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Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS): Community Engagement

Community Engagement Projects

The Institute for Groundwater Studies is involved in various community engagement projects. The IGS presents short courses to industry and government on a regular basis, and students have free access to these courses, although it does not form part of their formal educational programme. An example is the one-day practical pumping test course that was presented by Prof Gerrit van Tonder to the Free State Agricultural and Pretoria LNR departments for borehole sustainable estimations and also to personnel from the Northern Cape Department of Water Affairs in Upington on pumping test analyses.

Prof Van Tonder was invited to speak on environmentally-friendly gardening and vermicomposting to a variety of garden societies/clubs; the last one being for the garden societies of Hertzogville and Hoopstad during October 2010. He also presented a talk on environmentally-friendly gardening at the Tuis/Home readers' day which was held on his farm, Little Ranch, in Bainsvlei on 23 October 2010.


Science Expo

The Laboratory at the Institute for Groundwater Studies is contacted on a regular basis to assist school children in projects for the Science Expo.

The project for 2010 was a water purification system for fish tanks. In this case the laboratory (as well as Prof GJ van Tonder) helped a Grade 7 learner from the Universitas Primary School who was a candidate for Category 15, Innovation and Technology, at the Science Expo in 2010. Her study implied the development of a bio-filter to remove phosphates, nitrates, and ammonium in fish tanks. She received a Gold Medal at this Expo.

Prof GJ van Tonder also assisted a Grade 5 student with a project on the fertility of soil at Grey College, as well as a Grade 7 student on 'Saving our bees'. Both projects were for the Science Expo.


Eunice Secondary School

As part of their practical training, postgraduate students investigated the possibility of drilling for water at Eunice Secondary School.

The borehole was successfully sited by scientific methods and drilled, and the students had access to a site where successful training was done for the GHR 613 course. The IGS students did all their practical examinations at the site. The students also did their geophysical practical examination at the school, as well as a practical in pumping test analysis.


Lebone House

Lebone House is a care centre for Aids patients. It was agreed that the postgraduate students at the institute will do a geophysical investigation and site a few boreholes. A number of boreholes were drilled for use by the centre. The community will benefit from the drilled boreholes, with a detailed scientific analysis and recommendations of the borehole yields and water qualities.

The postgraduate students also did their geophysical practical examination at the centre, as well as a practical in pumping test analysis. The opportunity exists for detailed practical geohydrological training for the students.

Three boreholes were successfully sited by scientific methods and drilled (exclusively for use by the centre), and the students received access to a site where successful training could be done for the GHR 613 course.


Paradys Experimental Farm

As part of the practical training, students investigated the possibility of drilling for water at the experimental farm Paradys outside Bloemfontein in 2006. A number of successful boreholes were drilled. The IGS students did all their practical examinations at the site. The boreholes are currently used on a continuous basis for water provision at the farm.

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