Groundwater Fundamentals

Groundwater Cycle

Groundwater supply project lifecycle


Everything you need to know about drilling a borehole at home

Written by Reuben Lazarus    With the threat of Day zero still looming in parts of South Africa, the question of getting a borehole in your backyard is still on the mind of many concerned citizen wanting to secure their water supply. Whether this is for drinking water, filling up swimming pools or garden irrigation, […]


Bore hole water shooting up

The comprehensive checklist for drilling a borehole

Written by Dale Barrow  Drilling and having a borehole is an asset that should last you at least 10 to 15 years at very little ongoing cost, provided you do everything correctly at the start! If you don’t, it can become a very expensive and time-consuming liability with continual repair or replacement of pumps. The […]


Drill Rig

Borehole Yield Testing

How to correctly follow a borehole yield test? The South African National Standard for the test pumping of water boreholes (SANS 10299-4:2003) clearly prescribes how the borehole yield testing is to be carried out. Remember the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) will only authorise groundwater use if the correct (above) method of borehole yield […]


Driller’s Airlift Yield- dam and V-notch

The Dos and Don’ts of Testing Borehole Yields

Written by Kes Murray   Many boreholes get over-pumped, leading to pump failure/burnout, borehole clogging, impacts on other groundwater users and spring flows, and even land subsidence. While this is usually only discussed when a neighbouring land owner drills new boreholes or when large infrastructure investments are lost due to yield drops after 2 months […]


Collecting water samples with the GEOSS team

Understanding groundwater in South Africa

Groundwater, aquifers and boreholes This article first appeared in Fresh Quarterly. The Water and irrigation issue 16: 2020 – 03. Written by Anna Mouton What do half the people and half the crops on earth have in common? Their survival depends on groundwater.     Only about 2.5% of all water on earth is fresh. […]



Borehole water: How to get a South African Water Use License (WULA)

Usually, the preparations made for groundwater exploration, drilling, and testing the yield and quality of boreholes culminates in the registration or authorisation of the use of new groundwater. While Section 21 of the National Water Act No. 36 of 1998 guides the groundwater user in terms of the authorization process, there are various aspects that should be taken into consideration.


Groundwater – general guidelines towards monitoring and management (funded by Potatoes South Africa)

The intention is to provide a broad overview of groundwater resources in terms of how it occurs (its distribution across South Africa)
as well as an overview of the complete “life cycle” of groundwater development projects (starting with drilling and on through yield testing; monitoring and all the way to the authorization of the use of groundwater).


Interesting Groundwater Topics

Groundwater Webinar


Construction of the Kharkams Sand Bed Filter

What is Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) and How Does it Work?

By Kes Murray Understanding Groundwater recharging Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR), sometimes referred to as Artificial Recharge, is the process by which a water source is intentionally injected or infiltrated into an aquifer. There are a wide variety of reasons for doing this, as well as a range of methods and technologies that are used to […]



A recap of the International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge

By Kes Murray Attending the 11th International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge (ISMAR 11) in California, USA, 2022: A Hydro geologists perspective  In April 2022, I had the pleasure of making the trip over to the United States of America to attend and present at ISMAR 11 in Long Beach, California. The International Symposium on […]


Know your borehole: A hydrogeologist’s perspective

Recognition of groundwater’s contribution to water supply, including garden irrigation, crop irrigation, stock watering, potable and town supply, is ever increasing. This is driven by inconsistent rainfall patterns, climate change and an increase in water demand. With drill rigs of all shapes and sizes running around between drill sites, it is appropriate that we spend some time outlining some important aspects regarding a successful borehole – it goes beyond just selecting the correct drill site!


