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ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMMES AT UKZN - University of Powered By Docstoc
UKZN – At A glANce                          3

UKZN’S eNVIRONMeNt FAct FIle                5


INtegRAted ReNewAble eNeRgy
AdVANceMeNt PROgRAMMe (IReAP)               7

ANd SeARch ANd ReScUe RObOtS                9

eFFectS OF clIMAte chANge ON SOIl
NUtRIeNt RecyclINg ActIVIty                11

FReeZINg FOR the FUtURe: ReSeARch ON the
cRyOPReSeRVAtION OF PlANt geRMPlASM        13

MOdellINg FOR the MItIgAtION OF heAlth
RISKS - eO2heAVeN                          15

ON hUMAN heAlth                                  18

IN SOUth dURbAN                                  20

St lUcIA eStUARINe lAKe                          23

ISt ecO lANS                                     25

clIMAte chANge ANd INtegRAted
wAteR ReSOURceS ReSeARch IN SOUth AFRIcA         26

MOdellINg dAIly RAIN-gAUge NetwORK MeASUReMeNt
ReSPONSeS UNdeR chANgINg clIMAte SceNARIOS       28

glOwASIS: A cOllAbORAtIVe PROject AIMed At
PRe-VAlIdAtION OF A gMeS glObAl wAteR
ScARcIty INFORMAtION SeRVIce                     30


The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) was formed on
1 January, 2004 by the merger of the University of
Durban-Westville and the University of Natal which
brought together the rich traditions of two major
institutions of higher learning in South Africa.

       KZN’s vision - ‘to be the             Water, Environment and Biodiversity;
 U     Premier University of African
       Scholarship’ - is entrenched
                                             Biotechnology; Agriculture and Food
                                             Security; Energy and Technology for
in its mission to be ‘a truly South          Sustainable Development; Gender,
African university that is                   Race and Identity Studies; Indigenous
academically excellent, innovative           African Knowledge Systems and
in research, critically engaged with         Maritime Studies.
society and demographically                  UKZN offers a wide range of exciting
representative, redressing the               and innovative multi-disciplinary
disadvantages, inequities and                courses with a choice of 2000
imbalances of the past’.                     academic programmes at both
                                             undergraduate and postgraduate level
Almost 40 000 students are enrolled at       as well as accredited professional
both undergraduate and postgraduate          degrees. The University has one of
levels at the University, making it one      South Africa’s largest groupings of
of the largest institutions of its kind in   alumni - 144 704 graduates are spread
sub-Saharan Africa with campuses             across 120 countries holding prominent
at Edgewood, Howard College, the             positions in government, industry,
Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine,         academia, civil society, the media and
Pietermaritzburg and Westville.              the sporting world.
It is the third most productive university   As part of its mission, UKZN has
in South Africa in terms of research         committed itself and all its resources
output and as one of South Africa’s          to the common good of society.
pre-eminent research institutions, it        More than 350 outreach projects are
provides a dynamic environment for all       managed by UKZN, ranging from
facets of research and innovation.           HIV and AIDS projects, to
                                             upgrading the skills of
Research activities span the natural,        Science and Mathematics
biomedical and social sciences               teachers, to food security
and the humanities while strategic           and community
research focus areas are: HIV/AIDS,          tourism projects.
TB and Health Promotion; Social
Development and Economic Studies;

    Above: Howard College campus. Below: Westville campus. Right: Pietermaritzburg campus.

FAct FIle
Two of UKZN’s campuses, Westville and Howard College,
are situated within nature conservancies.There is an
abundance of flora and fauna on all the campuses.

       he University boasts             UKZN is committed to ensuring
 T     prominent alumni who are
       committed to environment
                                        all landscaping activities utilize
                                        indigenous plants.
issues – for example, Mr Andrew
Philip Zaloumis; the executive          Certain areas at the University
director of Greenpeace, Mr Kumi         have been identified as playing
Naidoo, and the former Minister of      an important role in the Durban
Environmental Affairs and Tourism,      Metropolitan Open Space System.
Mr Valli Moosa.
                                        UKZN continues to promote
A strict recycling programme is in      environment issues on campus
operation on all five campuses.         through events such as Arbor Day.

