Water research institute launched at UCT
Engineering News, a water research institute that aims to generate new knowledge and come up with innovative ways to manage water in South Africa was launched at the University of Cape Town (UCT) by Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane on Thursday.
The Future Water Institute will draw on the expertise and knowledge of researchers from ten departments across six faculties at UCT, including Engineering and the Built Environment, Humanities and Law.
Mokonyane said: “As a nation we have ignored the importance of treating water as a scarce commodity, despite being among the top 30 driest countries in the world. We have the opportunity to change this.
“An area of focus for universities should be the development of new sources of water through desalination, the use of greywater and the recycling of water,” Mokonyane suggested, adding that the issue of water cut across nations, race, class and gender.
Future Water Institute director and professor in UCT’s Department of Chemical Engineering Professor Sue Harrison said South Africa was among several countries where water demand was set to surge by 280% from 2005 to 2030. Harrison added that the recycling and repurposing of water would be a key research area.
Further, an innovation centre will be set up near Franschhoek in the Western Cape and will form an integral part of the Future Water Institute. It will be run by Dr Kevin Winter of the UCT Department of Environmental and Geographic Sciences.