Congratulations to the WRC on an excellent Symposium

Congratulations to the WRC on an excellent Symposium

06 Oct 2021
Home News Congratulations to the WRC on an excellent Symposium
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The Groundwater Session @ 5th WRC Symposium

The Groundwater Session that took place on Monday 20 September 2021, with Chair Yazeed van Wyk and speakers such as Dr Shafick Adams, Prof Matthys Dippenaar, Dr Kevin Pietersen, Dr Sumaya Israel, Mr Fanus Fourie, Mr Kes Murray and Dr Ricky Murray are 'Legend' now and for those that missed out we can just appeal to the WRC Team to make the recordings available. We will keep you updated GWD Members!


Following a period of serious water shortages in South Africa in the early 1970s and poorly funded research institutes providing national leadership, the WRC was established to generate knowledge and promote the country’s water research needs. More importantly, it leveraged from research and development tools to make South Africa more competitive from a water security perspective. The diversification of the country’s water supply mix from traditional surface water resources and rural groundwater supply schemes remains a key strategy for implementation through innovative solutions. Coupled with demand-side solutions from this and other business divisions it is possible to significantly improve the country’’s water security vulnerabilities at all scales. The WRC’s core process is not only to fund research but to create new knowledge, as well as to share, disseminate and transfer that knowledge for innovation and impact. This should be seen as a way of curbing the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. The WRC this year is celebrating 50 years of funding and undertaking ground-breaking groundwater research. During the existence of the WRC, the legal status of groundwater has changed from being defined as “private water” to representing a significant national resource and being incorporated into Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in terms of the National Water Act in 1998. The assumption 50 years ago was that the yield of South Africa’s groundwater resources would not be sufficient to contribute significantly to the water requirements of the country. At that stage the potential yield of groundwater was unknown, however, while the estimated groundwater use was 113 x 106m3a -1 . Research in the 1970s focussed on issues of safe yield and delineation of aquifer systems in Groundwater Control Areas, groundwater dependant towns and dolomitic aquifers. Managed aquifer recharge studies were also initiated during this time. In the 1980s and 1990s research on groundwater occurrence in fractured rock aquifers began focussing on mapping groundwater resources throughout South Africa and identifying the groundwater regions. The research community started concentrating on matters related to groundwater contamination and quality, as well as groundwater/surface-water interactions and groundwater dependent ecosystems. Research in the late 1990s and early 2000s increased in scope, interdisciplinarity and complexity, considering meeting basic human needs as well as human-induced changes in hydrogeologic fluxes and stores. Today the focus is on capitalising on 4IR tools and applications to better use and make predictions about future groundwater use. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Water Research Commission, we hope you will offer your thoughts on what you think is the most pressing challenges facing Groundwater Hydrology and how your research can cause a paradigm shift in our thinking to effectively translate science into policy for effective decision making.

Then we will also report back soon in more detail on the WRC Knowledge Tree Awards. But certain GWD Members (Past National and Current Branch Chairs even ) and much respected and adored colleagues made the top podium.!

Congratulations to Dr Kevin Pietersen and Dr Sumaya Israel - Recipients of the WRC Knowledge Tree Awards.
Well deserved. Will be delighted and honored to  post more detail soon. Keep your eye on the GWD Website and Social Media pages.
Be sure to catch both of these prizewinners at the upcoming Groundwater Conference:
We would love to join in the celebration of excellence too!