There is an artificial wetland on the   The University’s Environmental
Howard College campus.                  Committee consists of
                                        professionals from diverse areas.
A Campus Conservation Committee
has been operating since April

                                 P RO


INtegRAted ReNewAble
eNeRgy AdVANceMeNt
Due to national and international imperatives, the
production and distribution of sustainable energy from
renewable resources has become a major priority in South
Africa and the rest of the continent. In response to this
important national focus on renewable energy, UKZN
has decided to develop Technology for Renewable and
Sustainable Energy as a Research Focus Area.

       he University has entered into   and technological advancement in
 T     a strategic partnership with
       industry, the Department of
                                        addressing sustainable production,
                                        efficient conservation and safe
Trade and Industry (Dti) and the        distribution of energy from renewable
National Research Foundation            sources to minimise the production
(THRIP/NRF) for the establishment       of greenhouse gas emissions in the
of the Integrated Renewable Energy      atmosphere and maximise climate
Advancement Programme (IREAP)           protection.
to develop a comprehensive energy       IREAP’s flagship project is the Biogas
solution for South Africa using         to Energy Project - funded by THRIP/
biomass and waste as an energy          NRF/Dti in collaboration with industry
source.                                 and the IDC - for research into the
                                        production of energy from anaerobic
The fulcrum of this strategy is to      digestion of farm waste and, ultimately,
promote innovation in research          the design and construction of two

    anaerobic digestors of farm waste in       The vision of IREAP is to expand
    partnership with Karebo Powers in          its scope to address all aspects of
    Johannesburg and of food waste in          renewable energy research including:
    partnership with Don’t Waste Services      production, conservation and
    in Durban.                                 distribution by focusing on two main
    The farm waste digester will be built      directions:
    in Pietermaritzburg and will produce       1. The Establishment of the Centre
    1MW of electricity from pig and chicken       for Research on Technology
    manure, while the other digester will         for Renewable and Sustainable
    use food waste to produce 0.5-1MW of          Energy. This Centre will coordinate
    electricity to power the entire Howard        research and scholarship in five
    College Campus in Durban.                     main streams:
    Project leader Professor Cristina          •	 Biogas-to-Energy/Waste-to-
    Trois and her research group at the           Energy/Algal Technology
    Centre for Environmental, Coastal          •	 Bio-processing/Bio-fuels/Sugar-
    and Hydrological Engineering in Civil         Agricultural Industry
    Engineering (CRECHE) are working
    on a variety of aspects. These include     •	 Green Infrastructure including
                                                  Coastal Engineering and Ocean
    integrated management of waste as
    a resource and promotion of zero           •	 Current/Wave Energy; Green
    waste; quantification and modelling           Buildings/Infrastructure and
    of the potential for sustained GHG         •	 Solar/Wind/Hydro-renewable
    emissions reduction from improved             Power
    waste management practices in
    Africa (including anaerobic digestion);
                                               •	 Green Economy (CDM, Policy etc.)
    innovative treatment of the anaerobic      •	 SMART GRID (Power/HVDC
    digestion plant’s digestate and high          generation/distribution, biogas
    strength Leachates/Wastewaters/               GRID)
    Industrial effluents using compost and     2. Create an Incubator in partnership
    garden refuse as active substrates; and       with UKZN-Innovation, Dti, THRIP
    research and policy development for           and industry for implementation
    Clean Development Mechanisms and              and commercialisation of R&D
    similar carbon financing schemes for          Projects on Renewable Energy
    Africa, in connection with the United         which may emerge from the
    Nations-CSD IPLA (International               activities of the Centre.
    Partnership for Local Authorities
    towards Zero Waste).
                                               For more information contact:
    In 2003, research conducted                Professor Cristina Trois
    by CRECHE-Enviro became the                Email:
    framework for the first CDM Biogas-
    to-Energy Project in Africa supported
    by the eThekwini Municipality and
    the World Bank through a Clean
    Development Mechanism whereby
    gas from two of the largest landfills in
    Durban is extracted and converted into
    about 10 MW of electricity.

clIMAte chANge: hUMAN
The Mechatronics and Robotics Research Group in the
School of Mechanical Engineering has been using the
principles of Mechatronic Engineering to research and
design robots which can reduce the effects of climate
change and perform search and rescue operations
due to climate change. The principles of Mechatronic
Engineering involve the integration of Mechanical,
Electrical/Electronic and Software Engineering for
optimised system performance.

