The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has a wide and varied expertise and experience in water related teaching and research. In support of our vision to be the Premier University of African Scholarship, UKZN is actively involved in water related teaching, research and outreach activities throughout Africa and beyond.
UKZN is a happy “home from home” for many international students and scholars. Indeed, the majority of postgraduate degrees awarded at the recent graduation ceremonies in the Faculties of Science and Agriculture, and Engineering were to students from the rest of Africa.
Under the NEPAD Network of CoE’s, the University of KwaZulu-Natal provides a range of postgraduate capacity building opportunities linked to core strengths in Water Quality and Sanitation, Water Resources Management and Hydrology and Water related Governance, but allows for strong interaction between Network partners to complement their programmes and provides input into other network initiatives both in developed and developing countries.
UKZN’s strengths in water are illustrated by established nationally and internationally recognised researchers with active research programmes and postgraduate students in water related fields, and several ongoing externally funded research projects supported by inter alia, the South African Water Research Commission, National Research Foundation and Department of Water Affairs, eThekweni Metro, Umgeni Water, South African Sugarcane Research Institute as well as international donors such as the European Union, FAO, CGIAR, IWMI, SIDA, START, UPARF-POWER and DFID.
These strengths are consolidated under a strategic research initiative in water i.e. Water@UKZN. Water@UKZN contributes to water resources management across Africa though;
- research, education and training,
- linked to the key issues and challenges of water on the African continent and in an African context, particularly in the context of NEPADs Water Flagship foci, i.e.
- i. Scientific Assessment of Africa’s Water Resources and Systems
- ii. Research and Technologies to Assess and Monitor Water-related Disasters
- iii. Knowledge and Technologies to Improve Water Quality and Quantity
Water related research at UKZN has its roots in the erstwhile universities of Natal and Durban-Westville. Research on water has been undertaken at the University of Natal engineering faculty (chemical engineering and agricultural engineering) since before the formation of the Water Research Commission in 1971. AECI funded the formation of the Pollution Research Group (PRG) in 1970. The PRG has been an externally funded professional contract research group specialising in water management. Since is inception the PRG has produced 508 conference papers, 147 refereed papers, 47 books or chapters in books, 7 patents, 59 masters graduates and 9 PhD graduates. In 2003 PRG Bio was created to cater for the demand for biologically related research (biological wastewater treatment in the wider sense).
On the Pietermaritzburg campus, catchment hydrology studies have been ongoing since a distributed catchment evapotranspiration based study carried out in the Natal Drakensberg in the early 1970s. The Agricultural Catchments Research Unit has been active since 1984 and is home to the well known ACRU Agrohydrological Modelling System. The unit has expanded considerably since then and has now produced over 250 conference papers, more than 180 refereed papers, books or chapters in books, 34 peer reviewed research reports, 75 Hydrology Honours graduates, over 60 masters graduates and 21 PhD graduates.
Key Research Units and Topics are listed below:
- 1. Catchment hydrology – under present and anticipated future conditions.
- 2. Land and water management, including forestry, bioenergy and agriculture
- 3. Rivers, lakes, wetlands and riparian zones.
- 4. Environmental, Coastal, and Hydrological Engineering
- 5. Domestic and industrial water management, including Pollution Research.
- 6. Water resources governance, policy and stakeholder participation.
UKZN Water Initiative, University of KwaZulu-Natal, PBagX01, Scottsville, 3209
DVC – College of Science Agriculture, Engineering and Science
DVC – Research
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