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Letter from our Managing Director

After pulling together and showing resilience during the lockdown in 2020, Umvoto were tested yet again in 2021 with the loss of our founder and MD Rowena Hay and former Technical Director Dr Chris Hartnady (Read our tributes to Rowena Hay and Chris Hartnady). Their loss not only left a huge gap in Umvoto but also in the broader groundwater and geological communities. As with 2020, the Umvoto team pulled together, stronger than ever to tackle and overcome any obstacle thrown in its way. Through Rowena’s foresight in training senior staff over a 2-year period to run the company and the support of the entire Umvoto team, we were able to maintain operations and keep the doors open (Groundwater management and the community, IMIESA December 2021). Umvoto now moves into a new future with a dynamic leadership team that aims to not only maintain operations in 2022 but to continue Umvoto’s legacy, scientific rigor, and expansion into new and exciting business sectors.

Umvoto’s marketing through social media and an upgraded website has seen increased interest thanks to the efforts of our younger scientists (Explore our updated website, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram).

Umvoto continued its work with local municipalities in 2021, including Overstrand Municipality, City of Cape Town and Oudtshoorn Municipality, with the addition of new projects such as the groundwater modelling for Windhoek, various contamination and hydrological assessments and the traditional groundwater assessments for private users, farmers and developers (Read about further updates on our projects below). International work continued behind the scenes with collaboration in the UNEP World Water Quality Alliance and support for the UN Global Compact.

In summary, through weathering the storm of 2021, we all grew personally and as a team which embodies Umvoto.

We wish you all a safe and happy festive season and look forward to what 2022 offers.

Best Regards,

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Managing Director

Umvoto Africa

Staff News


Once again, our team has had a gruelling year of endless reporting and extensive monitoring, however, in true Umvoto fashion, we have always managed to find ways to balance this with some light-hearted fun. This year we have had some (socially distant) braais, a competitive sports day and an uncharacteristically difficult quiz that saw Eddie Wise, Kobus Prinsloo, Kristian Gerstner and Masonwabe Kwata come out on top.

Changes To Our Team

Earlier in the year, Umvoto also grew its team by taking on three new interns (Kirsty Gibson, Rebecca Stephenson, Denim Southgate; follow the links to read more about these staff members) and one junior water and environmental scientist (Fahad Aziz). Denim Southgate has since left the team to pursue his interests in the remediation of contaminated land but was an asset to our monitoring team while he was at Umvoto. Fahad Aziz has settled into the water quality team and has worked hard with the data team to integrate HydroGeo Analyst into our new workflow, while also working as a collaborator for The Umvoto Foundation (TUF) on the various Khayelitsha projects. Rebecca Stephenson has tirelessly worked with Fahad to ensure TUF’s Khayelitsha transformative arts initiatives move steadily forward. Kirsty Gibson started as an intern but has now transitioned into a permanent role as a junior hydrogeologist, and has no doubt made herself integral to the company. Among her numerous responsibilities, Kirsty has taken over our Groundwater Protection Zone (GPZ) research initiatives and continues to make use of her coding skills that she developed during her MSc research.

Several other staff members were promoted towards the end of 2021: Umvoto recognises the hard work that all of our team contribute, but would like to congratulate Gemma Bluff on her promotion from Junior Climatologist to Climatologist as well as Sasha Dean Singh and Zandri Rademan from Junior Geologist to Geologist. Follow the link to read more about these promotions.

Unfortunately, Kristian Gerstner, Sabine Henry and Andrew Gemmell left our team to pursue alternative professional goals. We wish you all the best on your new endeavours.

Umvoto Football Team

The Umvoto five a side football team, who plays at the Fives Futbol Grand Central CBD venue, had another enjoyable and successful year, winning Seasons 2 (July) and 3 (October) of Monday Division 1. The victorious team was comprised of Dylan Blake, Kevin de Bruin, Abulele Aphendule and Sasha Dean Singh from Umvoto, and local external players Keegan van Wyk, Jodie Daniels, Joshua Adonis, Brent Weitz, Darron Omaticus and Antonilson de Carvalho. For Season 4 it was decided to temporarily move the team to Thursday Division 3 and only have Umvoto staff play, to allow for some additional staff members to gain some experience in playing five a side football.

