this is still relevant, because the information can help us to better set up some MAR schemes. For instance, we could see a AMO positive phase (current one since mid 1990s) could bring water storage down, and then once this cycle could flip to another phase we could have some better days. So this can already give us some time of what can happen and how we can prepare in the long term.  

Q: Presumably the water level measurements were taken from boreholes, which normally would be associated with human abstraction?

Tales: Yes. We tried to collect the longest and most continuous water level chronicles. Unfortunately, there are very few.

Please contact Mr Kwazi Majola (Branch Chair GAU) for more information on this subject:


Well done and Thank you to the GWD Northern Branch for this excellent presentation by Dr Rainier Dennis!

Public domain borehole information in South Africa is generally stored in the National Groundwater Archive (NGA) and the Groundwater Resources Information Project (GRIP) databases of which both are centralized databases. The GRIP database is updated by the Department of Water and Sanitation, but only covers one of the nine provinces. The NGA on the other hand covers the entire country, however there is a backlog of borehole information that needs to be captured, and it has limited time series data.

The reason for the poor time series data is two-fold:
(i) groundwater monitoring is expensive due to the distributed nature of the resource (the NGA consists roughly of 280,000 boreholes over 1,225,986 km2) and
(ii) consultants tend not to upload data to the national databases as the data is seen as a competitive advantage.

During the recent drought experienced in the Western Cape Province (2015 to 2018), citizens of local communities took to social media, reporting on rainfall and groundwater levels within their communities. With the dams drying up people started targeting groundwater with the result of approximately 30,000 boreholes being drilled. This led to the development of a mobile app available to both citizens and groundwater professionals.  This app allows logging of borehole information via smart phones. One of the main challenges with populating databases is the verification of the data.

The mobile app introduces a type of block chain approach where all data is accepted, but marked as low confidence until verified by a trusted user. The vision for the app is a ‘live’ hydrocensus and even if only water levels are captured, it would improve groundwater management by applying data mining techniques for trend analysis.

Rainier Dennis (BSc IT, BEng Electric & Electronic, MSc Geohydrology, PhD Geohydrology) is a senior lecturer at the Centre for Water Sciences and Management, North-West University. He has more than 18 years’ experience in software development, hydrological and geohydrological investigations.

We appreciate the sharing of the materials and we trust that Dr Rainier will receive a lot of additional inquiries around this inspiring development.

R-Dennis_ObserverAppPresentation-1_opt (.pdf 2.33 MB) Download

Live Session Request - View only

The GWD hosted Talks during Covid-19. These sessions have been recorded and can be released for View only purposes.

Q & A Session

Ivo: Is the code open source? if so pointers please

Once the App is complete, the code will be handed to the WRC and eventually to the custodian of the final database to make sure that if there are changes or future development, they can work with the existing code. So yes, it will be open.

Erin: What is the data consumption like?

Quite a difficult one. I think the best way is what Rob Schapers have said and that is he will start to track data usage as soon as the pilot version goes live. If you are worried about consumption the best thing to do is, at the office, download the data for that specific area so that the base map tile will be cache to your phone together with the borehole data that is available for that area. You can then go offline with your device and your GPS positioning device will still work in the field. You can log all the information and once you get back to the office you can connect to your Wi-Fi or any device you use and it will be uploaded. We will do some benchmarks in terms of just normal run-of-the-mill operations.

Irene: Two questions: (1) Has the feasibility of linking this to water use licenses/registration been considered to populate the database. And (2), will there be a function to convert what3word coordinates to surveyed data for use by groundwater professionals?

The first question concerning water use licenses, no, we haven't considered this.  My guess would be if people would be using it they may see the applicability and we might get some more requests to add this type of functionality - it is a good idea. The second question, yes on the use of the what3words. It can convert either way – by the coordinate of the block or the what3words can take you to the center of the block but remember, since this is a GIS system all those boreholes that you see on your display already has its own latitude longitude built-in so, it is not really necessary to convert back from the what3words as the GIS already have a coordinate for each site.

Nico: Is there some security measures in place to prevent the public to be targeted, due to location and photo sharing. Some chap might be interested in high-jacking your pump and sell on the black-market, if your borehole is not properly secured.

Yes, obviously there are certain things and this is a very valid point. We’re also sitting with the POPI – the Protection of Personal Information Act so you can't publish owner’s details and so forth. That is something that we obviously need to take cognisance off and being aware of this for some time, we don't have a solution yet. You can obviously strip the GPS and location details from any image but if you have the phone and you’ve registered on the App., obviously you can see there is a borehole and it’s got a pump in it, so, yes that might be a concern.

Wilbè: Wouldn’t it be better to develop the apps natively? If the source code is available I could assist in writing a MAC desktop version if there are any mac users

At the end of the day what the App studio does, is when the QML (Qt Markup Language) is compiled it invokes the relevant c++ compiler for each target platform, so in essence what you end up on your phone is a native app. The only reason why we have used the Arc products is because we are making use of ArcGIS online and you can also run some analysis of the data from the ArcGIS online server and then eventually make that analysis also available to users. If you were to develop that from scratch it would be a massive undertaking.

Jorette: Great project! On some projects we used to overlay the NGA, WARMS and whatever data we could over Google Earth to assist with hydrocensus investigation in the field, but phone battery dies and doesn't always show your position in relation to the nearby boreholes. Have you had similar problems or lags?

