George Robert Andrews, a British civil engineer and member of the Sanitary Institute of Great Britain, was engaged in September 1889 by the London agent of the Johannesburg Waterworks, Estate and Exploration Company and arrived in Johannesburg in November 1889. The company had commenced operations in May 1888, and by the time Andrews arrived it was in debt for a substantial amount. However, financial assistance by Barny Barnato saved it from ruin. Five years after his arrival Andrews was not only engineer, but also manager of the company. In a paper on "The rise and progress of the Johannesburg Waterworks, Estate and Exploration Company", read before the South African Association of Engineers and Architects in June 1894, he described the history of water supply in Johannesburg from its beginnings, and his own work in this regard. The paper was followed by a visit to the Johannesburg Waterworks by members of the association. At this time the company could supply over 3800 kl of water per day from five reservoirs with a total capacity of some 140 Ml. The paper was published in the Association's Proceedings (Vol. 1, pp. 119-131), and also in The Star. The eminent engineer Theodore Reunert* commented: "I... must express my surprise at the magnitude of the engineering works which have been undertaken and successfully completed by the author, as well as the efficient state to which he has brought the company. It is a record on which any engineer might look back with pride." Two years later Andrews published an updated version of his paper in pamphlet form under the title A history of the Johannesburg Waterworks Company from its inception to August 1896 (Durban, 1896).
Andrews was a founding member of the South African Association of Engineers and Architects in 1892 and served on its first council. He remained a member of council until 1896, and served as the association's fourth president during 1895/6. He was also a member of the Geological Society of South Africa in 1897, at which time he was still living in Johannesburg. By 1898 he had returned to England and was living in Bournemouth. He died sometime before or in 1908. His son, G. S. Burt Andrews*, also played a significant part in the history of South African engineering.