Centre in Water Research and Development
We support research in all aspects of water, such as acid mine drainage, sanitation challenges, environmental law, and climate change, through the lens of the global South.
Water problems cannot be solved through the effort of one discipline alone. We support research and development in water by embracing complexity and collaboration as the mechanism for creating novel findings and insights. Our research covers systems and the environment, water recovery, society and education.
Why we exist
Globally, water resources are under threat. Increased urbanisation, increased industrialisation, increasing populations, climate change and pollution all have harmful effects on water as a resource. In addition, there are a number of confounding factors such as the scarcity of skilled people, especially in the water space. According to the UN, billions of people still lack access to safe drinking water (2 billion), sanitation (3.6 billion) and hygiene (2.3 billion).
Researchers making a splash
The Accessible Greywater Solutions for Urban Informal Townships (URBWAT) project is providing sustainable water solutions for the Alexandra township. Through URBWAT, three constructed wetlands have been built in a shanty portion of the township to treat grey water run-off.
Post-doctoral fellow Tamyln Naidu won first prize in the 2022 World Finals of the Falling Walls Science Summit in Berlin for her research on acid mine drainage (AMD), a project that aims to treat afflicted waters.
Jennifer Fitchett and Simoné Dahms-Verster were part of a team of climatologists and water experts to visit Lesotho to explore the source of moisture that influences rainfall there. Lesotho is considered to be the water tower of southern Africa.
Xanthe Roux carried out the first Shit Flow Diagram (SFD) in SA six years ago in Ethekwini. Currently, she is part of a team looking to develop SFDs with 36 municipalities. SA is the second country in the world to attempt SFDs for the entire country.
Christina Culwick is exploring investments by elites into off-grid water and electricity technologies, actions that are changing the provision and consumption of services in cities with consequences for climate change and social justice.