Where does all the water go?

Hydropedology is the study of water movement through the soil. It has its application in soil pollution assessments, town and development planning, natural wetland boundary determination, and plant water consumption studies.

Water is life, and therefore it is critical to understand processes related to water, to effectively manage our ecosystems. Nearly all rain comes into contact with the soil, which means that an understanding of the soil-water relationship is critical for healthy ecosystem management. Hydropedology uses the tools of soil morphology, soil water measurements, hydrological modelling and conceptual hydrological response models to understand the movement of water through the soil. This is then interpreted for the specific need, be it extent of pollution, natural wetland functioning, town planning or catchment management.

Our directors are on the forefront of hydropedology research. Pieter Le Roux pioneered the field in Africa, while Johan van Tol introduced modelling to the field and Darren Bouwer incorporates the use of chemical signatures into the assessments.

Uses for Hydropedology

Soil Pollution Assessments

  • Determine where polluting agents will accumulate
  • Protect wetlands and groundwater sources
  • Plan pollution mitigation before pollution starts

Natural Wetland Boundary Determination

  • Determine influence of development of wetlands
  • Correct planning of development around wetlands

Town and Development Planning

  • Plan developments in accordance with natural hydrology
  • Protect water sources of wetlands
  • Sustainable infrastructure development

Plant Water Consumption Studies

  • Determination influence of plants on water balance
  • Application in forestry and town planning

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