I suppose this will depend on your specific device. In our testing we have not come across this, but to date we were only using an iPhoneX and a LG V20 in our testing. When you disable the data network on our app, assuming you have cached all the data for your study area, you will conserve power and lengthen your battery life. I am not sure if Google Earth provide the same functionality to save battery time. It is also worth mentioning that GPS accuracy on a mobile phone, only making use of GPS (no Wifi) out in the open can range from 1m to 5m. This accuracy can be increased if making use of external GPS antennas, but from a citizen science point of view we don’t expect users to do this. Some phones support high accuracy mode which is switched on in the Settings menu.

Please contact Dr Rainier Dennis or Prof Ingrid Dennis for more information on this subject: Prof Ingrid Dennis <>, Rainier Dennis <>


Groundwater is not private property, and the use of groundwater requires a water use licence, or a general authorization. This is imperative for most environmental impact assessments, requiring even ongoing monitoring for the foreseeable future.

The GWD together with the IAH-SA called together a group of dynamic ladies to present on their experiences and findings around this very relevant topic that came up a number of times during social media discussions and via email queries received. This event was opened by Mr Fanus Fourie, GWD National Chairperson, moderated by Prof Matthys Dippenaar (UP, current IAH-SA President) and Mr Julian Conrad (current IAH-SA Secretary and immediate past president of the IAH-SA).

" Welcome to all attendees to this very relevant topic we would like to address today. With more than 28,000 registered water users that are using groundwater on the DWS database (WARMS database) we can see that groundwater use is very important and its importance is only rising. The race is really on for everybody to take their fair share but with this there is a lot of challenges and frustration - not only on the applicant’s side but also on the groundwater specialists and the regulator side and that is precisely what we want to address today."
F Fourie
, GWD National Chair

Presenters and Topics

To license or not to license groundwater: let us answer that question - Melissa Lintnaar-Strauss, DWS
What's yours is mine, and what's mine is mine. Or is it? - Jodi Coetzee, GEOSS
How to authorise your water use: the process - Kate Cain, GCS Pty Ltd
The technical geohydrology report – and all that jazz - Preanna Naicker, GEOSS
Water use licensing: the in's and the out's - Elkerine Rossouw, BGCMA

Lintnaar-Strauss_-groundwater-seminar-July-2020-2page_opt (1.7MB)Download
Preanna-Naicker_The-Technical-Geohydrology-Report-Webinar2020_final-post_opt (3.25MB)Download


Any more queries? Please contact your relevant DWS Regional Office or CMA for clarification:

Thank you to all the Respondents to our QUESTIONNAIRE. This gave us great insight into the AUDIENCE PROFILE as well as the most relevant ISSUES & INFORMATION PROFILE. (Please note that these statistics are based on the Questionnaire responses only and do not reflect the overall status within the formal WULA process)

Herewith acknowledgment that through the efforts of Nicola Domoney and Megan Hugo from Indwe Environmental Consultants, we were able to pick up on a formula error on our attendee stats. Below the updated statistics noting adjustment of final attendee numbers from 183 to 225. Much appreciated!

During the event Q&A session, although with an extreme time constraint, Mr Julian Conrad was able to table some of the questions received to the panel. Herewith a brief summary of the responses. Please note that the live responses are just that, and will either be elucidated on or summerised with the formal feedback document.

Melissa pre-application meeting [TRANSCRIPTION]: Julian I just want to indicate the Department is fully up and running as far as license applications are concerned and officials are willing to go out do site visits if they have to. The officer working with you application will indicate and it also depends on the type of application you dealing with e.g. if it is a license application and its complicated, a pre-application meeting will definitely be asked for; for a simple application that we know exactly what is asked for and are sure about water uses you want to apply for, you will be guided by the officer working on you application.
We are receiving requests throughout the period and we are assessing applications.

Elkerine on Schedule 1 use [TRANSCRIPTION]: Schedule 1 is a small volume for household use, for a small garden. A small garden qualifies when it is not used for commercial use. If you have your own fruit trees in your backyard, it is still seen as a small garden. So what is a volumetric limit? From the BGCMA’s point of view we look at the lowest volume that can be allocated from within a General Authorisation (GA) and that is 2000 m3 per/annum and for anything more than that we request a General Authorization application as such.
In terms of of the multiple households from a single borehole on one property: Yes, it is still Schedule 1 but if you are going to use that water for drinking water then you must make sure that you are registered with your water services provider (WSP) which is normally your local municipality / district municipality (as a WSP and not an authority). There is bylaws that actually specifically talks to that, so if you are doing that, you should also speak to your municipality.   

Melissa on historical borehole use [TRANSCRIPTION]: This could fall under the ‘existing lawful use’ and in terms of the existing lawful use there is a process the Department is currently embarking on and it is called the Validation and Verification process where we actually have to check whether the water use is lawful. It has been going on across the country but you can contact your Regional Office or CMA to assist you with this specific issue if you are unsure.

Elkerine Rossouw on Timeframes [TRANSCRIPTION]: Yes, there is an alignment between the NEMA and the National Water Act and that is why the timeframe is for about 300 days. I can’t really speak to the presidents’ address about the three months except that if it is three months from the day that you started the application to having a complete license on your table and after all the studies had been done, it is possible. But with so many specialists required yes, an Integrated WULA might take longer than the 300 days that is why it’s always important to have a good discussion with your assessor beforehand, before embarking on a license especially for an integrated water use license application.

Thank you for attending this event!
Attendees that REGISTERED and noted their attendance during the event (via the CHAT window) AND selected the questionnaire option: "will request an attendance proof" - were issued with Attendance/ CPD Certificates.
Feel free to contact us should you not have received, via
Regards, GWD EXCO


The Borehole Water Journal, Article by the late GWD Honorary Member Mr Ernst Bertram


Guide to e-WULAAS

The GWD hosted Talks during Covid-19. These sessions have been recorded and can be released for View only purposes.

