TEAM BIOS

Dylan Blake

Dylan Blake is an Associate and Principal Geologist at Umvoto Africa, where he has worked since early 2007. He completed his BSc undergraduate and Honours degree studies in Geology and Environmental Science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he specialised in coastal/marine sedimentology, structural geology and applied environmental geology. Dylan received the young male runner-up and special mention for Excellence in Water Research Award for Young Researcher from the Water Institute of Southern Africa in 2010, is a member of the Geological Society of South Africa (including the Groundwater Division) and Water Institute of Southern Africa, and is a registered professional natural scientist (Geological, Earth and Environmental Science Fields of Practice) with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions.

Since joining Umvoto Africa, Dylan has become proficient in groundwater assessments and borehole siting; South African environmental/resource legislation and groundwater use licensing; and drilling/testing programme design, supervision and contract management (which has included drilling up to 650 metre deep wide diameter percussion boreholes and 900 metre deep exploratory core holes into the fractured Table Mountain Group aquifers). He has significant experience in the geology and hydrogeology of the fractured aquifers of the Cape and Karoo Supergroups; basement aquifers of the Malmesbury Group, Cape Granite Suite, and Namaqua-Natal Metamorphic Province; dolomitic karst aquifers of the Malmani Subgroup; and primary sand aquifers along the South African coastline and major river courses, where he has undertaken numerous groundwater assessments and sited high yielding boreholes for farms, industries, hospitals, towns, schools, solar facilities and municipalities in geologically complex regions across the country. 

Some of the large projects he has worked (and continues to work) on include municipal groundwater development in the Hermanus, Stanford and Oudtshoorn areas; the City of Cape Town Table Mountain Group aquifer feasibility study and New Water Programme in the vicinity of Steenbras, Theewaterskloof and Wemmershoek Dams; groundwater exploration for proposed potash mining in the Danakil Depression of northeast Ethiopia; Malmani Subgroup dolomites groundwater feasibility plan within the Olifants River Water Supply System for the national Department of Water and Sanitation; large-scale coastal hazard assessments for the City of Cape Town and Provincial Government of the Western Cape; and emergency groundwater supply for ten hospitals and community health clinics as part of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape Business Continuity Plan. In his spare time Dylan enjoys all things science fiction related, bodyboarding (when he can find warm water), visiting places of geological wonder and geoheritage interest, and attending esoteric heavy music festivals in Europe such as Roadburn.

Kornelius Riemann

Kornelius obtained his MSc in Applied Geology from the University of Kiel, Germany. He joined Umvoto Africa in 2002 as Senior Hydrogeologist after completing his PhD at the University of the Free State, where his research dealt with new approaches and methods for estimating aquifer parameters in fractured rock, based on fractal analysis of test pumping and tracer-test data. He became later the Principal Hydrogeologist and is now Technical Director.

His expertise includes groundwater assessment, development and management; surface water -groundwater interaction; aquifer hydraulics and pumping test analysis; integrated water resource management, and the design and development of monitoring networks.

A highly experienced project manager, Kornelius focuses on integrated water resource planning, development and management at Umvoto, building on his experience conducting work in groundwater assessment studies, water resource evaluations, planning and design of water supply and remediation, hydrochemistry, hydrogeological interpretation, and contamination investigation. 

At Umvoto, Kornelius is responsible for developing and implementing strategies for adaptive groundwater management, improved resource evaluation, sophisticated monitoring of response to abstraction, water quality and ecological impacts, and modelling for sustainable resource management. He is also a specialist in groundwater regulatory protocols.

Kornelius has led several studies with respect to surface water-groundwater interaction, the determination and implementation of the Groundwater Reserve, water resource planning strategies, and the development of monitoring networks. His current focus is on governance aspects to improve the management of groundwater and surface water resources. Kornelius also heads Umvoto’s Quality Management System (QMS) which ensures our products and services are maintained to the highest standard.

Kornelius is widely publicised in papers and publications, which include books and research reports, peer-reviewed journals, conference papers and consulting reports. He has also contributed to academic course material, thesis supervision and examination papers.

Paul Lee

Paul Lee, joined Umvoto in 2012 as the Senior Environmentalist and Climatologist having a Bachelor of Science degree in Climatology and Environmental Science from the University of Cape Town. His working career reflects the dual nature of his academic studies; Paul spent 15 years working in various aspects of mining in the South African diaspora, which included, exploration and prospecting, environmental management of mines and the international sales of mining material, mainly in the Asia where he worked and resided. He subsequently left mining to take up a position in the Antarctic, representing the 50th South African expedition (2011) to overwinter. He served this role in the twin position as Team Leader and Senior Meteorological Officer for the expedition. On his return to Cape Town he employed to assist Umvoto Africa in the set up of a department that subscribes to both practices of environmental and climatological work. 

His accomplishments within the company include overseeing the operational and environmental management of the Overstrand Groundwater Wellfield in Hermanus, which is described as the flagship of conjunctive groundwater and surface water useage in the country with exemplary environmental controls and a sophisticated high-tech approach towards wellfield control. Paul has also assisted mines in Ethiopia with the construction of meteorological recording stations in the Danakil region (adjacent to the Red Sea and 120 meters below sea level), where he was challenged by the hottest climatic conditions on earth, which contrasted with his Antarctic weather recording experiences.