     clIMAte chANge: hUMAN tRANSPORteR ANd SeARch ANd ReScUe RObOtS

                                            The research group is also developing
                                             search and rescue robots which can
                                               assist rescuers in urban and water
                                                 environments where climate change
                                                  has resulted in natural disasters.
                                                  Research is being conducted on
                                                  the design and development of
                                                 land, water and aerial unmanned
                                                vehicles. These research vehicles
                                              will be used for scenarios in areas
                                            such as building, mining, sea and air
                                            operations, and search and rescue
                                            missions in landslides. Research and
                                            development on Artificial Intelligence
                                 Research   (AI) is being used to optimise the
                         is being carried   operation and performance of the
     out on Human Transporter Robots        robots. AI allows for the detection
     which run on electricity, battery      of danger and victims by using
     power or alternative energy.           communication, gas and image
     These zero emission vehicles will      analysis of unstable environments.
     significantly reduce the effects       Research is also being carried out
     on climate change compared to          on unmanned robots which can
     current vehicles which emit harmful    fly. Research has provided working
     and toxic gases. The research          prototype robots which can assist with
     has focused on the vehicle’s drive     the location of victims and determining
     system, navigation, guidance           of dangerous environments which aid
                                            rescuers when entering a disaster area.
     and energy consumption. Vehicle
     weight optimisation, with respect to
     performance, is also an important      For more information contact:
     area of research which has led to      Professor Glen Bright
     the development of a prototype         Email:
     Human Transporter Robot currently
     performing well during testing.

eFFectS OF clIMAte
chANge ON SOIl
RecyclINg ActIVIty
Soil is important for buffering carbon dioxide (CO2)
concentrations and can function either as a source or sink
for carbon, providing the second major carbon influx to
the atmosphere. Understanding the various interactions
that occur in soil is vital as such interactions can have
global implications for carbon cycling, especially with
increasing climatic conditions.

      he soil microbial community            the response of the soil microbial
 T    play critical roles in mediating
      various biogeochemical
                                             community to simulated global climatic
                                             change conducted in two greenhouses
cycles which regulate earth’s                (representing either elevated or ambient
atmosphere and are also important            temperatures) using constructed
for many biologically important              modified Screen-Aided Carbon
processes including                          Dioxide Control experiments. Effects
photosynthesis, organic matter               of single and/multifactorial climate
                                             change simulations (with elevated
decomposition and nitrification.
                                             CO2, methane and rainfall) on the
                                             fate of microbes were investigated,
The switch of the terrestrial biosphere
                                             using various enzyme assays at
from a carbon sink to a carbon source
                                             different seasons. Soil nutrient
is critically dependant on the sensitivity
                                             analysis was conducted during these
of soil microbial respiration to climate
                                             experiments to provide information on
                                             the soil fertility status, under different
Unfortunately, ambiguity regarding           simulated climatic conditions which are
the fate, survival and activity of the       particularly important for agricultural
soil microbial community results in          purposes.
frequent exclusion of microbial activity
                                             Denaturing Gradient Gel Electro-
data from climate change projections.
                                             phoresis was used to profile bacterial
Therefore, this research investigated
                                             diversity of specific microbial groups

     whose activities have been linked to the
     carbon cycling in soil. Real-Time PCR
     will be employed to monitor changes in
     the functional genes coding for specific
     enzymes which are central to soil
     nutrient recycling in these organisms.
     This will provide a possible indication
     of microbial metabolism in response
     to simulated climatic conditions. A
     model will also be developed, using
     data obtained from the study, to
     extrapolate microbial responses over
     a longer time period. It is envisaged
     that this study will facilitate a significant
     comprehension of microbial ecological
     responses to climatic changes,
     especially those expected to occur in
     South Africa and surrounding regions.

     For more information:
     Deseree Alvika Rajpal

    FReeZINg FOR the
  FUtURe: ReSeARch ON
    Global climate change is adversely impacting both
 terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity. South Africa, having
  the world’s third richest biodiversity, presents a unique
   natural laboratory for the generation of considerable
   scientific knowledge and biotechnological expertise in
the context of the increasing pressure to apply science to
    matters of biodiversity protection and conservation.

