Welcome to the Institute for Groundwater Studies!

The institute was founded in 1974 and celebrated its 40th birthday in 2014. Since its establishment in 1974, the institute has shown a gradual growth in the number of postgraduate students. The institute is proud of the continued quality and excellence in pursuit of the strategic priorities of the University of the Free State. 

A major accomplishment was the outcome of the accreditation of the IGS Laboratory by SANAS (South African National Accreditation System) in March 2016.

The institute's focus on its Vision and Mission can be seen in its research outputs and other activities.

The vision of the institution:

  • To be the preeminent groundwater institution in Africa for academic training and research.

The mission of the institution:

  • To produce world-class postgraduate students who can apply their knowledge to ensure sustainable groundwater resources
  • To produce high-quality research that is relevant and practically applicable
  • To serve the community through students, research, and actions that will empower stakeholders to manage groundwater sustainability

IGS is the leading groundwater research group in Africa on aspects related to fractured rock aquifers, industrial and mining contamination, groundwater governance, and groundwater resources. 

The institute conducts contract research on a wide variety of water-related topics. Of special interest is its contribution to the mining and industrial sectors in terms of water management, minimisation of pollution, as well as understanding the nature and behaviour of South Africa's aquifers. The institute provides a complete service to these industries through field investigations, the development of specialised field equipment, a well-equipped commercial and water research laboratory and a number of computer models for the management and operation of the aquifers, protecting them from pollution.

The institute also takes part in research projects for the Water Research Commission (WRC), Coaltech, and the government. We are proud of the fact that technologies developed through these projects are now in use worldwide.

The IGS has expertise in the following fields of geohydrology:

  • Groundwater research
  • Laboratory services
  • Groundwater in a mining environment
  • Development of groundwater monitoring programmes
  • Hydrogeological and contaminant investigations
  • Reserve determinations
  • Geochemical assessments
  • Groundwater software development
  • Acid-mine drainage prediction and management
  • Assessment of groundwater pollution
  • Groundwater risk assessments
  • Groundwater resource development and management
  • Environmental management programme reports for the mining industry
  • Geohydrological impact assessments at industries and landfills
  • Project management for groundwater-related projects
  • Geophysical investigations
  • Manipulation and integration of GIS data


Faculty Manager: Mrs Velaphi Makgwahla
T: + 27 51 401 3199
E: makgwahlamvt@ufs.ac.za

Marketing Manager: Mrs Elfrieda Lötter
T: +27 51 401 2531
E: lottere@ufs.ac.za

NatAgri for next to contact block

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful, to better understand how they are used and to tailor advertising. You can read more and make your cookie choices here. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.