Marketing Initiatives

Umvoto has transitioned into the social media age and transformed their online marketing strategy. Lechelle Goslin and Rebecca Stephenson have started to develop science communication and marketing initiatives within the company. Although most of the scientists have been resistant to changing gears from technical writing, we are pleased that our team has taken on this new challenge. Rowena Hay had spearheaded this initiative and encouraged our scientists to dip our toes in content creation. Through this, Lechelle attended a couple of Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry webinars on marketing and search engine optimisation.

HIGHLIGHTS

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Our Managing Director, Dr Kornelius Riemann has been voted into the Geological Society of South Africa (GSSA) Groundwater Division’s (GWD) Executive Committee as the chairperson for the Western Cape Branch. Read more…

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Our directors were featured in the IMIESA March 2021 in the feature of “Who’s who in Water: Seeing the Big Picture” and discussed Umvoto’s strategy to groundwater abstraction and management. View the online IMIESA publication or download our article excerpt here:

imiesa december 2021 cover

Umvoto made the cover of IMIESA’s December 2021 issue where they announced the new directorship and how we plan on preserving Rowena Hay’s legacy through The Umvoto Foundation (TUF). Read the full article in IMIESA here on page 10 and 11 or download our article directly here:

TRAVEL

Several of our staff have had the opportunity to travel this year. After the global pandemic limiting travel in the past two years, it is a welcome retreat for us to explore again:

  • Kevin de Bruin ventured to the Northern Cape to visit the many geological wonders that the vast landscape offers. Read more…
  • Paul Lee paddled the Orange River and marvelled the landscapes that the river has forged through time. Read more…

IN THE MEDIA

Zandri Rademan chatted to FunDza Work Wise about what it takes to become a geohydrologist so teens and young adults can better prepare themselves. Read the full article to find out more.


Zandri Rademan, Kevin De Bruin and Sasha Dean Singh contributed to the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) 50th Congress conference promotional video that will take place in Cape Town from the 18th to the 24th September, 2023. The video debuted at the GWD bi-annual conference this year where they announced the theme of the international conference; “Groundwater: A Matter of Scale.” Follow us on social media to watch the video when it is released by IAH South Africa on the IAH 2023 website.


Internal Development and Contributions

WEBINARS AND CONFERENCES

Despite continued COVID-19 regulations and the uncertainties surrounding the global pandemic, Umvoto has managed to maintain active in the business and scientific communities by contributing to and attending numerous discussions, webinars, courses and conferences. These include:

  • Kevin de Bruin, our aspiring test-pumping and aquifer parameter analysis expert, attended the Midwest Geosciences Group webinar titled “Packer Testing: Step-wise Techniques and New Technologies for Hydrogeologic Projects” in early March.
  • Kevin also attended a six week (July-August) online course on construction dewatering provided by The Dewatering Institute (TDI) and Griffin. These covered topics of hydrogeology and dewatering theory, dewatering techniques, field testing methodologies, water treatment and pump design and selections.
  • Luke Towers, in association with TDI’s Training Webinar series, provided a training session on “Monitoring to Manage Groundwater Resources” on the 24th of March.
  • Our directors Kornelius Riemann, Dylan Blake, David McGibbon and Luke Towers, presented on the “The State of Groundwater in the Western Cape and its Impact on Agribusiness” which was hosted by the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the 22nd of June.
  • Dylan Blake presented online on the “Groundwater Exploration and Development of the Table Mountain Group Aquifers (TMGA) as part of the City of Cape Town’s (CCT) New Water Programme (NWP)” to both the GSSA Western Cape Branch meeting on the 7th July 2021 and the Overberg Geoscientists Group meeting on the 12th August 2021.
  • The University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment invited Luke Towers and David McGibbon to provide insights on various groundwater related topics during an online Continuing Professional Development course on the 23rd-27th of August.
  • The United Nations (UN) Global Compact Network of South Africa invited David McGibbon to relay some of the Disaster Risk Reduction strategies that we employed through the global COVID-19 pandemic during an online Compact Dialogues Session on the 22nd of October.
  • The Umvoto environmental section (Paul Lee, Gemma Bluff, Damian Hans and Lionnel Ndeba) participated in the IAIAsa (International Association for Impact Assessment South Africa) 2021 Annual Conference in August, presenting on the topic of “re-thinking Integrated Environmental Management (IEM) in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)”.
  • Several staff had the opportunity to attend and present at the 17th annual GWD conference from the 17th to the 20th of October. Kevin de Bruin, Kirsty Gibson, Lechelle Goslin and Sasha Dean Singh presented abstracts that showcased some of the groundwater work and research we have been undertaking for the CCT’s NWP, framed by the conference theme of “Groundwater: Resilience and Visibility.” The group was also fortunate enough to attend a “satellite” conference dinner in Cape Town and had an opportunity to network with the local groundwater community.
  • The 4th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Groundwater conference was held 10th-12th November. As an incentive to various partners and stakeholders, the SADC Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI) announced that they would give free access to the conference. Many of the Umvoto staff attended the online conference, which brought together many African representatives and offered many talks showcasing research on large scale groundwater management issues in Southern Africa. Some of the highlights offered thoughts on large scale transboundary aquifers and Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) schemes, and rethinking the approaches to groundwater management in rural areas, all tying into the conference theme “Towards a Water Resilient SADC – Groundwater Systems Thinking”.
  • The Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) invited Umvoto to do a presentation on MAR for WISA’s Western Cape Branch. Our directors Kornelius Riemann, Luke Towers and David McGibbon provided an overview of concepts related to MAR, and then presented two differing MAR case studies that Umvoto are currently involved with as part of the CCT NWP, namely the Cape Flats Aquifer Management Scheme and Atlantis Water Resource Management Scheme.

Professional Partnerships

Umvoto is also pleased to announce its affiliation and new memberships with The Dewatering Institute (TDI) and Network for Industrially Contaminated Land in Africa (NICOLA).

The NICOLA network provides an active and accessible forum that allows for the integration and co-operation between various disciplines spanning industry, mining, service provision, academia, and regulatory bodies, all the while connecting them with the fields of contaminant hydrogeology, geochemistry and waste management. This is achieved by the forum’s focal themes of knowledge sharing, networking, and inspiring scientific best practice. Read more about our NICOLA involvement here.

TDI was founded as a way to bring industry stakeholders together and a provide platform that showcases best practice in the dewatering (and associated groundwater) industry. As industry leaders and innovative trend-setters in South Africa’s hydrogeological industry, Umvoto is pleased to be associated with, leverage and contribute to this network of industry specialists.

Umvoto is pleased to announce that we are Winners of The Dewatering Institute Awards 2021 in the category of Well/s Drilling Project of the Year and finalists for our submission in the Sustainability Excellence Company of the Year category.

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STRIVING TOWARDS THE SDGs

In June, Umvoto upgraded their engagement with the UN’s Global Compact from Signatories to Participants. This allowed Umvoto to participate in the UNs Global Compact SDG Ambition Accelerator programme. Rowena Hay was invited to partake in the annual UNs Global Compact virtual Leaders’ Summit in June, although she unfortunately could not attend due to her COVID infection.

Gemma Bluff, together with Paul Lee and Lechelle Goslin, are now participating in the second round of SDG Ambition Accelerator in order to further align Umvoto to the SDGs. Umvoto already aligns to the SDGs in the work that we do – groundwater, climate change adaption, and wetland conservation, to name a few. The team is looking at how Umvoto can further develop its work to achieve the benchmark: “Net-positive water impact in water-stressed basins” – refined as net-positive water impact in water-stressed regions, for example Cape Town. The goal of this benchmark is to ensure all large scale water users (industry, municipality, agriculture) utilise groundwater and MAR as part of their resource management (i.e. conjunctive water use), where regionally and environmentally applicable.