                            FReeZINg FOR the FUtURe:
              ReSeARch ON the cRyOPReSeRVAtION OF PlANt geRMPlASM

     With global markets in biomaterials         However, seeds of a significant number
     and biodiversity informatics                of species cannot be stored in this
     growing, the challenge for                  manner because they are desiccation
     developing countries such as South          sensitive, losing viability if dehydrated.
     Africa is to secure components              For species producing such seeds -
     of bio-resources and add value              commonly referred to as recalcitrant
     to them through research and                - the only method of genetic resources
     development.                                conservation is by cryopreservation in
                                                 the temperature range, -160 to -196°C,
                                                 of seed-derived entities with the
     Globally, biodiversity is under
                                                 potential to produce plants.
     considerable threat, largely as a
     consequence of human activities             The list of plants producing recalcitrant/
     to the extent that some scientists          non-orthodox seeds is ever-lengthening
     consider this to be the ‘6th extinction’.   as hitherto unexamined species are
     In response, global strategies for plant    investigated, particularly those from
     conservation emerging from the CBD          the tropics and sub-tropics. Familiar
     originally recommended that 60% of          species producing recalcitrant seeds
     threatened plant species be available in    include economically-important tropical
     ex situ collections by 2010 and, by the     crops such as litchi, mango and cocoa,
     end of 2007, approximately 30-40%           a broad spectrum of horticultural and
     of such species had been conserved          many muthi (traditional medicinal)
     ex situ globally (with about 5% used in     plants, as well as a range of forest
     recovery programmes).                       trees. Cryopreservation, which freezes
                                                 genetic resources and consequently
     The most cost-effective way of
                                                 biodiversity for the future, is the only
     conserving plant genetic resources
                                                 way to safeguard these valuable
     is as dry seeds in genebanks, where
                                                 genetic resources.
     they are stored at low temperature
     and relative humidity. Seeds which
     can be stored under these conditions        For more information contact:
     are referred to as ‘orthodox’, and          Professor Patricia Berjak
     under the correct conditions can be         Email:
     stored for decades, possibly centuries.

MOdellINg FOR the
MItIgAtION OF heAlth
EO2HEAVEN contributes to a better understanding
of the complex relationships between environmental
changes and their impact on human health. The project
will monitor changes induced by human activities, with
emphasis on atmospheric, river, lake and coastal marine

                         OF heAlth RISKS - eO2heAVeN

            O2HEAVEN will follow a               the system will indicate the risk of an
          E multidisciplinary and user-
            driven approach involving
                                                 adverse outcome among children
                                                 with asthma within the city as well as
     public health stakeholders who will         currently, and the risk for a few days
     work closely with technology and            in advance. This allows environmental
     service providers in both the earth         health practitioners to understand the
     observation and in-situ                     impacts of pollution in their areas of
     environmental monitoring domain.            management, for health services to
                                                 predict the increased attendances of
     The result of this collaboration will
                                                 asthmatic children at clinics and for
     be the design and development of
                                                 parents and teachers to act when
     a GIS-based Spatial Information
                                                 conditions are likely to increase the risk
     Infrastructure (SII) upon an open
                                                 for asthmatic attacks among children in
     and standards-based SII envisaged           their care.
     as a helpful tool for research of
                                                 This project is funded through the
     human exposure and early
                                                 European Union Framework 7 funding
     detection of infections.
                                                 mechanism, specifically located with
                                                 the Environment and Climate Change
     The key factors of the EO2HEAVEN
                                                 Theme (Theme 6)
     system will be:
     I.    An enhanced integration of
          remotely sensed and in-situ
          environmental measurements, and
     II. The development of models to
         relate these environmental data to
         exposure and health data. Both
         factors will directly address current
         goals of GEOSS such that the
         resulting system will be integrated
         into the GEOSS infrastructure after
                                                 A preliminary screen shot from the
         successful validation already during
                                                 proposed EO2Heaven system, colour
         the course of the project.
                                                 coding areas of increased risk from
     This multinational study includes           pollution, as detected from ground level
     partners from several European              and satellite monitors.
     countries, South Africa (UKZN
     and CSIR) and Uganda. UKZN is
     participating in the development of a       For more information contact:
     system which will inform users of the       Professor Rajen Naidoo
     current state of environmental pollution    Email:
     within eThekwini as well as predict
     the likelihood of increased exposure a
     few days in advance. Simultaneously,