Amidst trying times, it is with great appreciation that we acknowledge our ongoing and new Membership's loyalty and continued support.
The current 2020 GWD Membership Roll is published below.
[Last updated: 23/09/2020]

Please note that commercially available Professional Members' contact details are listed in the Professional Database.

GWD Membership in support of groundwater initiatives.
With the advent of our online events more than 600 member attendees have been recorded.

MembershipNameSurnameTitleOrganisationGWD Branch
StudentPatrick CAdadziMrUFS, Institute for Groundwater StudiesCentral Branch (Bloemfontein)
HonoraryShafickAdamsDrWater Research CommissionGauteng Branch
StudentUlane NoelleAlbrechtMrsUniversity of PretoriaGauteng Branch
Branch Chair
AmyAllwrightDr UFS, Institute for Groundwater StudiesCentral Branch (Bloemfontein)
ProfessionalPieterBadenhorstMrGeo Pollution Technologies  (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
OrdinarySimamkeleBaqaMrDigby Wells EnvironmentalGauteng Branch
ProfessionalOliverBarkerMrBanzi Geotechnics CCGauteng Branch
ProfessionalDale LeithBarrowMrGEOSS South Africa (Pty)LtdWestern Cape Branch
OrdinaryHansBeekmanDrIndependant ConsultantWestern Cape/ International
ProfessionalDylanBlakeMrUmvoto Africa (Pty)LtdWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalWilbè BlayMrAGES Omega (Pty)LtdEastern Cape Branch
ProfessionalImmoBlecherMrIndependent ConsultantWestern Cape Branch
OrdinaryHanreBlignautMrOverstrand MunicipalityWestern Cape Branch
OrdinaryHellenBooysenMrsTricon Agric ServicesGauteng Branch
OrdinaryCarinBosmanMrsCarin Bosman Sustainable Solutions (CBSS)Gauteng Branch
HonoraryJopieBothaProfUFS, Institute for Groundwater StudiesCentral Branch (Bloemfontein)
ProfessionalLouisBothaMrGroundwater SquareGauteng Branch
ProfessionalHendrik JohannesBothaMrGCS (Pty) LtdKwaZulu-Natal Branch
HonoraryEberhardBrauneProfUniversity of the Western CapeGauteng Branch
ProfessionalNeldaBreedtMeAquaticoGauteng Branch
OrdinaryAndreBurgerMrVula Amanzi Borehole Drilling(Pty) Ltd Eastern Cape Branch
ProfessionalMorneBurgerMrGeo Pollution Technologies  (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalKarenBurgersMeTerraqua Groundwater Consulting / AdvasianWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalWadzanaiChimhandaMsItasca Africa (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalVan der AheeCoetseeDrGeo Pollution Technologies  (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
GWD Exco
JulianConradMrGEOSS South Africa (Pty)LtdWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalMatthewDamhuisMrAlicanto Groundwater SolutionsGauteng Branch
Branch Chair
IngridDennisProfUniversity of the North-West, Potchefstroom CampusNorthern Branch
OrdinaryRainierDennisDrNorth-West University, Potchefstroom CampusNorthern Branch
GWD Exco
MatthysDippenaarProfUniversity of PretoriaGauteng Branch
ProfessionalJacquesDu PreezMrENGEOLAB CCKwaZulu-Natal Branch
HonoraryWillemDu ToitMrDepartment of Water and Sanitation (Retired)Gauteng Branch
ProfessionalGideon JohannesDu ToitDrGeo Pollution Technologies  (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalJohan Du ToitMrJMA Consulting (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalShuaibDustayMrSRK Consulting South Africa (Pty)LtdWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalDianaDutheMrsItasca Africa (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
OrdinaryBrianDyasonMrDepartment of Water and SanitationWestern Cape Branch
OrdinaryCasper ErasmusMrDepartment of Water and SanitationGauteng Branch
ProfessionalCobusErasmusMrGEMECSGauteng Branch
ProfessionalSurinaEsterhuyseMrsUniversity of the Free StateCentral Branch (Bloemfontein)
National Chairperson
FanusFourieMrDepartment of Water and SanitationGauteng Branch
ProfessionalRobelGebrekristosDrDigby Wells EnvironmentalGauteng Branch
ProfessionalHennoGerickeMrDepartment of Water and SanitationCentral Branch (Bloemfontein)
ProfessionalAlistair DGilbertMrSRK Consulting South Africa (Pty) LtdWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalCharlesGoodspeedMrGoodspeed Environmental ServicesKwaZulu-Natal Branch
OrdinaryLizetteGoosenMeSRK Consulting South Africa (Pty) LtdKwaZulu-Natal Branch
Professional EuniceGoossensMeSRK Consulting South Africa (Pty) LtdEastern Cape Branch
OrdinaryFerdiGoussardMrKUMBA IRON OREGauteng Branch
ProfessionalChristoGouwsMrGeo Pollution Technologies  (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalRiaanGrobbelaarMrJMA Consulting (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
AssociateZolwaziGumedeMrIzwelihle Group (Pty) LtdKwaZulu-Natal Branch
ProfessionalKeolebogileHalenyaneMeUgwa staff solutions (Pty) LtdGauteng 
ProfessionalErinHaricombeMrsSRK Consulting South Africa (Pty) LtdWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalChrisHartnadyMrUmvoto Africa (Pty)LtdWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalCarelHauptMrWSM Leshika Consulting (Pty)LtdNorthern Branch
ProfessionalRowenaHayMrsUmvoto Africa (Pty)LtdWestern Cape Branch
OrdinaryMatthewHillsMrNelson Mandela Bay MunicipalityEastern Cape Branch
ProfessionalMartinHollandDrDelta-H Water Systems Modelling (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalRui HugmanDrUmvoto Africa (Pty)LtdWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalSheilaImrieMrsSRK Consulting South Africa (Pty) LtdWestern Cape Branch
Branch Chair
