Dr Matthys A. Dippenaar


Senior Lecturer

Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology

Office: 4-34 Natural Sciences 2 Building

E-mail: [email protected]

Phone: +27 (0)12 420 3117

Chair: Ground Water Division of Geological Society of SA (2016-present; member 2009-present)

Past President: SA chapter International Association of Hydrogeologists (2015-16; member 2011-present)

Member: SA Institute for Engineering and Environmental Geologists (2008-present)

Council Member: Geological Society of South Africa (2015-present)

Associate Editor: Hydrogeology Journal (2017-2018)

Orcid: orcid.org/0000-0002-6807-1353

Scopus: 9744882700

Mendeley: matthys-dippenaar


Present focus:

  • Variably saturated flow through fractured, karstic and complex anthropogenically altered intermediate vadose zone
  • Geotechnical centrifuge modelling of variably and partially saturated systems 
  • Urban water supply and water history of major South African cities
  • South African hydrostratigraphy.

Current research projects:

  • Complex and Anthropogenically Altered Vadose Zone (Water Research Commission; 2019-2022)
  • Karst Vadose Zone: Recharge, Vulnerability and Stability (Water Research Commission; 2016-19).

Completed research projects:

  • State-of-the-Art Cemetery Guidelines (Water Research Commission; 2015-18)
  • Hydrological Heritage Overview: Johannesburg and Cape Town (Water Research Commission; 2014-2016)
  • Intermediate Vadose Zone Hydrology and Unsaturated Fracture Flow (Water Research Commission; 2014-2016)
  • Water Research Commission (WRC) funded project K5/2052: Vadose Zone Hydrology: Concepts and Techniques (2011-2014)
  • Water Research Commission (WRC) funded project K5/2150: Hydrological Heritage Overview: The Water Resources of the City of Tshwane Municipality (2012-2013)
  • Water Research Commission (WRC) funded project K8/876: Preliminary Vadose Zone Classification Methodology (Molototsi and Middle Letaba Quaternary Catchments) (2009-2010)
  • Assessment of historical large volume Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid spill in fractured Gneiss (2002-2012)
  • SANParks Kruger National Park: Compilation of Detailed Geological and Weathering Profile Maps of the Research Supersites (2012-2013).


  • 2014: PhD Hydrogeology, University of Pretoria, RSA
  • 2009: MSc Engineering- and Environmental Geology, University of Pretoria, RSA
  • 2002: BSc (Hons) Engineering- and Environmental Geology, University of Pretoria, RSA
  • 2001: BSc Earth Science/ Geology, University of Pretoria, RSA.


  • 2015-present: Senior Lecturer and Lecturer in Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, University of Pretoria, RSA
  • 2007-2014: Junior Lecturer and Lecturer in Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, University of Pretoria, RSA
  • 2006-present: Consulting Engineering Geologist / Hydrogeologist to Industry
  • 2005-2006: Engineering Geologist / Hydrogeologist, Private Consulting Company
  • 2004-2005: Contamination Hydrogeologist, Private Consulting Company
  • 2003-2004: Junior Engineering Geologist, Council for Geoscience



  • Class guardian for honours level Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology students
  • Map room
  • Hydrogeological equipment
  • Homepage/ webmaster/ web publisher
  • Second year mapping exercise
  • Alumni function
  • Departmental research output.

Project supervision:

In progress Ph.D.:

  • Two (2)

In progress M.Sc.:

  • Seven (7)

Completed and Submitted Ph.D.:

  • One (1)

Completed and Submitted M.Sc.:

  • Ten (10) in Hydrogeology, Engineering Geology, and Environmental Management


University of Pretoria:

  • 2014-present: GTX 725 Fluid Mechanics in Geological Media
  • 2015-preent: GTX 719 Contaminant Transport
  • 2012-present : GLY 363 Engineering Geology of South Africa
  • 2010-2010: GLY151 Introductory Geology
  • 2009-2011: GLY265 Groundwater
  • 2009-present: Technical Report Writing for postgraduate students
  • 2008-present: GTX727 / 717 Honours Projects
  • 2008-present: GTX713 Site Investigation
  • 2011-present: GTX 715 Environmental Geochemistry
  • 2008-present: GTX716 Environmental Management and Risk Assessment
  • 2008-present: GTX726 Rock and Soil Improvement
  • 2007-present: SGM210 Geomaterials and Processes
  • 2007-2008: GLY152 Physical Geology
  • 2005-2008: GLY162 Environmental Geology


  • 2006: GPH201T Geophysics (Tshwane University of Technology, RSA)
  • 2006: EGE311T Environmental Geology (Tshwane University of Technology, RSA)
  • 2006: ENG401T Engineering Geology (Tshwane University of Technology, RSA)


Scientific Publications:

  • Dippenaar MA, Van Rooy JL, Diamond RE (2018) Engineering, hydrogeological and vadose zone hydrological aspects of Proterozoic dolomites (South Africa). Journal of African Earth Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2018.07.024
  • Abia A, Ubomba-Jaswa E, Schmidt C, Dippenaar MA(2018) Where Did They Come from? Multi-Drug Resistant Pathogenic Escherichia coli in a Cemetery Environment? Antibiotics 7:73.
  • Brouwers LB, Dippenaar MA(2018) Partially saturated flow from sand into a discrete smooth open vertical fracture at the soil–rock interface: experimental studies. Bulletin of the IAEG. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10064-018-1258-x
  • Van Allemann ST, Olivier J, Dippenaar MA(2018) A laboratory study of the pollution of formaldehyde in cemeteries (South Africa). Environmental Earth Science. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12665-017-7219-z
  • Jones BR, Brouwers LB, van Tonder WD, Dippenaar MA(2017) Assessing geotechnical centrifuge modelling in addressing variably saturated flow in soil and fractured rock. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 24:13203-13223.
  • Jones BR, Brouwers LB, Dippenaar MA(2017) Partially to fully saturated flow through smooth, clean, open fractures: qualitative experimental studies. Hydrogeol J. 26(3):945-961.
  • Dippenaar MA, Van Rooy JL (2016) On the cubic law and variably saturated flow through discrete open rough-walled discontinuities. Int. J. Rock Mech. Min. Sci.. 89:200-211.
  • Campbell SA, Lenhardt N, Dippenaar MA,Götz AE (2016) Geothermal energy from the Main Karoo Basin (South Africa): An outcrop analogue study of Permian sandstone reservoir formations. Energy Procedia. 97:186-193.
  • Kgari T, Van Wyk Y, Coetzee H, Dippenaar MA (2016) Mine Water approach using Tracers in South African abandoned Coal Mines. In: Drebenstedt, Carsten, Paul, Michael (eds.) Proceedings IMWA: Mining meets Water - Conflicts and Solutions. Freiberg Germany. 410-416. http://www.imwa.info/docs/imwa_2016/IMWA2016_Kgari_97.pdf
  • Dippenaar MA (2014) Towards a multi-faceted vadose zone assessment protocol: cemetery guidelines and application to a burial site located near a seasonal wetland (Pretoria, South Africa). Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10064-014-0635-3
  • Dippenaar MA (2014) Towards hydrological and geochemical understanding of an ephemeral palsutrine perched water table "wetland" (Lanseria Gneiss, Midrand, South Africa). Environmental Earth Sciences. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12665-014-3153-5
  • Makonto OT, Dippenaar MA (2014) Aquifer vulnerability using recharge, depth to groundwater, soil type and slope to classiffy the vadose zone (Molototsi and Middle Letaba quaternary catchments, Limpopo Province, South Africa). Environmental Earth Sciences. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12665-014-3065-4
  • Dippenaar MA, Van Rooy JL (2014) Review of engineering, hydrogeological and vadose zone hydrological aspects of the Lanseria Gneiss, Goudplaats-Hout River Gneiss and Nelspruit Suite Granite (South Africa). Journal of African Earth Sciences. 91:12-31. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2013.11.019
  • Dippenaar MA (2014) Porosity reviewed: quantitative multi-disciplinary understanding, recent advances and applications in vadose zone hydrology. Geotechnical and Geological Engineering. 32:1-19. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10706-013-9704-9
  • Dippenaar MA (2012) How we lose ground when earth scientists become territorial: defining ‘sSoil’’. Natural Resources Research. 21(1):137-142. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11053-011-9160-2
  • Dippenaar MA, Witthüser KT, Van Rooy JL (2009) Groundwater occurrence in basement aquifers in Limpopo Province, South Africa: model-setting-scenario approach. Environmental Earth Science. 59:459-464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12665-009-0044-2 
  • Dippenaar MA, Sole MD, Van Rooy JL, Du Toit GJ, Reyneke JL (2005) Determining actual LNAPL plume thickness: review and case study in a fractured aquifer. Bull. Eng. Geol. Environ. (2005) 64: 347-360. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10064-005-0278-5

Research Reports:

  • Dippenaar, M. A., Van Rooy, J. L., Breedt, N., Huisamen, A., Muravha, S. E., Mahlangu, N. S. and Mulders, J. A. (2014). Vadose Zone Hydrology: Concepts and Techniques. Water Research Commission report TT 584/13, project K5/2052. Pretoria.
  • Dippenaar, M.A., Van Rooy, J. L., Moyo, A., Makonto, O. T. and Freese, R. (2010). Preliminary Vadose Zone Classification Methodology (Molototsi and Middle Letaba Quaternary Catchments). Water Research Commission report KV 243/10, project K8/876. Pretoria.


  • Dippenaar, M. A. (2015). Hydrological Heritage Overview: Johannesburg - Gold in the Rand, Water from the Land. Water Research Commission. -62pp
  • Dippenaar, M. A. (2013). Hydrogeological Heritage Overview: Pretoria's Fountains - Arteries of Life. Water Research Commission SP 44/13. Pretoria. -72pp


  • Ca. Fifteen (15) as presenting author.


  • GWD-IAH 2011: Executive organising committee of the 2011 joint  Ground Water Division / International Association of Hydrogeologists conference in Pretoria, and 2013 and 2015 GWD conferences in Durban and Muldersdrift
  • GWD: Geological Society of South Africa; Member of Groundwater Division; Co-opted to Executive Committee of GWD (2011-present) and chair (2016-present)
  • IAH: International Association of Hydrogeologists; Member; Co-chair of Early Career Hydrogeologists’ Network (ECHN) (2011-15); secretary (2011-14) and chair (2014-present) of South African national branch
  • IUGS: International Union of Geological Sciences; Member of the South African National Committee for the IUGS
  • SACNASP: South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions; Pr.Sci.Nat. Earth Sciences (400032/06)
  • SAIEG: South African Institute of Engineering Geology and the Environment; Member
  • TUT: Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria; External examiner for engineering geology and geohydrology modules
  • UP Water Institute: Management Committee (Cluster: Groundwater)
  • WRC: Water Research Commission; Reviewer of selected research proposals; Steering committee member for selected WRC projects



- Author Matthys Dippenaar
Last edited by Matthys Dippenaar

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