GWC2019: Water Demand versus Water Availability and Use – The Key Challenge

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Message from the Conference Chair

Mr Gert Nel

The Ground Water Division was established in 1978 as a division of the Geological Society of South Africa with the objective of advancing the science and technology of groundwater.  Our biennial groundwater conference has been pivotal in sharing knowledge about groundwater in South Africa, with this being our 16th three-day event.  Our conferences have always centered around the science of groundwater, new technologies, networking and meeting people who are passionate about groundwater, but this year we also want to focus on Water Use and Conservation, with the emphasis on groundwater.

The recent drought in various parts of the country have highlighted the vulnerability of surface water sources, particularly if the anticipated seasonal rainfall is less than expected. But, the drought has also accelerated the demand for drilling for groundwater for private and business use. Companies have woken up to the realisation that a constant water supply is not guaranteed, no matter what legal contracts are in place with the water services provider. Business is being forced to bring water surety into their business models and this includes groundwater as a possible supply. Private drilling and private use of groundwater has become difficult to manage and this puts greater pressure on groundwater aquifers, both in terms of water quality and quantity. We simply have to get all groundwater users, planners, authorities and businesses to talk about this precious water resource, which we all share. We simply have to connect the science behind groundwater with the understanding, needs and expectations of the general groundwater user, be it a municipality, a business, a farmer or a residential property owner. Future developments, or higher levels of services, will have to adapt to the availability of water, not the other way around. South Africa has very limited freshwater resources and it is time to accept this fact and talk seriously about the management and protection of fresh water, including groundwater.

This conference is therefore an ideal opportunity for all sectors dependent on water, to come and learn, or share their experience, about groundwater as a sustainable source, if managed correctly. South Africa is currently building towards its future and access to fresh water (and the management thereof) is a vital step in this process. Your sponsorship is an investment in the most precious commodity which every human being requires daily, namely WATER. Your sponsorship shows a commitment to ensuring South Africa has a long term, sustainable water resource. The World Economic Forum Global Risks Reports 2009-2019 lists Water Crises as the fourth biggest concern for 2019. This, along with the recent focus on “day zero” for Cape Town, highlights that now is the time for action so we can avoid more situations like this in future. We will also be addressing the conservation and efficient use of water / groundwater, which opens many opportunities for companies to showcase their technology on water efficiency and water management, from large-scale groundwater well-fields, through to household level use. We have a range of sponsorship opportunities, from the main conference sponsor to a small display.  However, if you have any alternative sponsorship proposals, we would gladly like to engage with you further.

With your support, we are confident that this conference will be a huge success and the start of an awareness drive with a better understanding of groundwater. This will ensure a level of availability and sustainability in line with the ever growing demand.

We look forward to hearing from you and meeting up with you at the conference.

Gert Nel
Conference Chair:  GWD2019
GWD Eastern Cape Branch Chair

About the venue: Boardwalk ICC, Port Elizabeth
South Africa’s friendliest city is a city on the sea with little to no traffic, great undercover restaurants, fresh sea air and easy access to incredible wildlife. Port Elizabeth's Boardwalk International Convention Centre (ICC) is 10 minutes from the airport, on the beachfront Golden Mile, and have multi-functional space, a perfect fit for this Conference and Exhibition.

Looking forward to your participation!

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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