Groundwater remains is an unnoticed resource that does not get implemented according to guidelines and legislated criteria. Projects are left to incorrect interpretation and are reliant on limited skills and inadequate capabilities to implement them. Mark Schapers, a technical director and revered groundwater expert, share his insights.
This limited understanding of groundwater resources and its optimal use remains one of the biggest hurdles to the sustainable implementation of these projects in South Africa.
The dearth of in-depth knowledge compromises their long-term sustainability. Successful projects rely on political endorsement; a technical and scientific approach to their implementation; and the role that they play in the larger socio-economic landscape.
A successful groundwater project transcends merely the yield of a drilled well; it also has far-reaching positive direct and indirect impacts on the beneficiaries and the surrounding communities.
This holistic perspective has always been a signature trait of our groundwater projects.
Right from the outset, JG Afrika’s teams of geo-hydrologists focus on ensuring buy-in from the beneficiaries and surrounding communities.
We always ensure that community members understand the reasoning behind the project, what it takes to operate and maintain such a scheme, and to recognise its many benefits so as to obtain buy-in at grass-roots level.
This is a critical step in the process that seeks to establish a long-term outlook for the project, and endeavours to create optimal use of the groundwater resource after handover.
Importantly, we apply a technical and scientific approach to all of our projects, bringing accountability to the programme.
All of our sites are treated as “business plans”, and a methodical approach is applied throughout. The process starts with thorough desktop studies and detailed planning of activities through to completion of comprehensive feasibility studies for clients.
Only industry-recognised equipment is used in the geophysical-surveying phases to ensure accuracy and to maximise a high success rate of the development of the infrastructure.
This systematic approach is also transferred to all activities on site, ranging from drilling through to yield testing, as well as the equipping of the boreholes. Great care is taken throughout, even to implementing strict measures to avoid contamination of the groundwater resources once they are exposed.
It is only by taking this approach that we will continue to “demystify” this hidden resource and bring a sustainable water supply to the surface.