     ReSeARchINg the
     ON hUMAN heAlth
     The health of communities exposed to environmental
     pollution is always adversely affected. Those within
     affected communities who are at greater risk are the
     vulnerable sub-populations – the elderly, the very young,
     pregnant females and the foetuses, adults and children
     with pre-existing disease such as asthma, chronic
     obstructive lung disease, cardiovascular disease and other
     allergic conditions.

            hanging climatic conditions    To understand the effects of
     C      increase the risk of adverse
            outcomes among these
                                           environmental pollution as a first step
                                           and then the effects of climate change,
     vulnerable sub-populations            large scale epidemiological studies
     several-fold as well as through a     have been conducted among exposed
     variety of mechanisms, including      communities. The South Durban Health
     increasing the levels of pollution,   Study (SDHS) has examined 350
     increasing the risk of absorption     schoolchildren from seven schools in
                                           the eThekwini Municipality and there
     into the human body, and
                                           has been extensive environmental
     increasing the geographical and
                                           monitoring at each of these schools.
     temporal spread.

The prevalence of reported symptoms          A prospective birth cohort study has
consistent with persistent asthma was        now also begun in which about 1 000
32%, while symptoms of wheezing              mothers will be recruited and monitored
(25%) were among the highest                 through their pregnancies with the
reported in international literature.        newborn children also monitored to at
Adjusted predicted prevalence of             least the age of five. During this period
symptom-defined persistent asthma            monitoring will also take place on
was higher in schools in the higher          environmental exposures (outdoor and
industrialised south as compared to          indoor), dietary intake, physical activity
schools in the less industrialised north     etc in both the pregnant females and
(12.2% vs. 9.6%). A similar geographic       the newborns where there will be an
difference was seen for marked airway        evaluation of health outcomes. During
hyper reactivity (8.0% vs. 2.8%).            this period, monitoring will also be
Living in south Durban presented a           possible on key climate factors such
significantly higher risk for the presence   as changes in weather and pollen
of persistent asthma (almost two fold        levels, providing a better understanding
higher) and airway hyper reactivity (two     of who is at risk and how best to
and half fold higher).                       intervene to protect young children
To better understand the origins             from developing conditions such as
of this increased risk within these          asthma, against a background of
communities, a study on birth                increasing environmental pollution and
outcomes and environmental pollution         climate change.
is underway. Unadjusted risks for low
birth weight were 3.5 times higher for       For more information contact:
those living among higher industrial         Professor Rajen Naidoo
pollution. Biochemical evidence of           Email:
oxidative stress did not vary between
north and south (Malondialdehyde
was 0.06μM and 0.07μM between
north and south respectively, while
mitochondrial depolarisation was
43.9% and 44.5% respectively).

     clIMAte chANge ANd
     SOUth dURbAN
     This multidisciplinary study is a collaboration between
     researchers in the School of Nursing and Public Health and
     the School of Environmental Sciences. The study aims to
     examine climate change impacts on the environmental
     health outcome of asthma in South Durban.

            limate changes affect air              associated with respiratory outcomes.
     C      pollution by causing
            fluctuations in meteorological
                                                   Furthermore, extensive health and
                                                   meteorological research in the region
     conditions that influence pollutant           have provided background data upon
     dispersion and through effects on             which this study will be based. The
     chemical reactions within the                 researchers plan to apply a robust
     atmosphere. Local meteorological              dataset of childhood respiratory
     patterns will evolve with expected            outcomes among a sample of
                                                   known and probable asthmatics
     climate changes and an expected
                                                   as well as children without such
     increase in the occurrence of
                                                   outcomes, together with pollutant and
     extreme events, overall warming,
                                                   meteorological datasets (spatially and
     and an increase in rainfall variability.      temporally associated with these health
     These changes in turn will influence          outcomes), to assess the relationships
     cardio-respiratory outcomes                   between meteorology and respiratory
     associated with ambient pollution             response in the study population.
     and aeroallergens which are
                                                   The health datasets include the
     prevalent in vulnerable sub-
                                                   monitoring of about 300 children
     populations, such as young                    over four three-week periods over
     children, the elderly, and those with         12 calendar months selected from
     pre-existing cardio-respiratory               low socio-economic communities
     disease.                                      with high levels of industrial pollutant
                                                   exposure and communities without
     South Durban offers an ideal site for         such exposure. Extensive pollutant
     the study of these relationships. The         measures (sulphur dioxide, particulate
     juxtaposition of industrial and residential   matter under 10 microns in diameter,
     activities, a basin-like topography           nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide)
     and regular temperature inversions            for each of the related time periods in
     provide for a study population regularly      each of the studied communities were
     exposed to pollutant concentrations