Read about more of our SDG initiatives here:

Spotlight On Database Initiatives

Umvoto has invested in the development of our database management systems, improving our data curation abilities for our clients. This enhancement of dataflows requires reflection on, and realignment of, our pre-existing data handling strategies. To do so, we rolled out changes to increase efficiencies in processing, accessing and managing our (and our client’s) data management needs. Read more about our on-going progress and data vision here:

The geospatial team continues their drive for cost effectiveness and efficiency by going open source. Mapping and analysis are done using QGIS and performance is enhanced using PostGIS database. PostGIS not only speeds up processing time but also is great in managing many datasets. Furthermore, GeoNode a geospatial content management system came online with the assistance of Kartoza for managing and publishing geospatial data. Umvoto now also has a web map server, for building and deploying web map applications. GeoNode and the web map server will be fine-tuned in the new year and be ready for quick map outputs and easy data access.

The Google Earth Engine (GEE) cloud computing platform has also proven most effective in dealing with remote sensing challenges and gathering insights from large amounts of satellite imagery. The question no longer is “how to?”, but rather “where to?” Read about this process here.

Academic Milestones

This year Kirsty Gibson and Andrew Mkali received their Master of Science (MSc) qualifications in Geohydrology and Environmental Science, respectively. Kirsty graduated in April from the University of the Free State where her research focused on the application of Machine Learning for groundwater level prediction in the Steenkoppies compartment of the Gauteng and North West Dolomite Aquifer, South Africa. She also presented on this research at this year’s GWD conference and applied the techniques of Artificial Neural Networks, that she explored during her MSc, to the Atlantis Water Resources Management Scheme (AWRMS). Read more about her Machine Learning Applications here.

Andrew Mkali presented a dissertation entitled “Developing a hydrogeological conceptual model for subterranean groundwater control areas using remote sensing techniques” and graduated at the University of the Western Cape’s Environmental and Water Science unit. Follow the link to read more about Andrew’s research.

The Umvoto Foundation


Although various social hydrogeology projects had been undertaken by Umvoto in prior years (e.g. the Hoerikwaggo Critical Zone Observatory), TUF was officially established in December 2020, and announced in May, by founders Rowena Hay, Dylan Blake and Paula Hay. TUF is a non-profit company (NPC) who aims to support the development of community capacity by means of achieving clean ecosystems. Current TUF directors include Dylan Blake (Umvoto Africa), Paula Hay (Beringa Community Planning), Dorcas Malefetse (Thatego Holdings) and Gavin Cairns (CK Audit), along with a host of technical (scientific and engineering) and cultural (artists and community) collaborators.

Lotus River Rehabilitation and Green Climate Fund (GCF)/Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) proposal

TUF has submitted a proposal for the rehabilitation of the Lotus Canal to GCF/DBSA. The aim of the project is to rehabilitate the Lotus Canal into a water-sensitive ‘blue-green’ urban environment via nature-based repair, redesign, and re-engineering of the canal. The rehabilitation project also plans to implement a process of innovative community engagement and upliftment using the transformative art concept and capacity building ensuring empowerment of communities.

Given the Lotus Canal’s contribution to the Cape Flats Aquifer, rehabilitating the canal will aid in protecting the underlying aquifer which is a critical resource to the CoCT.

Moretele Water Stokvel

In partnership with Endgame Media and Indaba my Children, TUF contributed to the Moretele Water Stokvel initiative by providing hydrogeological insights. The Moretele Water Stokvel resulted from local women contributing to a monthly stokvel that aimed at solving the communities water shortages.

