This article by Johan du Preez is part of a series on innovative businesses in Stellenbosch’s Techno Park, which appeared in the Stellenbosch newspaper, Eikestadnuus.

“Groundwater is an indispensable resource,” says Julian Conrad, Director of Geohydrological and Spatial Solutions International (GEOSS) in Stellenbosch’s Techno Park. “It’s therefore essential that groundwater is managed in a scientific manner to ensure its sustainability.”

GEOSS offers services relating to groundwater.

According to Conrad, determining where to drill for water is one of the most common enquiries in their line of work. To select drilling sites, GEOSS applies a process based on geological knowledge combined with their practical experience in the field. Part of this entails the study of aerial photographs which gives an overview of geological systems; geological field mapping to determine rock types and geological structures; and geophysical surveys which help to identify actual structures where groundwater could be present. In addition they do farm-to-farm surveys of existing boreholes to learn more about the groundwater characteristics of an area. Added to this, they use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) – an international system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyse, manage, and present all types of geographical data – numerical models and other groundwater specific software to improve their understanding of groundwater occurrence. 

Apart from borehole siting, GEOSS also does drilling supervision, yield testing and groundwater quality assessments. They, furthermore, offer groundwater monitoring and management services to ensure the maintenance of a healthy balance in the use of groundwater. This involves the regular measurement of rainfall, borehole water levels, volumes of groundwater abstracted and groundwater quality.

On the preventative side the company monitors groundwater for contamination. This is often a statutory requirement for certain industries – bulk petro-chemical suppliers, landfill operators and waste water treatment works, for example – where spillage and seepage of chemicals and effluent can occur due to the nature of their operations. This could result in contamination of groundwater in the underlying aquifers. They also do environmental impact studies to determine the possible effect that industrial projects may have on groundwater.

GEOSS, moreover, does groundwater user registration and licensing with the Department of Water and Sanitation on behalf of their clients and provides advice on legal matters relating to groundwater.

For me it was good to gain insight into the legislation and services that take care of one of our most valuable resources – groundwater. I felt reassured having learned that there are businesses such as GEOSS that do not only offer turnkey groundwater projects, but that they do it with professionalism and care – values that stood out during the interview.


Click here to read the article on the Eikestadnuus website.