also collected. The development of
an appropriate model that describes
meteorological impacts on pollution
concentrations and respiratory
response will allow for an assessment
of the asthma morbidity impacts of
meteorological scenarios for South
Durban for the next 50 to100 years.

For more information contact:
Dr Lisa Ramsay

St lUcIA
Lake St Lucia is part of the
iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South
Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage
site. Despite efforts to maintain
this important ecosystem, its
sustainability remains uncertain.
Anthropogenic activities, including
catchment developments, water
abstractions and manipulation of
the inlet configuration, have all
impacted on the functioning of
the system over the past century.
Future climate changes are
expected to further exacerbate
the situation. These impacts have
been highlighted during the current
drought in the region which has
motivated a re-evaluation of
management decisions made in the
past and of options for the future.

Photograph by RT Taylor.

                      SUStAINAbIlIty SOlUtIONS FOR ISIMANgAlISO’S
                                St lUcIA eStUARINe lAKe

            odels for the water and salt          combined inlet with the Mfolozi but
     M budgets of the system have
       been developed and used to
                                                  this can only occur if the threat of
                                                  sedimentation due to high silt loads in
     investigate ‘what-if’ scenarios in           the Mfolozi can be managed. This in
     terms of anthropogenic                       turn requires a better understanding
     interventions over the last century.         of the mouth dynamics. Our analysis
     In particular, simulations allow us to       of the tidal hydrodynamics of the
     evaluate the effects of separating           inlet has significantly improved our
                                                  understanding of how they function
     the Mfolozi River from St Lucia on
                                                  in the context of micro-tidal, wave-
     the functioning of the system and
                                                  energetic coastlines. Overall our
     on the occurrence of the various
                                                  research suggests that the artificial
     physico-chemical states that drive
                                                  separation of the St Lucia and Mfolozi
     the biological functioning of the            inlets is by far the most significant
     ecosystem.                                   anthropogenic impact on the
                                                  functioning of the lake and that its
     In the past, when the St Lucia estuary       reversal is key to sustainability of the
     and the Mfolozi River had a combined         system. Ongoing research aims to
     inlet, the mouth was predominantly           guide future management strategies to
     open. The lake had relatively stable         best achieve this and to improve the
     water levels but had highly variable         resilience of the system.
     salinities. If the mouth closed, the
                                                  This is a project of the estuarine and
     Mfolozi flow would be diverted into the
                                                  coastal research group in CRECHE
     lake thereby reducing salinities and
                                                  (Professor Derek Stretch and graduate
     maintaining or increasing water levels.
                                                  students) and is a multi-disciplinary
     The simulations show that without
                                                  collaboration with the School of
     a linkage with the Mfolozi River, the
                                                  Biological and Conservation Sciences
     long term structure and functioning
                                                  (Professor Perissinotto, Dr Ursula
     of St Lucia is fundamentally changed.
                                                  Scharler and graduate students).
     The lake system would have a mainly
                                                  Funding from the NRF, WWF and
     closed inlet with lower average salinities
                                                  SANPAD is gratefully acknowledged.
     but with highly variable water levels.
                                                  The project is registered with the
     During dry conditions water levels
                                                  iSimangaliso Wetland Authority which
     would drop and in severe cases lead to
                                                  is the custodian of this World Heritage
     desiccation of large portions of the lake
     as has recently been observed.
     Our models further suggest that a
     management strategy to artificially          For more information:
     import additional freshwater into            Professor Derek Stretch
     the lake could alleviate some of the         Email:
     negative effects of dry periods but
     is unlikely to have much impact on
     maintaining an open mouth. The
     latter is linked to the restoration of a