Umvoto provided insights to assist artists with documenting community groundwater use in different visual mediums and to engage with Grade 7 learners at the local primary school through a workshop to educate them about the hydrological cycle and groundwater. In addition to this, we collected groundwater samples for the water quality analysis and to provide the community with an indication of water quality. TUF’s website has extra details on this initiative and showcases the art that land artist Strijdom van der Merwe and illustrators Ben Tjibe and Rickey Pascal Freehand Nzoni created, as well as the videos that Endgame Media produced for this initiative.

TUF Geotrail Series

TUF has been busy over the last few months putting together the first field guidebook in the TUF Geoheritage series that has been funded by the 35IGC Legacy Fund. This focuses on the history of the Table Mountain dams and Cape Town’s water supply from past to present. The guidebook is in the final design stages and has been sent to the graphic designer for formatting, to be published in early 2022. This will accompany hikers on their hike of Table Mountain, guided by Paul Lee and Dylan Blake as part of the inaugural hike in early 2022. To accompany hikers on the hike, the team has also started developing an app interface with developers Forge, where the trail will be easily navigable and snapshots of information from the guidebook will be provided.

Concurrently, TUF are working on the second geoheritage field guidebook, namely the Hermanus Water Walk in association with the Overberg Geoscientists Group, which will also come out during the course of next year. This year, Umvoto has turned the spotlight on geoheritage and its importance, and hopes to also continue developing the Henno Martin Geotrail in honour of the late Dr Chris Hartnady, who announced his passion project earlier this year at the Naukluft Mountain Symposium.

Indawo, Abuntu, Injongo E Khayelitsha

The Indawo, Abantu, Injongo E Khayelitsha initiative has made some exciting progress over the past year, which has upscaled from weekly clean-ups to recycling dumped building rubble and incorporating a beautiful art mural on one of the resident’s wall.

The Indawo Abantu Injongo E Khayelitsha initiative has transformed into a blueprint for community empowerment and community self-reliance. One that advocates for bottom-up approaches that illustrate the importance of community-led projects.

Read more about all the progress on this initiative on the TUF website.

Edith Stephens Nature Reserve Tour

TUF in collaboration with IAIAsa and the Biodiversity Management Branch of the CCT hosted a tour of the Edith Stephens Nature Reserve. This was an educational, fun fieldtrip, for students in the environmental studies (and associated) fields. The tour, piloted by Umvoto Junior Environmentalist Lionnel Ndeba, exposed the students to the significance of the Edith Stephens Nature Reserve in the context of its biodiversity, the underlaying Cape Flats Aquifer, climate change and community empowerment. TUF also gave a presentation to the students on The Nexus of Art and science: A Case Study of the Cape Flats Aquifer which was led by Rebecca Stephenson and Fahad Aziz.

Educational outreach events such as the Edith Stephens Nature Reserve tour can play an integral role in fostering an understanding of social responsibility in relation to the environment and water resources. This was similarly the case for the water stewardship training workshops that was hosted by TUF at the nature reserve in 2019. In response to the workshops, Busiswa Nomyayi an inspired participant, began the Indawo Abantu Injongo E Khayelitsha initiative and started taking action in her own community. Read more about this in an interview that Paula Hay led earlier this year.


Projects

UPDATES ON EXISTING LONG-TERM PROJECTS

City of Cape Town New Water Programme

Umvoto has been an integral part of the CoCT’s NWP since, and prior to, its inception in 2017, which came because of the “Day-Zero” drought suffered by the greater Western Cape area. As people think back to the dire times they will remember drastic measures for water use reduction, reuse, and recycling. The main aim established by the NWP was to diversify the CoCT’s bulk water supply sources to increase City-wide water resilience for the future and to be well prepared and adapted to combat the effects of climate change. The plan to achieve this comprised of augmenting water supply with alternative surface and groundwater sources, desalination, and effective water reuse, altogether with water demand management interventions.

Umvoto realised that conjunctive groundwater and surface water supply is a solution for the CoCT and pioneered various groundwater development projects for the CoCT. These projects included the refurbishment and restoration of the AWRMS which has been longstanding since the 1980s; materialising the development of the Cape Flats Aquifer and the reclamation thereof through a complex MAR system; as well as the fast-tracked development of the Steenbras Wellfield in the TMGA following years of meticulous exploration, monitoring and modelling overseen by Umvoto.