Sustainable Groundwater Use

South Africa (SA) is a water scarce country that is characterised by extreme climatic conditions and evaporation rates that often exceed precipitation. The country is projected to have a 17% water supply deficit by 2030 (DWS, 2019). This can be mitigated by increasing water efficiency and diversifying water sources. By 2040, alternative sources such as […]


The importance of borehole construction and well efficiency

My research on borehole drilling, good borehole construction and well efficiency After attending the 2020 workshop “Groundwater: Setting the standards – Borehole Drilling; Pumping Tests and Monitoring”, hosted by The International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) South Africa held November 2020 – I started my own research on borehole well efficiency and clogging. This was as […]


South African Groundwater legislation and requirement paperwork

The National Water act: Why the motivation for a Water Use License is so important

Understanding the National Water Act: Section 27 In this article, we are going to explain the process of getting a Water Use Licence (WULA) in accordance with the National Water Act and why section 27 (motivation) is important. Once a borehole has been sited and drilled, yield and quality testing been completed and the WULA […]


Holistic Earth Science Solutions: The Value of a Multidisciplinary Approach

Written by Shane Teek – GEOSS South Africa (Pty) Ltd (14 December 2022) There are many fields of Earth Science, and many of these fields overlap with engineering problems. Examples of such scenarios include the geotechnical design of structures, the development of groundwater supply, or the characterisation of contaminants and the development of a remedial […]


Water Use Licence Applications: Why Public Participation Is So Important

Water resource governance in South Africa   All water uses according to the National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998) need to be authorised and this is enforced by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS). The National Water Act is a legislative document that has become the bedrock of the nation’s approach to water […]


What is a water level logger and what is it used for?

Written by Lincoln Jordan We break down the different parts of water level loggers and what they are used for as well as tips and tricks to read water level loggers. Sensors: What is a sensor A sensor is a device or element designed to detect and measure various physical properties, responding to changes by […]


Potential structural risks posed by borehole drilling

The risks of borehole drilling to nearby structures Can drilling a borehole crack my house? Groundwater drilling is a critical process for accessing subterranean water reserves and involves various techniques tailored to geological conditions and the type of borehole required.   Common methods for borehole drilling include: (1) cable tool drilling, which is one of […]


Case Studies

Heldervue – Clearing their “vue” to ensure sustainable water resource management 

Written by Marige Carstens (GEOSS South Africa (Pty) Ltd)  “There is a real and urgent need to deal with water losses due to invasive alien trees in our catchments in a consistent and long-term manner.” – Richard Bugan,  Hydrogeologist for The Nature Conservancy in South Africa.  A case study on the effect of Alien Clearing […]


The Malmesbury Group – an aquifer of surprising significance

The Malmesbury Group has often been overlooked as a useable source of groundwater. This is due to its previously generalised low yields and relatively higher salinities of groundwater found in these weathered to fresh sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks.


Sustaining Groundwater Resources in a Unique Region of South Africa

Just 200 km north of Cape Town, South Africa, you’ll find a unique area that boasts a wide range of landscapes – from rugged mountains to lush river valleys.


Contaminated Land: The unsettling legacy of human activity and industrialisation

The land we live, work and walk on is the only one we have and therefore contamination from human activity and industrialisation is a real issue strongly linked to our common past, present and future. It is important to remember that contamination is something that has occurred in the past, is occurring in the present and it will occur in the future. It is therefore crucial that these concerns are addressed.


Plume of contaminated water caused by PG&E

Contaminated groundwater: Real-life horror stories

Previously we have written about groundwater impact assessments contaminated land and discussed how humans have created contamination that occurs in the past, present and future. Read the article here Movies that depict famous groundwater contamination cases In this article, we will delve a bit deeper into water contamination that has occurred in the past. Due […]


Merweville - a town in the Karoo

Merweville: a drought-stricken Karoo Town – that turned its water supply battles around

Written by: Julian Conrad A question many people ask is where do small towns get their water supply from? Today we will answer that question through the case study of one of our latest projects, a town that battled drought for many years. Merweville is a special and charming little town (see Figure 1) located […]


man sits in burst dam water

The Jagersfontein dam disaster: Why environmental regulation is crucial

Written by Shane Teek & Dr Charles MacRobert     A tailings storage facility (TSF) at Jagersfontein failed between approximately 6 AM on Sunday 11 September 2022 causing an environmental catastrophe that is still unfolding. The dam burst, flooding the town and causing families to lose their homes, numerous hospitalisations and significant loss of life. Images […]


Client Testimonial

Hello Dale,
The Borehole at Bridgewater is looking promising. A note to Thank You for your Support and to compliment your on site team of three who are very professional and really know their task.

— David Pepperell – Faircare Trust – Heritage Manor

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