ISt ecO lANS
The Department of Information Systems and Technology
(IST) is an academic department within the college of
Law and Management Studies. As one of the biggest
academic computing facilities on campus attention has
been steered towards the environmental impact of o
teaching and learning facilities, in particular electricity
resource consumption and e-Waste.

       he grand plan is to create a       outside of academia in the form of the
 T     sustainable off-the-grid
       infrastructure by utilising
                                          exposure provided to students who,
                                          in turn carry their experiences to the
wasted natural resources such as          corporate environment thus starting a
solar and wind power to power our         chain of subsequent actions.
lighting, computer Training and File      Also envisaged is an i-Gym concept.
Server services.                          This is intended to highlight a visible
                                          open space within one of the LAN
Our current project is to create a        Facilities we intend equipping with
Proof of Concept using a single LAN       items of cardio gym equipment retro-
possibly powered by solar panels and      fitted with power generating dynamo
wind power generators mounted on M        modules to provide a power feed into
Block at the Westville Campus building.   our central bank of power storage.
These devices are intended to feed        The idea behind the i-Gym concept is
generated power to a bank of batteries    not just to primarily save power but to
which would in turn feed into the LAN     rather illustrate to students and staff
via an inverter system.                   the relationship between work and
Whilst this project is still in the
preliminary planning and quotation        By enabling sustainable energy on our
phase, there would be significant         campus and through our department’s
advantages if IST could receive           innovative implementation, we believe
experiential expertise and financial      we will make a difference one institution
backing to create this Proof of           at a time.
Concept which will subsequently
serve as a functional example of how      For more information contact:
sustainable energy can be employed        Ashwen Singh
within Academic Computing Facilities      Email:
and thus be a beacon to other
organisations wishing to follow suit.
This initiative would potentially also
have a domino effect on Industries

     clIMAte chANge ANd
     INtegRAted wAteR
     ReSOURceS ReSeARch IN
     SOUth AFRIcA
     Climate change poses serious risks to the water resources,
     agricultural and environmental sectors. This calls for
     global, regional and local responses which need to be
     designed in an integrated and adaptive manner in order
     to find sustainable and relevant solutions for South Africa.
     This requires an appropriate valuation of South Africa’s
     finite resources, a forward-looking learning approach and
     a better understanding of the complex feedback loops
     that characterise the biophysical environment.

            he impact of climate change   international and local groups to
      T     on the above sectors in
            South and Southern Africa
                                          ensure the most recent information
                                          (e.g. climate projections) and
     has been a focus of research at      techniques are used.
     UKZN since the 1980s. Hence,
     extensive experience has been        Experience has been gained in
     gained and is being extended and     assessing changes in climatic
     widened through numerous             drivers (e.g. rainfall, temperature,
     projects funded by the Water         evaporative demand) and the
     Research Commission of South         associated biophysical responses
     Africa (e.g. K5/1430, K5/1562,       (e.g. transpiration, soil moisture,
     K5/1843, K5/1961, K5/1965), the      groundwater recharge, streamflow
     National Research Foundation (e.g.   quantity and quality, reservoir storage,
     UID 68356, UID68737), the            crop growth, shifts in optimum
                                          cropping areas, pests and nutrient
     International Development
                                          cycling) at various spatial scales (e.g.
     Research Centre (e.g. IDRC Grant
                                          catchment, national). The implications
     104150-001) and through many
                                          of these changes for various sectors
     international projects (e.g. IPCC,   and in terms of policy and governance
     IGBP, International Dialogue on      at local, provincial and national scales
     Water and Climate). Furthermore      are also being assessed.
     we collaborate with numerous
                                          Some of the key general findings are:

•	 Each hydrological system is unique
    with its own complexities and
    pressing problems.
•	 Consideration of land use and
    ecosystem services is crucial.
•	 As some components of the
    hydrological system were found
    to be more sensitive than others,
    some areas are likely to become
    ‘winners’ others ‘losers’ for certain
    projected changes.
•	 The transitional zone between
    winter and summer rainfall is highly
    sensitive to change.
•	 An increase in the year-to-year
    variability of hydrological responses
    is shown.
•	 A limited understanding of the
    causes of climate change and its
    impacts on South African water
    resources prevails.
•	 Fine scale info is required at local
    decision making level
•	 Scientific climate change
    knowledge and information cannot
    be easily translated into day-to-day
    decision making processes.

