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The UNESCO Chair in Hydrogeology was established in 2001 at UWC following the introduction of the National Water Act of 1998 by the National Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF). As the chair mainly focuses on groundwater related education, research and outreach, the Centre strives to contribute towards sustainable utilisation of groundwater resources in South Africa, Africa and the developing world.

The Chair aims to assist with implementation of national and regional water policies through the capacity building of the groundwater industry. The Chair is strategically positioned to provide advice to the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) via Africa Groundwater Commission.

Main research and consultancy areas covered are:
  • Aquifer conceptualisation, groundwater recharge, aquifer testing, water balance, numerical modelling and sustainable yield assessment
  • Groundwater interactions with surface water and its role in maintenance of aquatic ecosystems
  • Pollution studies, aquifer protection zoning and hydraulics in mine dewatering
  • The determination of groundwater resource directed measures (RDMs)
  • Geomorphological issues in urban rivers and Environmental Impact Studies
  • Remote sensing applications for water resources and ecosystems management
  • Assessment of transboundary aquifer systems
  • Integrated Water Resource Management