SumayaIsraelDrUniversity of the Western CapeWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalAndrewJohnstoneMrGCS (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalAntonJonesMrDepartment of Water and SanitationCentral Branch (Bloemfontein)
OrdinaryNeboJovanovicDrCSIRWestern Cape Branch
StudentRefiloeKadiakaMeTshwane University of TechnologyGauteng Branch
AssociateNombuso PalesaKhetsiMeAnglo AmericanNorthern Branch
ProfessionalSagadevanKistenMrPrivate ConsultantKwaZulu-Natal Branch
Professional LakheKomaniMrDepartment of Water and SanitationWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalRainerKrantzMrGraell LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalJohanKriekMrGleam HydroGauteng Branch
ProfessionalRionaKrugerMrsSRK Consulting South Africa (Pty) LtdEastern Cape Branch
Branch Chair
PieterLabuschagneMrGCS (Pty) LtdKwaZulu-Natal Branch
ProfessionalSimone LabuschagneMrsAECIKwaZulu-Natal Branch
OrdinaryAJLandmannMrIndependent Water ccCentral Branch (Bloemfontein)
ProfessionalIreneLeaMrsIrene Lea Environmental and HydrogeologyGauteng Branch
ProfessionalPaulLeeMrUmvoto Africa (Pty)LtdWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalSechaba ElmonLenongMrCouncil for GeoscienceGauteng Branch
OrdinaryChristopherLentzMrAIG Pumps and SealsEastern Cape Branch
ProfessionalJan-MichaelLombardMrJMA Consulting (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
Professional Tobias JLoubserMrLoubser Water Resources ConsultGauteng Branch
ProfessionalPaulLourensMrUFS, Institute for Groundwater StudiesCentral Branch (Bloemfontein)
ProfessionalChristo JohnLouwMrDepartment of Water and SanitationNorthern Branch
Associate Moses NdunaMabasaMrMasana Waste and Environmental Management
ProfessionalTsumbedzo PeterMadandaMrSRK Consulting South Africa (Pty)LtdKwaZulu-Natal Branch
ProfessionalSarahMahlanguMeSRK Consulting South Africa (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalIsmailMahomedMrSRK Consulting South Africa (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
Branch Chair
Kwazikwakhe AlfredMajolaMrDepartment of Water and SanitationGauteng Branch
StudentTuwaniMalimaMrUniversity of VendaNorthern Branch
ProfessionalMichaelMalulekeMrDepartment of Water and SanitationKwaZulu-Natal Branch
ProfessionalReubenMampuruMrLefatshe Minerals and Consulting (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalGolden ManganyiMrMasana Waste and Environmental ManagementGauteng
OrdinaryAlfred KgothatsoMasekoMrPrivate ConsultantGauteng Branch
ProfessionalMatomeMasipa Kopano GeosolutionsNorthern Branch
ProfessionalMeganMassonMsGolder Associates Africa (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalNdukenhle DouglasMbataMrJG AfrikaKwaZulu-Natal Branch
ProfessionalMojalefa VictorMbeweMrGeo Pollution Technologies  (Pty) LtdGauteng
ProfessionalDavidMcGibbonMrUmvoto Africa (Pty)LtdWestern Cape Branch
Professional CedricMeierMrPrivate Consultant Gauteng Branch
ProfessionalMerisMillsDrMills WaterWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalRaymondMinnaarMrSLR Consulting (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalSakhile Sibusiso EdwinMndaweniMrDepartment of Water and SanitationGauteng Branch
ProfessionalOudiModishaMeGolder Associates Africa (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
StudentLethulaMofokengMrCSIRGauteng Branch
Associate GeorgeMolaolwaMrDepartment of Water and SanitationCentral Branch (Bloemfontein)
ProfessionalGregMolzenMrUmvoto Africa (Pty)LtdWestern Cape Branch
OrdinaryThapeloMongalaMrNorth-West UniversityNorthern Branch
ProfessionalRitchieMorrisMrMEGAWestern Cape Branch
HonoraryKym LMortonDrKLM Consulting Services (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalMotlole ChrisMosekiDrDepartment of Water and SanitationGauteng Branch
ProfessionalRuanMostertMrWesst Consulting (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalFerdinandMostertMrGradient Consulting (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalNancy SempheteMotebeMeIndependent ConsultantGauteng Branch
Branch Chair
EtienneMoutonMrHallowed Ground Consulting (Pty)LtdEastern Cape Branch
ProfessionalRachelMpeMsDepartment of Water and SanitationGauteng Branch
ProfessionalAzwindiniMukheliMrSRK Consulting South Africa (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
OrdinaryThendoMukomaMeDepartment of Public Works and Infrastructure Gauteng Branch
ProfessionalFunzani DuncanMunyaiMrIndependent ConsultantNorthern Branch
OrdinarySedzani EliaMuravhaMrGeo Pollution Technologies  (Pty) Ltd(was AECOM)Gauteng Branch
ProfessionalJohn HEMurrayMrMESA Pty Ltd (Mining Industry)Western Cape Branch
OrdinaryVuyelwaMvandabaMsCSIRGauteng Branch
ProfessionalJan AlbertMyburghMrAGES Omega (Pty)LtdEastern Cape Branch
ProfessionalSivashniNaickerMeDepartment of Water and SanitationGauteng Branch
OrdinaryThiloshiniNaidooMrsAGRI AND INDUSTRIAL SERVICESKwaZulu-Natal Branch
StudentMothaeNamaneMrUFS, Institute for Groundwater StudiesCentral Branch
ProfessionalElidaNaudeMrsEco Elementum Geohydrology (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalMbaliNdlovuMeFocus Project ManagementKwaZulu-Natal Branch
ProfessionalGertNelMrSRK Consulting South Africa (Pty)LtdEastern Cape Branch
GWD Exco
JacoNelDrUniversity of the Western CapeWestern Cape Branch
OrdinaryDuduzileNgidiMeLudloko DevelopmentsKwaZulu-Natal Branch
ProfessionalEnéz NickallMsCoolela Water Technologies LDAGauteng Branch
ProfessionalSifiso CollenNkosiMrGeo Pollution Technologies  (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
