Pretoria: A new research chair, sponsored by the East Rand Water Care Company (ERWAT), will focus on new innovations in water research, as well as upping the skills of researchers, engineers and technical personnel in water treatment and management.
The ERWAT Chair in Wastewater Management will be hosted by Stellenbosch University’s Water Institute (SUWI).
Professor Gideon Wolfaardt, who recently returned from Canada where he held a Canada Research Chair in Environmental Interfaces and Biofilms since 2004, will be the first research professor to hold the chair.
As a recognised expert and leading researcher in his field, Wolfaardt works at the interface between the biological and engineering aspects of water research.
The focus of the new ERWAT chair will be on scientific and technical advances in wastewater management, water quality, water use and demand, as well as fostering partnerships to improve the water research and management skills of scientists, engineers and technical personnel.
According to Professor Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector: Research and Innovation at Stellenbosch University and Chairperson of the SUWI Advisory Board, ensuring a safe water supply for South Africa and Africa is possible, but it requires innovation and action.
“We are very excited about the establishment of the ERWAT Chair and the opportunities it provides for world-class research and innovation in South Africa’s water sector.
“The institute is also the ideal home for this chair, as we pride ourselves on continually exploring new approaches to water treatment that are durable, cost-effective and more efficient,” he said.
Managing Director of ERWAT, Pat Twala, said ERWAT has a proud history of working and co-operating with as well as supporting different universities and research institutions over a number of years.
The company looks forward to build on these accomplishments, now in this formal and structured association with Stellenbosch University.
“In a water-scarce country, we are continuously faced with ever-changing technical, financial and constitutional challenges in the water industry.
“We need to find sustainable solutions to these challenges to ensure the protection of our environment and water resources,” Twala said.
ERWAT, the water company, offers a full range of expert services, including expertise and experience in all aspects of wastewater management and industrial wastewater quality management among others.