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C·I·B water researchers combine forces with Stellenbosch Universityís Water Institute

Stellenbosch Universityís Water Institute launch on International Water Day

Stellenbosch Universityís Water Institute was launched at a function in the Wallenberg Research Centre on International Water Day. Attending the function were Prof. Dave Richardson, Deputy Director: Science Strategy of the Centre for Invasion Biology, his wife Corlia, Prof. Conrad Matthee, Executive Head of the Department of Botany & Zoology, and Dr Sonja Matthee of the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology. Photo credit: SU/Justin Alberts

The Stellenbosch University Water Institute is a multi-disciplinary research enterprise that was set up in response to the formidable and unprecedented challenges relating water that face South Africa.

Stellenbosch University engineers, soil scientists, microbiologists, polymer scientists, agricultural economists, conservation ecologists, health scientists, geologists, philosophers and biochemists are among the affiliated researchers of the Stellenbosch University Water Institute. Researchers in the network cover topics such as ownership of water, the safety of agricultural produce, biofouling and biocorrosion control, community health, financial-economic planning of water use, endocrine disruptors, hydrodynamics, water engineering, catchment and resource management, invasion biology, the geochemical evolution of water and waste waters, water governance and management.

Prof. Dave Richardson, Deputy Director: Science Strategy at the Centre for Invasion Biology (C·I·B) is one of the founder members of the Water Institute.

Invasive species are a major threat to South Africaís biodiversity and the regionís natural capital. Many invasive species have substantial negative effects on ecosystem functioning and the capacity of ecosystems to deliver sustainable ecosystem services. These species are affecting or have the potential to affect South Africaís water resources. Several core team members at the C·I·B work on issues relating to the influence of invasive species on water resources. According to Prof. Richardson, “topics recently or currently addressed in the C·I·Bís research portfolio include the development of systems for managing invasive plants in water catchments, the formulation of guidelines for restoring riparian ecosystems and for assessing river health and the many types of impact of invasive species on water resources and aquatic biodiversity, and the development of protocols for dealing with a emerging aquatic invaders”.

The Stellenbosch University Water Institute was launched on World Water Day on 22 March 2011. The event, which was attended by Ms. Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology, was preceded by a well-attended public seminar during which influential voices in the South African water sector provided insights into the water-related challenges and possibilities facing the country and the continent.

“Our University has over the years built up excellent capacity within the field of water research, in various departments and various faculties,” says Prof. Eugene Cloete, Dean of the Faculty of Science and chair of the advisory board of the Stellenbosch University Water Institute. “By uniting our researchers in such a way I believe we have created a national asset that actively contributes towards solving South Africa and the continentís water related challenges.”

Click here for more information on the Stellenbosch University Water Institute and an overview of C·I·B projects relating to water