OrdinaryNthabisengNooeMeInternational student was with DWSWestern Cape Branch
OrdinaryRichardO'BrienMrSRK Consulting South Africa (Pty)LtdWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalAdolf GerswinOctoberMrERM (Environmental Resource Management)Western Cape Branch
ProfessionalRogerParsonsDrParsons & AssociatesWestern Cape Branch
AssociateMichael PhelanMrParsons & AssociatesEastern Cape Branch
ProfessionalCalliePickeringMrsGCS (Pty) LtdKwaZulu-Natal Branch
OrdinaryAdriaan PretoriusMrJMA Consulting (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalJakobusPrinslooMrUmvoto (Pty) LtdWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalErnestRambauMrAECOMGauteng Branch
ProfessionalKorneliusRiemannDrUmvoto Africa (Pty)LtdWestern Cape Branch
OrdinaryLarsRoeslerMrBAUER Technologies South Africa (Pty) LtdWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalReganRoseMrJG AfrikaKwaZulu-Natal Branch
ProfessionalAngus ErrolRowlandMrIndependent ConsultantGauteng Branch
ProfessionalDirk Cornelius
RudolphMrGHT ConsultingEastern Cape Branch
ProfessionalBishwarnandSahadeoMrPrivate ConsultantKwaZulu-Natal Branch
ProfessionalDonovanSamuelsMrGeoleco (Pty) LtdEastern Cape Branch
GWD Exco
ElandaSchaffnerMrsGWDGauteng Branch
ProfessionalMarkSchapersMrJG AfrikaKwaZulu-Natal Branch
ProfessionalRobert IgnatiusSchapersMrJG AfrikaKwaZulu-Natal Branch
ProfessionalFrankSchmidtMrGeology for Africa SASGauteng Branch
ProfessionalOckie FScholtzMrShangoni Management Services (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalLeratoSebeshoMeCouncil for GeoscienceGauteng Branch
OrdinaryRupertSebireMrGeomeasure Group (Pty) LtdKwaZulu-Natal Branch
ProfessionalMatomeSekibaMrCouncil for GeoscienceGauteng Branch
OrdinarySasha DeanSinghMrUmvoto Africa (Pty) LtdWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalOnke KnowledgeSkenjanaMrAGES Omega (Pty)LtdEastern Cape Branch
ProfessionalCraigSmithDrGeological Society of South AfricaGauteng Branch
OrdinaryHenokSolomonMrUniversity of the Western CapeWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalCornelis Johannes (Neels)SonnekusMrVSA Rebotile Metsi Consulting (Pty)LtdNorthern Branch
ProfessionalTaryn MSwalesMeGeomeasure Group (Pty)LtdKwaZulu-Natal Branch
ProfessionalMarius TerblancheMrGeo Pollution Technologies  (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalChristie LynnTerrellMrsSRK Consulting South Africa (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
HonoraryIsaThompsonMrsDepartment of Water and Sanitation (retired) Gauteng Branch
ProfessionalLukeTowersMrUmvoto Africa (Pty)LtdWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalShaneTurnerMrJMA Consulting (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalCameron CliveTurnerMrJones & Wagener (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalWillemVan BiljonMrGeo Pollution Technologies  (Pty) Ltdwestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalElaineVan der LindeMrsPrescali Environmental Consultants (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
OrdinaryPieterVan der MerweMrCrusader Consulting (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
OrdinaryJeanVan der WaltMrGeo Pollution Technologies  (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
OrdinaryJohanVan der WaltAB PumpsEastern Cape Branch
OrdinaryGeorgeVan der WattMrPharmatrend Projects ccGauteng Branch
OrdinaryGawieVan DykMrDepartment of Water and SanitationCentral Branch (Bloemfontein)
OrdinaryAltaVan DykMrsAlta van Dyk Environmental Consultants CCGauteng Branch
OrdinaryAlbertVan HeerdenMrGeo Pollution Technologies  (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalLouis JacobusVan NiekerkMrGHT ConsultingCentral Branch (Bloemfontein)
ProfessionalJohanna (Jorette)Van RooyenMrsVeltwater Groundwater SpecialistsGauteng Branch
OrdinaryBeateVan StratenMeEngeolab CCKwaZulu-Natal Branch
ProfessionalWilnaVan WykMrsSMN InternationalCentral Branch (Bloemfontein)
GWD Exco
YazeedVan WykMrWater Research CommissionGauteng Branch
OrdinaryLerizeVan Wyk GCS (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalNicolaasVan ZylHydrogeek Consulting (Pty) LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalTalita Van ZylMsGolder Associates Africa (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalSoniaVeltmanMrsVeltwater Groundwater SpecialistsWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalChristiaanVermaakMrTucana SolutionsCentral Branch (Bloemfontein)
GWD Exco
NicoletteVermaakMeUFS, Institute for Groundwater StudiesCentral Branch (Bloemfontein)
ProfessionalDanieVermeulenProfUFS, Institute for Groundwater StudiesCentral Branch (Bloemfontein)
OrdinaryAlbertusViljoenMrTshiping Water User AssociationCentral Branch (Bloemfontein)
OrdinaryKaren GrotheVillholthDrIWMI, International Water Management InstituteGauteng Branch
Professional DesmondVisserMrSRK Consulting South Africa (Pty)LtdWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalReinhardt V
Weidemann MrVSA Leboa Consulting (Pty)LtdNorthern Branch
ProfessionalJannie WeitzDrUmvoto Africa (Pty)LtdWestern Cape Branch
ProfessionalEddieWiseMrUmvoto Africa (Pty)LtdWestern Cape Branch
OrdinaryDerekWhitfield MrEDRS (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalKaiWitthueserProfDelta-H Water Systems Modelling (Pty)LtdGauteng Branch
ProfessionalSanMariWoitheMrsSanMari Geohydro ConsultingEastern Cape Branch
OrdinaryMagnificent ThulaniZuluMrImbalikazulu Trading Enterprise (Pty) LtdKwaZulu-Natal Branch


