Prof Simon Lorentz

Prof Simon Lorentz

Contact details:

Contact Number 

+27 82 344 1443


Prof Simon Lorentz


Centre for Water Resources Research
School of Agriculture, Earth and Environmental Science
Private Bag X01, Scottsville, 3209, South Africa


Honorary Associate Professor


Prof Simon Lorentz is a process hydrologist with specialization in Vadose Zone Hydrology and Water Quality. He began his career at the Iron and Steel Corporation (ISCOR), with design and project management in mine stormwater protection systems and water supply. He continued his focus on mining hydrology at Steffen, Robertson and Kirsten in Johannesburg, where he was also co-author of the first publications of the Water Resources of South Africa. Research at Colorado State University included the theoretical development of flow and solute transport in unsaturated, bi-modal porous media and the development of instrumentation for the measurement of unsaturated porous media hydraulic characteristics. Over a 20-year period at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Simon developed and led a focus group on hydrological processes observation and modelling. These included hillslope hydrology, vadose zone hydrology, sediment and nutrient transport and unsaturated porous media measurement and simulation. His expertise has been applied to catchment hydrology and local water and solute transport problems including: agricultural sediment and nutrient observation and simulation; forestry water use; surface water-groundwater interactions in savanna, agricultural, mining and industrial locations. Simon has been a co-developer of the science of hydropedology in southern Africa and has pioneered the use of near-surface geophysics and stable isotope use in hydrological and water quality studies in South Africa. He is currently a Principal Hydrologist at SRK Consulting.


  • PhD in Agricultural Engineering, Colorado State University, 1995
  • Certificate in Environmental Law, University of Natal, 1994
  • MSc in Agricultural Engineering, Colorado State University, 1986
  • GDE in Civil Engineering (Water) University of the Witwatersrand, 1983
  • BSc in Civil Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand, 1977

Current Research Projects

  • The Hydrology of South African Soils and Hillslopes (WRC funded 2007 – )
  • Near surface hydrology in urban catchments (Various contracts 2015 – )
  • Near surface hydrology in mining scenarios (Various contracts 2013 – )
  • Unsaturated porous media physics in mine waste disposal (Various contracts 2014 – )

Selected Recent Publications

  • LORENTZ, S., VAN TOL, J., LE ROUX, P. and FREESE, C. 2017. Water and Solute Flux Simulation Using Hydropedology Survey Data in South African Catchments. European Geosciences Union, EGU General Assembly 2017-18738, Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 19. Vienna, 23-28 April 2017.
  • LORENTZ, SA. 2017. Tailings Water Hydraulics Analyses for Risk Based Design. In: Wolkersdorfer, C., Sartz, L., Sillanpää, M. and Häkkinen, A. (eds) Mine Water & Circular Economy (Vol I). – p. 282 – 288; Lappeenranta, Finland (Lappeenranta University of Technology).
  • LORENTZ, S., VAN TOL, J. and LE ROUX, P. 2017. Using Hydropedology Surveys to Guide Process Based Hydrological Modelling in South Africa. IAHS Scientific Assembly 10-14 July 2017, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
  • WASWA, GW and LORENTZ, SA. 2016. Energy considerations in intense-rainfall triggered shallow landslides. In: Jacobsz, SW. (ed), Proceedings of the First Southern African Geotechnical Conference. 5-6 May 2016, Sun City, South Africa. CRC Press/Balkema, Netherlands, ISBN 978-1-138-02971-2.
  • WASWA, GW and LORENTZ, SA. 2015. Energy considerations in groundwater-ridging mechanism of streamflow generation. Hydrol. Process. 29, 4932–4946.
  • KOLLONGEI, K.J. and LORENTZ, SA. 2014. Connectivity influences on nutrient and sediment migration in the Wartburg catchment, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth. 67–69:12–22.
  • VAN TOL, JJ., LE ROUX, PAL., LORENTZ, SA. and HENSLEY, M. 2013. Hydropedological Classification of South African Hillslopes. Vadose Zone J. 12(4) – doi:10.2136/vzj2013.01.0007.