After spearheading the groundwater resource augmentation for the CoCT under the NWP from 2017 to 2021, Umvoto, together with Zutari, is pleased to have been awarded the tender to continue the work on these projects for the coming 5 years. This will enable us to see through the objectives in full, and achieve the NWP goals of water resilience for the residences of CoCT. Head here to read more about the progress that has been made on the NWP.

Overstrand Local Municipality Groundwater Management

Umvoto has continued throughout 2021 to manage and monitor the wellfields and waste water irrigation systems for the greater Hermanus, Stanford, Gansbaai and Baardskeerdersbos regions, ensuring water use licence and environmental compliance for the Overstrand Local Municipality is met. Records of groundwater levels, abstraction volumes and hydrochemical analysis of groundwater have been maintained by telemetry downloads from in-situ sensors and regular quality checked and groundtruthed by a team of trained and dedicated field staff. The Overstrand Local Municipality continues, with the assistance of expert consulting services from Umvoto, to run one of the best groundwater abstraction networks in South Africa, often regarded as the country’s flagship wellfield.

With groundwater now constituting up to 45% of the total water provision to the greater Hermanus area, demand has eased on the De Bos Dam being the sole provider of water to the growing Western Cape town. Although 2021 has experienced several good months of rain (687 mm for January to October 2021 against an annual average of 638 mm) and the De Bos Dam is still 100 % full, the 2009-2011 Southern Cape and 2015-2018 “Day Zero” droughts remain firmly in people’s memory, and reliance on surface water is not considered viable with repeated low rainfall years a reality.

As Hermanus and neighbouring Overstrand towns expand with both residential and tourism influxes, the municipality is being proactive in ensuring security and sustainability of the groundwater supply, and is currently engaged in planning and designing the next expansion phase of the various TMG wellfields. This has already included the drilling, testing and commissioning of two additional high yielding boreholes at Gateway Wellfield (allowing the municipality to abstract the full licenced wellfield volume of 1.6 million cubic metres per annum if required), and the planned expansion of the two Hemel en Aarde Valley wellfields through the drilling of up to five additional production boreholes (to also allow for the abstraction of the full licenced combined wellfield volume of 1.6 million cubic metres per annum if required). In addition, upgrades to the Preekstoel Water Treatment Works have been undertaken to ensure that the high geogenic (i.e. naturally occurring) iron and manganese concentrations prevalent in groundwater abstracted from the TMG Peninsula Aquifer can be treated and removed successfully and optimally.

NEW PROJECTS

Apart from Umvoto’s long-term projects, the team also undertook several significant projects during 2021 that ranged in scope and scale:

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Verlorenvlei Hydrological Impact Review

At the beginning of the year, Umvoto was appointed to undertake a hydrological and hydrogeological impact review of the Verlorenvlei Ramsar site along the West Coast of the Western Cape. Verlorenvlei has dried up significantly since the “Day Zero” drought, and Umvoto were approached by concerned residents to assess the cumulative factors that may be contributing to this drying. Read more…

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Calitzdorp Rural Groundwater Augmentation

Umvoto was contracted to drill an exploration borehole for the Oudtshoorn Local Municipality in the Calitzdorp area, to determine the potential for additional groundwater augmentation to the Klein Karoo Water Supply Scheme. The project’s scope included a regional hydrogeological assessment to identify potential groundwater target areas within the TMG for exploration, followed by drilling and testing. Read more…

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Windhoek Aquifer Modelling

The University of the Western Cape approached Umvoto to update and calibrate a numerical groundwater model for the Windhoek Aquifer MAR scheme near Namibia’s capital city of Windhoek. With the addition of newly drilled deep boreholes the impact on and long-term sustainability of the Windhoek Aquifer was assessed. Read more…

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Corbetti Geothermal Air Quality Monitoring