This event was hosted as a joint event by the Groundwater Association of KwaZulu-Natal (GAKZN) and the GWD KZN Branch, and moderated by the KZN Branch Chair, Mr Pieter Labuschagne.

Special mention and thank you to Gavin Hill (Hillson Drilling, KZN) for his assistance in organising this event.


Date: Tuesday Jun 30, 2020
Time: 4:00pm – 5:00pm (SAST)
Topic: Principles of Efficient Gravel Envelope Well Design and Operation

PRESENTATION ABSTRACT The expectation of a water well is to provide a desired production rate at any given time.  This performance expectation has been expanded to not only providing the maximum production rate, but also for the well to operate at its highest efficiency. Both internal and external design and hydraulic factors must be accounted for during the design, construction, operation, and maintenance phases in order to maximize the well's production potential with minimum head losses. This presentation will highlight the critical components of the well design process and demonstrate how wells can be operated with greater water production and cost efficiency.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER Kevin McGillicuddy is the Chief Hydrogeologist for the Roscoe Moss Company with over 35 years professional experience working nationally and internationally on ground water development projects.  Kevin was a founding member and Chair of the CA/NV AWWA Water Well Technology Committee and a member of the AWWA A100 Well Standards Committee. Prior to joining Roscoe Moss Company, he worked as Director of Recharge Operations  and  as  a  Senior  Hydrogeologist  for  the  Orange  County  Water  District  in Fountain Valley, CA. He holds a B.S Degree in Geology from Boston College and M.S. Degree in Geology from the University of Southern California.

REGISTRATIONS/ATTENDEES A total number of 139 registrations were received, with 95 total stations in attendance and 46 attendees signing in their attendance via the Chat window and thus qualifying for CPD attendance.


Presenter's Talk: K.-McGillicuddy-GAKZN-Principles-of-Efficient-Well-Design-final2-06.30.2020. (.pdf 2.53mb)Download

Recording available (original unedited)

Q&A Session

Q: How does topography influence the well design?
Q: Is there a certain minimum amount of time recommended for well development when using a test pump and straining the well, and is the point of max efficiency easy to distinguish between reaching a recharge boundary?
Q: Borehole clogging is a challenge in many parts of South Africa. Do you think there is a preferable well design to reduce or eliminate clogging? Or do you think monitoring is the best solution?
Q: Within central Africa especially in the highly weathered area, Roscoe moss screens are usually recommended as the best screens but mainly Johnson screens seem to be readily available. any reason for that?
Q: Could the positioning of the pump in the well be used to limit vertical flow losses, and does the length of the screen affect vertical flow losses?

Want to engage further with the Speaker?
Please feel free to contact: Kevin McGillicuddy, P.G. Roscoe Moss Company, Los Angeles, via EMAIL:

Due to popular demand - we do look forward to host Kevin as presenter again in the near future. Thank you for an excellent presentation.


Date: Friday Jun 19, 2020 2:30pm – 3:30pm (SAST)
Time: 2:30pm – 3:30pm (SAST)
Topic: Fate and transport of Microplastics in Groundwater

This CPD event was hosted by the GWD Western Cape Branch, moderated by the Western Cape Branch Chair, Dr Sumaya Israel and supported by UWC student Clinton William Andries.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER Candice is a PhD UWC candidate supervised by Dr Jaco Nel and Dr Sumaya Israel. Candice Lasher-Scheepers (Pr. Sci. Nat, MSc.), a Principal Professional Officer – Geohydrology: Bulk Water Branch; Water and Waste Directorate at the City of Cape Town, did her BSc EWS and BSc Honours (EWS) and Masters at UWC. She is currently registered as a PhD candidate at UWC. 

