JG Afrika has witnessed significant growth in demand for groundwater projects from the private sector. This is considering the role that this resource can play in helping achieve water security. Regan Rose, an executive associate and revered geohydrologist, shares his insights.
Professional geo-hydrologists continue to work closely with their discerning clients right from the outset in the early planning stages of these projects.
This approach has ensured a sustainable outcome that is especially mirrored by the successes of large-scale groundwater projects in the public sector.
I have been involved in many of them, including the often-cited groundwater project that produced 40 000 l of water an hour in the extremely dry Beaufort West, Western Cape.
It complements a host of successful projects that JG Afrika has also helped deliver for its clients who insist on working only with known experts in the field who have proven technical and scientific groundwater capability.
Yet, there are still situations where private property owners have bypassed the critical preliminary study stages of these initiatives in an attempt to save costs.
This is a very short-sighted approach that unfortunately continues to lead to very costly mistakes without seeing a drop of water.
It is, therefore, important that I reiterate the critical role that geo-hydrologists play in helping avoid the ‘classic’ mistakes that are still being made by private landowners.
The skills and experience of geo-hydrologists are deployed to find suitable water and these capabilities guide drilling contractors in bringing it to surface.
Contracting firms, on the other hand, provide an expert drilling solution, and they charge for every metre that they drill.
Sound upfront planning will ensure that drilling contractors are not appointed before knowing that there is sufficient water to sustain projects.
It will also provide the client with a better understanding of the expected borehole yield for specific purposes, especially if large scale abstraction is envisaged, such as irrigation.
There have also been instances where contractors and their clients have had little or no understanding of the geological and geo-hydrological conditions prior to commencing drilling operations.
This has led to an inability to challenge rock formations with existing equipment, or over-drilling at an unnecessary additional cost to the client.
Unfortunately, these failures undermine the efforts of credible industry participants who continue to prove that groundwater resources are more than just a supplement to existing surface water infrastructure.
The resource has a larger role to play in strengthening and even alleviating pressure on existing surface water and supply infrastructure. This is considering that groundwater resources are less prone to evaporation than surface water resources. These projects also provide a quicker and more cost-effective means of strengthening the country’s existing water supply.
JG Afrika’s team of go-hydrologists look forward to continuing to work with private sector players in helping them find a sustainable supply of water.