Mining & Industry News
25 September 2020

South Africa – Frequent spells of drought – combined with the uncertainty of municipal water supply – are leading more South Africans to invest in boreholes. It is a trend that requires responsible management, warns SRK Consulting.

While boreholes do help many people to either go off-grid or supplement municipal water supply, thereby lightening the load on strained municipal water systems, the groundwater sources being exploited are not infinite. According to SRK Consulting’s Port Elizabeth office principal geoscientist Riona Kruger, awareness is growing that South Africa is water-scarce and every drop needs to be conserved.

“No longer are farmers the only ones making use of borehole water, but an increasing number of urban dwellers are having boreholes sunk in their yards,” said Kruger. “This is a great idea, especially where municipalities are battling to supply citizens with enough water to sustain a living.” She highlighted, however, that boreholes do add to the pressure on groundwater resources, leading to less water being available for each user. The key is for borehole yields to be professionally assessed, and for only a sustainable volume of water to be pumped out.

“Should you notice that the water level is declining over time, then you should reduce the volume of water that you pump from the borehole until the decline is halted,” said Kruger. “If the water level remains constant over time, then the yield you are pumping is sustainable. People often need reminding that, while the borehole and its infrastructure may be the property of the owner, the water remains the property of the state. This place the onus on the user to manage the resource responsibility and not to the detriment of others.”

She urged all borehole owners to conserve South Africa’s precious underground water sources by monitoring their boreholes and not over-abstracting water volumes.

SRK Consulting press release extracts

Drilling in progress, the team is busy preparing to measure the airlift yield of the borehole.
SRK Consulting’s Port Elizabeth office principal geoscientist Riona Kruger.


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