Busy year for NWU’s Centre for Water Sciences and Management

Belinda Bantham -- Thu, 06/14/2018 - 13:03

Busy year for NWU’s Centre for Water Sciences and Management

The North-West University’s (NWU’s) Centre for Water Sciences and Management is built on the pillars of research, education and social responsibility. As a multi-disciplinary approach is adopted to assist both industry and government in addressing many of the water related problems facing South Africa, the centre is at the forefront of research and training as it pertains to the development and management of water resources.

The centre has been in the fortunate position of receiving funding from the Water Research Commission (WRC) since 2014, and currently boast four active WRC projects, namely:

  • the hydrogeology of groundwater,
  • updating current strategies for estimating a source term for a tailing storage facility,
  • the development of a mobile application for hydrocensus and groundwater monitoring and,
  • geo-statistical analysis and sub-delineation of all Vegter Regions.

Just recently the centre also co-hosted the WRC 101 workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to assist new project leaders with the process of research proposal submission and related funding and project management issues.


Some of the attendees during the WRC 101 workshop.

Other projects

A R1 million contract with the international mining company, South32, will see the centre conducting research at an abandoned coal mine – Estancia, in Mpumalanga.

From 11-15 June 2018 a group of honours students from the University of Stellenbosch, the University of the Western Cape, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Pretoria will visit the NWU’s campus in Potchefstroom for the first-ever joint Groundwater Winter School. During this time the students and lecturers will be helping a local school for girls with their ever increasing surplus of groundwater.

Negotiations are underway between the Centre and DMT Germany, a global consortium, in particular with Dr Michael Eckart and Dr Christoph Klinger, with the focus on numerical and hydro-chemical modelling. Although the negotiations are still in the early stages, the centre hopes to host an affiliate company at the NWU.

The centre is also busy with the procurement of a borehole pump-test rig which is designed according to the centre’s specifications. This piece of equipment is critical in calculating the sustainable yield of boreholes. The equipment will further be used to train students as well as for water supply projects in the community.

New research focus area

In another exciting development, the recent procurement of isotope analysers for the centre’s laboratory will see the development of a new research focus area. A postdoctoral fellow, Dr Naziha Mokadem from Tunisia, has extensive experience in the field of isotopes and will be starting-up this research are within the Centre for Water Sciences and Management