Geert-Jan Nijsten has been working with IGRAC since 2012. Geert-Jan joined IGRAC because he is keen to use his extensive knowledge and experience to help advance sustainable management of groundwater resources in countries where groundwater is often the most important source of fresh water. “I like to work on the interface of technical work and policy development, as technical people are often not able to answer questions policy makers may have, and policy makers often don’t understand the relevance of technical studies. With my experience I like to think I can be a useful intermediary in those situations. Working in an international setting creates an extra dimension in terms of challenges, and adds to my personal development by working with people from many different cultures.”
As IGRAC’s senior researcher, Geert-Jan is involved in many of IGRAC’s activities either as the external focal point or assisting and advising behind the scenes. Currently he is involved in three major transboundary groundwater projects: The groundwater component of TWAP, the Stampriet transboundary aquifer (Namibia, Botswana, South Africa) case study which is part of the GGRETA project and the recently started work in the RAMOTSWA project (Botswana and South Africa).
Geert-Jan studied Geology at the ‘Vrije Universiteit’ of Amsterdam and specialised in Hydrogeology (MSC with high distinction). In the early days of his career he worked a lot on technical groundwater studies using geophysical techniques, isotope analyses and groundwater modelling. Through exposure in complex projects involving specialist from other disciplines and varieties of stakeholders, Geert-Jan developed a strong interest in the wider context of groundwater management and governance issues.
Geert-Jan is a hydrogeologist with over 20 years of experience in groundwater exploration, development, management and governance. His experience includes research, consultancy, policy development and implementation. As early career hydrogeologist, he worked in Mauritania and Botswana in groundwater exploration, development and research. He then returned to the Netherlands where he worked in applied research, consultancy and as a policy advisor. His career developed from highly specialised groundwater studies to more integrated multi-disciplinary projects. Before he joined IGRAC, Geert-Jan worked for nearly 10 years as a project manager and policy advisor for a regional government.