CALL FOR POSTDOCTORAL CANDIDATES IN HYDROGEOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA (SOUTH AFRICA)

CALL FOR POSTDOCTORAL CANDIDATES IN HYDROGEOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA (SOUTH AFRICA)

Enhancing Sustainable Groundwater Use in South Africa – ESGUSA-2

The overall aim of ESGUSA-2 is to enhance the sustainable use and knowledge-based management of groundwater in South Africa under increasing pressure from climate change, population growth, and zoonotic and other health risks. This will be achieved through two key components: (1) continuation and expansion of previous field and modelling investigations supporting a better understanding of the availability and dynamics of groundwater resources (quantity and quality) and impacts of climate change and (2) support to water security of communities through innovative climate-smart and resilient groundwater-based water supply systems. This approach is underpinned by collaborative learning approaches and expanded partnerships between research and government organizations in Denmark and South Africa.

Key research goals are, with focus on the Hout/Sand River catchments: (1) to increase understanding of hydrogeological processes, in particular the replenishment of groundwater under climate change, which are central to sustainable use of groundwater, (2) to generate spatially high-resolution simulations of groundwater resources to support local water management, (3) to improve water security through sustainable and secure water supply from groundwater through a novel Grundfos Lifelink water kiosk, and (4) to investigate the role and risks of an existing managed aquifer recharge (MAR) scheme in terms of improving safe water supply.

Groundwater as a natural underground water resource is available all year-round, can be abstracted almost anywhere at variable rates, and is often naturally protected against pollution by overlying sediments. Due to high seasonal and inter-annual variability in rainfall, groundwater recharge in the Limpopo Province occurs infrequently during episodic events of extreme rainfall, which is referred to as episodic recharge. Moreover, recharge takes place along ephemeral rivers that lose significant parts of the discharge to the subsurface by leakage through the riverbed, which is referred to as focused recharge (Lindle et al., 2019, Sorensen et al., 2021). 

We are inviting applications for two postdoctoral students for the period 1 May 2022 and as soon as possible thereafter for a period of 2 years. The project is funded by the Danish Government through the Danida Fellowship Centre.

Postdoc 1: Grundfos Lifelink Water Kiosk

The Lifelink water kiosk solution will improve sustainable, affordable, and equitable access to safe water, enhance sustainable water management by local communities, and improve health and daily living conditions. The postdoc will be involved in the following:

  • Identification of a medium-sized water-insecure community in the Hout catchment through consultation with stakeholders.
  • Design and installation of a Grundfos Lifelink water kiosk connected to an existing pumping well in collaboration with local stakeholders.
  • Training and supervision of the local community in self-management of the infrastructure, the financial cost-recovery system, as well as the groundwater resources supplying the system.
  • Conduction of baseline and ex-post assessments of performance, water security, water-related health and local water management through household surveys in the selected community with a focus on the impact on children and female-headed households.
  • Further development of the water kiosk solution to enhance water security for domestic water supply and identify options for upscaling of findings.

Requirements:           

  • PhD in Hydrogeology, Hydrology, Water Science, Water Engineering, or equivalent research-based doctoral level qualification.
  • Evidence of publication of peer reviewed publications.
  • Research focus in water science with a strong socioeconomic and environmental link.
  • Travel arrangements in place to locate to Pretoria for extended periods of time.
  • Full dedication and commitment to the project and its academic research and socioeconomic outcomes.

Supervisor: Professor Matthys A. Dippenaar, University of Pretoria.

Co-supervisor: Karen G. Villholth, Principal Researcher, International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

Postdoc 2: MAR Facility for Polokwane

Informed and research-based approaches to MAR will augment safe and reliable water supply for urban and rural communities in dry areas under increasing population and climate pressure. An existing MAR scheme recharged with reclaimed water has shown to be an excellent candidate for enhancing water supply and providing a feasible study site. The postdoc will be involved in the following activities:

  • Collection of existing operational, hydrogeological and chemical data from the MAR facility in Polokwane.
  • Identification of best monitoring and pumping wells for monitoring of pumping rates, groundwater levels and chemical parameters.
  • Definition of sampling and analysis program for the selected wells. Candidate parameters for analytical analysis include arsenic, organic carbon, heavy metals, nitrate, phosphate, pathogens and contaminants of emerging concern. An identified issue is that dissolved organic carbon in wastewater triggers reductive mineral dissolution mobilizing heavy metals including arsenic to the groundwater.
  • Development and application of local flow and reactive transport model to the MAR scheme to establish a coherent interpretation of the field data focusing on critical contaminants.
  • Identification of best operational practice for the MAR scheme in order to ensure sustainable and safe water supply.
  • Broadening the findings through a first-line assessment of the potential for using treated wastewater for MAR as an element in the safe, reliable, and sustainable augmentation of water supplies in other areas of South Africa.

Requirements:

  • PhD in Hydrogeology, Hydrogeochemistry or equivalent hydrogeological research-based doctoral level qualification.
  • Evidence of publication of peer reviewed publications.
  • Research focus in water science with a strong socioeconomic and environmental link.
  • Travel arrangements in place to locate to Pretoria for extended periods of time.
  • Full dedication and commitment to the project and its academic research and socioeconomic outcomes.

Supervisor: Professor Matthys A. Dippenaar, University of Pretoria.

Co-supervisor: Søren Jessen, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen; Karsten H. Jensen, Professor, University of Copenhagen.

Applications

Applications should contain a letter of intent, full curriculum vitae, front pages of all journal and peer-reviewed congress papers, degrees and copy of doctoral thesis.

 

Applications should be addressed to:

Professor Matthys Dippenaar

Geology Department

University of Pretoria

0028

South Africa

Applications should be sent by email to:

[email protected]

Deadline for applications:

1 April 2022

Confirmation of outcome:

15 April 2022

Arrive in South Africa:

1 May 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter

Published by Matthys Dippenaar

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