PRESENTATION ABSTRACT Microplastics are tiny particles (smaller than 5mm) found in the environment. They are synthetic polymers and are either produced in its microform to be utilized in personal care products and detergents or disintegrated from larger plastics or synthetic materials (e.g. recycled polyethylene terephthalate items), respectively known as primary or secondary microplastics. Sources of microplastic pollutants contributing to the environment occur through discharge of treated effluent, storm water runoff, irrigation of grey water produced during laundry, etc. To date, microplastics have been found in the ocean, lakes, estuaries, rivers and recently in groundwater. As a result, this study will focus primarily on the presence of microplastics in groundwater. More specifically, the physical and chemical impacts it has on the Cape Flats Aquifer Scheme and the Atlantis Aquifer Scheme. Both these groundwater schemes are designed to artificially recharge the aquifer with either treated effluent or storm water. As previously mentioned these sources are contributors of microplastics to the environment, if not properly treated. The following research questions will therefore form the basis of this study:

1) What is the spatial distribution of microplastic in the City of Cape Town (groundwater, surface water, source water, processed water?
2) What is the fate and mobility of microplastic in the Cape Flats aquifer and Atlantis Aquifer?
3) Does the presence of microplastic in the aquifer influence the hydraulic properties of the aquifers?
4) Does microplastics change the fate of toxins in the aquifers?
5) How does this impact the Atlantis and Cape Flats Managed Aquifer Recharge Schemes?

A number of laboratory experiments have been designed to address the aforementioned research questions. The spatial distribution of microplastics in the City of Cape Town will however require field sampling. Information obtained from both the fieldwork and lab experiments will be used to determine the possible impacts of microplastics on the City of Cape Town Aquifers and a sampling and monitoring protocol will be developed to assist the City with the management thereof.

REGISTRATIONS/ATTENDEES As this area of interest speaks to a very topical issue worldwide, this event was very well attended. A total number of 148 registrations were received, with 112 total stations in attendance and 74 attendees logging in on the Chat and thus qualifying for CPD attendance.

Presenter Mrs. Candice Lasher-Scheepers during her presentation.

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS The presentation was very informative and covered all the basic knowledge required to enhance ones understanding of plastics in the environment. Topics covered included types and sizes of plastics in the environment.

Figure 1: Plastic materials are classified and named according to their shapes and sizes.

Some of the main aspects of the presentation included these classifications and the implications of the variable sized particles in different parts of the environment. Interestingly, not too many studies on the topic have been found for the groundwater environment.

This talk and study is thus on the edge of scientific advancement and presents a new and interesting field of research.

Ms. Lasher Scheepers also discussed how these plastics are likely to move in rivers. Figure 2 below shows size comparison for plastic debris commonly found in nature.

Figure 2: Size comparison chart for plastic debris commonly found in nature

Ms Lasher-Scheepers kept the audience interested and intrigued with her talk. A great deal of discussion and questions followed on from the talk. Some interesting facts about movement of plastics in soils and water environments showed that ionic strength impacts on the mobility of colloids and hence sorption and movement of plastics.   The fact that plastics are able to react with toxins or other compounds to make them toxic was also very interesting.


Live Session request_View only or CPD option

The GWD hosted Talks during Covid-19. These sessions have been recorded and can be released for View only purposes.

(Candice's live responses to these questions are transcribed and might contain capture errors. We will continue with the quality check and update the post accordingly.)

From  53732952 : DEA is now known as Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF)

From  Melissa Lintnaar-Strauss : Microbeads in Europe is already banned in cosmetics, maybe Candice you can find out from the Dutch how they went about that

Adolf October: Question: Are there any groundwater chemistry signature related/ associated with this contaminant?

CANDICE: You can look at your total suspended solids but remember there are other particles that will be floating around as well that will be picked up when you are measuring TDS, have an influence on the TDS and turbidity. We are currently looking at something and it is a work in progress and we will hopefully present in the near future with results. We are trying to determine if we can pick up a signature using specific parameters.  

John Weaver: Question/ comment: I’m very involved in bottled water industry as Chairman of SANBWA – and the story of microplastic in water has been very much on the forefront in the bottled water industry - the simple reason that the only substance that researchers in microplastics can really look at -  is water. Can’t really look at any other consumables (e.g. hamburgers and coke cola – because you can’t see <it>) So, they are always looking at water. One of the things to be careful of is not to <get too> take the world’s worries on your shoulders because everybody is looking at water – that is just because they can that they do. And of course with the bottled water industry it’s a target of a lot of “attacks”. But moving away from that …One of the positives that I picked up here and it only struck me now, thanks to your talk, is that if your micro plastics is start clogging up your aquifer, then they are going to absorb harmful organic chemicals and retard them and would let them flow through the aquifer much slower than which they would have normally done..Microplastics in groundwater might then not necessarily be such a bad idea? One more comment: The two biggest contributors to micro plastics…..<break up comms> unfortunately. John was invited to type comment & question.  

From  Alanna Rebelo : Question: (apologies if I missed this) will the city do any social research on willingness to change?

CANDICE: Unfortunately not within my study scope. I am sure these questions can be answered approaching a relevant Department/ Branch at the City of Cape Town/ The City. We are a small unit in Bulk Water Branch and looking at this because we are doing MAR (Managed Aquifer Recharge) in the Cape Flats & Atlantis area.  

From  Kes : Question: Have you come across anything about whether the PVC casing used in primary aquifer boreholes could be a concern w.r.t. sampling?
From  Mikyle Cloete : I second Kes Question as well as various equipment at WWTPs
From  Jeanne Gouws : Kes, your question is of particular relevance now, due to the groundwater development in "new" areas, such as at Steenbras in the WC

CANDICE: So, it would definitely be a concern but we are not targeting boreholes with PVC casings.
Re. WWTPs, yes that also – if you looked at equipment used even in your bulkwater you have your HTPE pipes used for your linear infrastructure so you have many contributors – the fact is the objective of this study is not to determine where this is coming from, it is more an issue of what the impact will be and if there is in impact.