Umvoto is in the process of supplying automatic weather stations and air quality sensors to Corbetti Geothermal PLC, who are busy developing geothermal resources within Ethiopia. Umvoto has extensive experience of this in Ethiopia (in addition to the groundwater work done in the Danakil Depression), where we have set-up weather stations and monitor air quality for Tulu Moye Geothermal and Yara Dallol. Read more…

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Stellenbosch University – Philippi Horticultural Area

Since 2020 Umvoto has been involved in action research in a partnership led by the Stellenbosch University Water Institute. The research centres around the Restoring the Waterways in the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA) project and aims to understand how communities value and engage with the water they make use of, and undertake rehabilitation initiatives of part of the surface water network in the hope that negative impacts to the CFA will be reduced. Read more…

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SOILL Moorreesburg Floodline

Umvoto was appointed by Southern Oil (Pty) Ltd (SOILL) to delineate the floodline on their Moorreesburg plant property along the Moorreesburgspruit, where it could impact on their current operations and proposed SOILL site development. Read more…

Groundwater Resource Assessment and Monitoring

Throughout the year Umvoto has also performed various other smaller groundwater resource assessment and monitoring projects for various private domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural clients. Our team was appointed to investigate the surface water and groundwater setting of the drainage lines which run through Imhoff Park in the CCT northern suburb of Welgemoed. Welgemoed City Improvement District has proposed that Imhoff Park be transformed into a botanical green space that will host streams and eco pools. Umvoto investigated the physical and hydrochemical state of the hydrogeological system in order to ascertain what (if any) impacts the proposed development would have on its surroundings. We also performed a review of Kenrock Country Estate’s Operational Environmental Management Programme, which aimed to determine whether the estate in Hout Bay is functioning in an environmentally sustainable manner. Recommendations included a groundwater monitoring programme for the estate’s two abstraction boreholes, which is now being implemented by Umvoto. More generally, various agricultural producers have appointed Umvoto to undertake groundwater investigations around Piketberg, Porterville and Ceres. Our scope of work varies for the different farms and clients, but includes investigating groundwater potential, development of the resource through drilling and testing, and regulatory functions (such as monitoring and licensing) associated with the use of groundwater.
Find all the details pertaining to these projects here.

Contamination Compliance and Water Quality Monitoring

Umvoto has been actively undertaking contamination compliance and water quality monitoring for several projects. Galvatech (Pty) Ltd commissioned us to drill two monitoring boreholes into the CFA, up and down gradient of their new facility in Bellville, where we were tasked with understanding the baseline hydrochemical characteristics of the groundwater as part of their Environmental Management Plan (EMP). Umvoto was also appointed by The Environmental Practice to undertake an assessment of soil quality to determine potential impacts associated with uncontrolled effluent discharge from a fish processing facility situated in the industrial suburb of Atlantis (CCT). Umvoto also assisted The Environmental Practice with a contamination assessment and development of a qualitative stormwater management and maintenance plan for a proposed sand drying plant in Atlantis. Specialist input was also provided to GroundTruth for a site in Phoenix (eThekwini, KwaZulu-Natal), where Umvoto undertook a waste assessment of infilled gravel and rubble that encroached into a wetland buffer area. You can read more about these projects here.

Water Use License Applications and NWA Specialist Studies

On behalf of The Biologicals and Vaccines Institute of South Africa (Pty) Ltd (Biovac), Umvoto undertook a Section 21 (a) water use license application (WULA), following on from the groundwater assessment and borehole drilling/testing we performed for them in 2020. Umvoto has submitted the WULA on behalf of Biovac and is awaiting final feedback.

Umvoto was also appointed by an international aquaculture corporation to undertake a freshwater specialist study into the potential impacts of a proposed aquaculture development on a nearby salt pan-type wetland in terms of Section 21 (c) and (i) of the National Water Act.

Head here to read more about these projects.

Umvoto has begun the integrated WULA for the new proposed Keysource Minerals glass sand mine in the PHA, but this will be detailed in next year’s newsletter once work is complete.

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