Paul’s passion for adventure has taken him to several of Africa’s highest mountains, he has summited Imja Tse (> 6000m) in the Himalayas adjacent to Mount Everest, sailed the Atlantic and recently returned from an 800 km kayaking epic down the Patagonian fjords. His love of adventure is only exceeded by his enthusiasm for guitar and singing.

Rowena Hay

Rowena Hay founded Umvoto Africa in 1990 and registered the company in 1992. The company undertakes a variety of water resource consultancy work, and plays a key role in the successful exploration, resource estimation and environmentally sustainable implementation of several turnkey groundwater supply schemes in the Western Cape, utilizing deep artesian groundwater from the Table Mountain Group Aquifer.  

Rowena’s main interests and expertise lies in three areas: Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and the relationship between science /community and environmental/social resilience. She has a particular interest in developing high-level policies and strategies in these areas, building on more than 30 years’ experience.  Rowena has contributed to best practice in the implementation of the socially and environmentally far-sighted New Water Act (1998) that governs water resource development and management in South Africa.

Her university training was in geology and sedimentology and she initially worked as a field and engineering geologist.  Employment in the Atomic Energy Corporation, South Africa and the Nagra in Switzerland in high level waste disposal and mining sectors (sediment transport modelling) built up her expertise in hydrogeological and contaminant transport modelling and enabled her to develop groundwater models for improved resource evaluation and risk assessment. This has given her a wide-ranging understanding of surface and groundwater interaction, and the environmental impacts of water usage.  She undertook pioneering work in this field for the Water Availability Assessment Study for the catchment areas of the Western Cape Water Supply Scheme for the City of Cape Town.  She has also led a variety of studies into social and hydrogeological aspects of climate change. 

Her varied background has given her unique insights into environmentally and socially sustainable planning and management of ground and surface water resources, as well as the risks associated with the exploration and utilization of these resources as well as impact of infrastructure and various sector development activities.  It contributed to her playing a major role in formulating the Reconciliation Strategy for the City of Cape Town (RSA). In addition she led the successful development of Reconciliation Strategies for all towns outside the metropolitan areas in the Southern Sub Region of South Africa for the Department of Water Affairs.  She has recently completed a groundbreaking study into capacity building of rural communities for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

Rui Hugman

Rui joined Umvoto as Senior Groundwater Modeller, following on from previous collaboration during his time as a Postdoctoral fellow at the Future Water institute at the University of Cape Town. After obtaining a PhD in Sea, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of the Algarve in Portugal, he moved to Cape Town attracted by the perfect mix of professional challenges and easy access to rock climbing, surfing and other outdoor sports that the region offers. 

Rui has had continuous experience during the last eight years in academic and applied projects involving groundwater flow and transport modelling applied to water resources management and has played key roles in several international modelling projects in Europe, South America and now Africa. He was actively involved in a multinational research project on managed aquifer recharge (MARSOL) during which he led the development of several numerical models to assess recharge schemes in porous and karstic limestone aquifers in Portugal and Malta. During the same period, he was lead modeller on a large modelling project to assess sustainable development for a large volcanic aquifer system in Costa Rica. Since joining Umvoto, he has been involved in supervising and developing project specific groundwater models for the assessment and management of groundwater resources for the City of Cape Town.

Having previously lectured, supervised and examined at postgraduate level, Rui is now involved in developing the companies modelling team by building in-house capacity through mentoring and training of junior staff. He has a track record of publication in international peer reviewed journals, is a reviewer for scientific journals and continues to be involved in the academic community as an active member of several professional societies. Apart from groundwater and modelling specific issues, his research interests extend to transdisciplinary topics such as Geo-ethics and Socio-hydrology.

Tyrel Flügel

Tyrel Flügel joined Umvoto Africa in January 2018 as a geographic information system (GIS) specialist. Tyrel is a geographer with an Honours in Environmental Science (UKZN) and a PhD in Environmental and Geographical Sciences (UCT). For his PhD Tyrel studied the long-term evolution of the Congo-Kalahari Watershed using a combination of biogeography, geology and geomorphology. Prior to joining Umvoto Tyrel lectured for over four years in the South African tertiary education sector, where he taught environmental studies, GIS and applied remote sensing at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. Tyrel is currently a research fellow in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Stellenbosch University, being the GIS and geomorphology lead a multinational and interdisciplinary research project investigating landscape evolution in south-central Africa. Tyrel has undertaken scientific field work in Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia. He has presented at multiple international scientific conferences and published in peer reviewed scientific journals. Being a geographer, Tyrel has a broad scientific interest, and apart from mega-geomorphology he is currently focusing in on social and physical issues around surface- and groundwater and the application of remote sensing to these issues. His non-office bound interests include the outdoors, seeing new places and old travelogues and maps of Africa. Since joining Umvoto Tyrel has worked on the City of Cape Town water resilience projects, having inputs into database management, mapping, environmental monitoring and managed aquifer recharge.