From  MajolaK : Question: When do microplastics become a health risk relative to exposure period, after long-term exposure or even short-term exposure could be a problem?
From  Martine Jordaan : @MajolaK, I suspect it is not only the microplastics themselves that are the problem but the fact that many pharmaceuticals can adsorb to them and increase exposure to these.  Comments anyone?
From Henk Coetzee : @MajolaK, @Martine, I'd imagine it's like natural adsorbents. If you remove something from the water column, you end up concentrating them somewhere else.
From  obri : @Martine, agree. the toxicology should vary depending on the composition of the final micro-particle including adsorbed toxicants

CANDICE: Unfortunately not within my study scope. We are not looking at the human risk but only risk to aquifer properties. Apologies! On the pharmaceuticals: On one of the slides I indicated that antibiotics can absorb through the microplastics, whether the antibiotic already had the ability to move in groundwater – yes, if it didn’t and now absorbs through the microplastic, and the microplastic can move through your aquifer then it does have the potential to spread the  contaminant faster or slower.

From  jia haili : Thank you Candice, it's very informative talk. I have a question, since microplastic is a relatively new contamination source in groundwater, can they be simulated using the current available geochemical transport and reactive modelling methods?

CANDICE:  So it depends on how it responds in the aquifer – is there something that responds in a similar manner that has been modelled before and we can use that - we have looked at the colloid transport models and hopefully they respond in a similar manner to these microspheres and we can use that.

From  Angelo Johnson : Question: Is there a way to determine whether micro plastics found in groundwater, if found during sampling, is from PVC or the aquifer itself?

CANDICE: For now we don’t do detection – but there are processes to detect it but the source we don’t know - but suggest if you do detect microplastics in that specific area and it can be from your PVC casing maybe broaden your hydrocensus find another borehole in the area – perhaps an open borehole and do sampling  there as well. But for now detection and sources – are all new – and so we are just taking it a step at a time. And focusing on the impacts. With more research we will be able to answer more of the questions (refere Adolf question too) – using all the information we will need to put everything together. As seen in my presentation - I could only find two papers on micro plastics – and that is it.  There are many questions and this is a start of a new area in research for all of us. Lots of research topics and hopefully many collaborations.

From  Henk Coetzee : Question: Do we have a method for qualitative analysis? I'm interested in looking at microplastics as a tracer in mine water. There has been some work done in the past using microspheres, but the cost becomes prohibitive in large systems.

CANDICE: I can send you some of the methods they use to detect microplastics. I can send you a manual/ guidelines. Depending on water and type of micro-plastics. And there is a processing technique you use. There are limitations to the processes – so you need to select your analysis process carefully.

From  Mzati Kanyerere : Thokozani here: Great study. Keep it up. The choice of sampling sites would of interest to show the epidemiology of the microplastics and human health implications

From  Adolf October : The dye testing is performed in the lab is it quantitative or qualitative. If quantitative, what are you measuring?

From  Regan Rose : What is the role of the unsaturated zone to help precipitate  the microplastics out of solution before they enter the groundwater? Will this process not cause clogging in the unsaturated zone with time? Potential impacts on a MAR system.

CANDICE: So that is the point of the study and we don’t yet know. The experiment done with the irrigation of micro plastic solution on a loamy soil shows that there is a change in water holding capacity and a change in bulk density. For that specific study there was no change in hydraulic conductivity but again that was in a loamy soil and the study is in the Cape Flats and the Atlantis aquifer so different geology and will be using different plastic material and different sizes so the outcome of this study is to determine if it will clog or if it will move.  


The presentation was well attended and receive great reviews from all attendees. Using the zoom platform to do these sessions has opened every event up to be national events.

Ms Candice Lasher Scheepers’ research wishes to address the spatial distribution of microplastic in the City of Cape Town, considering groundwater, surface water, source water, and processed water. Her work will also address the fate and mobility of microplastic in the Cape Flats aquifer and Atlantis Aquifer. Some questions that will be considered for the research include the following: Does the presence of microplastics in the aquifer influence the hydraulic properties of the aquifers? Does microplastics change the fate of toxins in the aquifers? How does this impact the Atlantis and Cape Flats Managed Aquifer Recharge Schemes?

The presentation considered an array of interesting facts about plastics including the types, sizes and reactivity where known. Many interesting case study examples were presented. A very interactive discussion session ensued after the presentation. Questions and responses have been recorded above for your perusal.

There is no doubt that this topic will have follow up presentations as progress is made with research into microplastics in our natural environment, in particular its impact on the unsaturated and saturated zones and potential to form toxins and reduce the hydraulic conductivity in aquifers. The audience left many positive comments regarding the content of the presentation. We will definitely be seeing more of this presenter at the GWD seminars in future!

Please contact the presenter if interested. Call closing mid July 2020.

Join the discussion..

It’s not only the plastics that are the issue but also all the plasticizers that are detectable in the water too. It was an interesting topic. RM


GWD Talk_1: Field work & the focus on geophysics
AT Receiver - Pseudo Science or a method worth investigating
(GWD Northern Branch)

Talk Abstract (300kb PDF)


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Prof Ingrid Dennis invited suggestions and inputs form Northern Members.

TalkDr R DennisEngaging citizen science: Mobile groundwater app31 July [email protected] 14:00(online)


The story of 'SO WHAT?' to oh, 'NOW WHAT?' and the HOW-TO band

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.

National Chairperson: Mr Fanus Fourie
Vice-Chairperson: Ms Nicolette Vermaak
National Treasurer: Mr Yazeed van Wyk
National Secretariat: Dr Jaco Nel
National Coordinator: Ms Elanda Schaffner

Please contact this Committee via [email protected]

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