Message from the Chair
The Ground Water Division was established in 1978 as a division of the Geological Society of South Africa with the objective of advancing the science and technology of groundwater. Our biennial groundwater conference has been central in sharing knowledge about groundwater in South Africa, with this being our 15th three day event. However, our conferences are never just about the science of groundwater. They are about putting ourselves up for peer review, they are about networking and they are about renewing friendships. Importantly, they provide a platform to pull young hydrogeologists into our community, refreshing the exchange of ideas amongst us. My organising committee and I are proud to stand on the shoulders of countless volunteers who organised previous groundwater conferences; and intend to ensure GWD2017 continues the tradition of advancing the science and technology of groundwater while building friendships.
Planning for the conference is proceeding well and we are sure that we have catered for a wide range of hydrogeological interests. We have secured four top international speakers to present keynote lectures. They will be supported by other local presenters who will address key issues germane to the Southern African situation. Almost 200 abstracts have been submitted by academics, researchers, consultants and state officials in support of the conference theme of Change, Challenge, Opportunity. The conference organising committee is now in the process of reviewing submissions and developing an exciting conference programme that will keep our conference delegates busy and interested for the entire three days.
Incorporated into the conference programme are mid-conference tours, with options of visiting the Atlantis Aquifer and the artificial recharge scheme, the groundwater-fed Newlands Brewery or the Franschhoek bottled water plant and nearby Berg River Dam being on offer. A pre-conference workshop is also planned during which Nicolette Vermaak and Immo Blecher will address sourcing of data from the National Groundwater Archive and the use of opensource GIS software. The social component of the conference is just as important, and we a planning a street party on the Monday night and a burger and wine blending evening on Tuesday, both of which will be influenced by local culture and hosted at the historic Spier Wine Estate conference venue. In addition to offering a relaxed atmosphere in which to confer, the venue will give our visitors a true feel of the Cape. With your support, this conference can only be good.
We are very grateful for the support received from our sponsors and exhibitors. While much of our focus is on the exchange of knowledge and networking, this support allows us to take care of the business end of things.
I look forward to welcoming you to GWD2017 in mid-October 2017. Register now to benefit from the early bird discounts.
Dr Roger Parsons
CONFERENCE BAGS – MONEY TOWARDS A WORTHY CAUSE
GWD2017 will not be providing conference bags to delegates this year. Instead we have requested one of our sponsors, Umvoto Africa (Pty) Ltd to use the conference bag sponsorship money to support a worthy cause.
They have selected to support Simni Crèche, in Kayamandi informal settlement in Stellenbosch. The crèche consists of two class rooms, one for approximately 20 children of kindergarten age and one for same number of pre-primary age children. There are currently no toilet facilities and all children use buckets, with some older kids get accompanied to the ablution blocks.
To solve their need for water and sanitation, a bathroom facility needs to be built. This facility will include toilets with dry sanitation and wash basins. The facility will be built in an ‘open area’ at the back of the house. Municipal water is available close-by and can be piped in, however, municipal sewerage connection is unlikely. The construction and installation will be documented by Umvoto and presented at the GWD2017 opening ceremony.