The 2020 recon: highs and lows and looking ahead

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.

Review: 2020 Highlights

11 x Zoom sessions. Interesting intersecting topics hosted by the different GWD Branches: Western Cape, North West, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Central (Bloemfontein).

  • Event debrief 6November2020: Natural attenuation of acid mine drainage by various rocks in a typical Karoo coalfield: case study of the Witbank, Ermelo and Highveld coalfields, South Africa, Dr Emmanuel Sakala (GWD GAU)
  • Event debrief 29October2020: GAKZN Q3 webinar & UKZN: Presenting on Groundwater Research (GWD KZN)
  • Event Debrief 02Oct2020: Building a puzzle - Developing a groundwater conceptual model (GWD Central)
  • Event Debrief 11Sept2020: Selection of small water treatment systems for potable water supply to small communities (GWD Eastern Cape)
  • Event Debrief 27Aug2020: Impacts of Climate Change on Groundwater: current state of research (GWD Gauteng)
  • Event Debrief 14Aug2020: Case Study-Assessment of the impacts of climate variability on total water storage (GWD Gauteng)
  • Event Debrief 30Jun2020: Principles of Efficient Gravel Envelope Well Design and Operation (GWD KZN/ GAKZN)
  • Event Debrief 31July2020: Groundwater Mobile App Development To Engage Citizen Science (GWD Northern)
  • Event Debrief 23July2020: Groundwater, Boreholes and Water Use Lisences (GWD, IAH-SA)
  • Event Debrief 19June2020: Fate and transport of Microplastics in Groundwater (GWD Western Cape)
  • Event Debrief 29May2020: Talk on Geophysical method using AT Receiver (GWD Northern Branch)

Valuable Liaisons 2020

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

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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.

OUR STORIES.

Editor in Chief: Fanus Fourie

We are starting up a new feature on our website called ‘Our Stories’. We want to give a platform for our members to share their 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 research 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 details 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.

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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