In the old days when SRK still went by its original name, Steffen Robertson and Kirsten, Dick Connelly and I were given the task of pounding the pavements to develop a groundwater practice in South Africa. Andy Robertson with his usual foresight had brought Bill Brown out from Vancouver to tell us how to do groundwater consulting.

Dick succeeded; he is doing groundwater consulting. I failed: I just write about it. In the July 2008 issue of Mining Magazine is an article by Dick Connelly entitled Groundwater at grassroots. It is easy enough to access the complete article, and I urge you to do so if groundwater in mining is your thing.

Bill Brown was my favorite. He was big and gruff. His practice consisted primarily of going to mines and tribal lands and telling them where to drill to find water. Once I accompanied him many miles into the interior of British Columbia. After his usual large lunch and booze, we drove out to the tribal area and met the elders. There was lots of talking and deliberation. Bill drove along many roads seeming innocent of fact or fiction. We looked at scenery and talked about politics.

Just as I was about to despair that he would do any consulting, he stopped, and pointed to a slight rise in the land. He chatted some more with the elders and suggested they drill upgradient of the rise to find their water. And we returned for supper and more booze. This is Canadian consulting I thought.

On our trip home I quizzed him: “How did you do so little and yet have the confidence to tell them where to drill?”

He replied: “They will find lots of water above that dike. How do I know? Before we came up I studied the geology, and looked at the topo maps. All I had to do on site was find the topo that tells where the pesky dike is.”

A few weeks later Bill called and told me in triumph that he had just had a call from the tribe who were delighted with the water gushing from their new well.