For more information contact:
Professor Roland Schulze

     MOdellINg dAIly
     RAIN-gAUge NetwORK
     UNdeR chANgINg
     clIMAte SceNARIOS
     FUNdeR: wAteR ReSeARch cOMMISSION

     The purpose: To establish a link between expected
     rainfall, as measured by multiple rain-gauge networks,
     hydrological responses and climate change.

            escription: Given the high           Whilst water resource managers
     D      probability of a non-linear
            changing climatic future
                                                 may be missing out on realisable
                                                 benefits through lack of awareness
     (globally), continued hydrological          of useful products and levels of skill
     modelling that is based purely on           of prediction tools already available,
     historical data and does not                there is still undoubtedly much room
     adequately take account of future           for improvement with regard to the
     climatic scenarios, may no longer           knowledge and tools that are essential
                                                 to meeting needs and expectations
     be valid. Hence, monthly stream-
                                                 of water resource managers. Hence,
     flow modelling should be based on
                                                 water resource managers may have
     stochastic rainfall runoff modelling
                                                 to continuously adapt and avoid
     that is coupled with predicted              maladaptation and at the same
     future climatic variability or change.      time keep options available to take
                                                 advantage of beneficial developments.
     Over the years, the WRC has
                                                 With regard to climate change, in
     supported a number of investigations
                                                 particular, we are entering a phase
     into statistical and modelling
                                                 during which the impacts of climate
     approaches to climate (including
                                                 change are expected to be manifested
     climate change) forecasting, and of
                                                 to an ever-increasing degree with
     protocols for using available forecasting
                                                 passage of time. Yet, little convincing
     tools to produce probabilistic forecasts
                                                 evidence has as yet been presented
     with the highest possible degree
                                                 of changes in local rainfall patterns
     of reliability (skill) under the current
                                                 that are attributable to climate change.
                                                 Furthermore, there needs to be a

Extreme rainfall frequencies at a gauge in the Cape conditioned on Circulation
Patterns – colours of lines match borders of CPs at the left. The black line is the
unconditioned total response.

greater level of certainty attached to
projections of future rainfall patterns
before water resource managers can
have confidence in the appropriateness
of any management responses they
may feel obliged to adopt. The rationale
for this project is to explore ways in
which systematic changes in the spatial
patterns of rainfall at the daily or event
scales can be:
i.    detected with greater certainty
ii.   linked to climate change
iii. predicted more confidently and
iv. translated more appropriately into
    changes in runoff patterns.

For more information contact:
Professor Geoff Pegram

     PROject AIMed At PRe-
     VAlIdAtION OF A gMeS
     glObAl wAteR ScARcIty
     FUNdeR: eU FP7

     The purpose: Using remote sensing and ground
     monitoring where available, GLOWASIS will guide
     earth observation scientists to efficient innovation for
     the specific purpose of water scarcity assessment and

            escription: The main             can be promoted, but also directly
     D      objective of project
            GLOWASIS is to pre-validate
                                             matched to user requirements.

     a GMES Global Service for Water         By creating the user-scientist
     Scarcity Information. In European       community, GLOWASIS will guide
     and global pilots on the scale of       earth observation scientists to efficient
     river catchments, it will combine       innovation for the specific purpose
     in-situ and satellite derived water     of water scarcity assessment and
     cycle information and more              forecasting. By linking water demand
     government-ruled statistical water      and supply in three pilot studies with
     demand data in order to create an       existing systems (EDO and PCR-
     information portal on water scarcity.   GLOBWB) for medium- and long-term
                                             forecasting in Europe, Africa and
     This portal will be made
                                             worldwide, GLOWASIS’ information
     interoperable with the WISE-RTD
                                             will contribute both in near-real time
     portal. More awareness for the
                                             reporting for emerging drought events
     complexity of the water scarcity        as well as in provision of climate
     problem will be created and             change time series.
     additional capabilities of satellite-
                                             By combining complex water cycle
     measured water cycle parameters
                                             variables, governmental issues and

The image shows Soil Moisture estimated over South Africa on 5 June 2011 using
the PyTOPKAPI hydrological model we developed. This estimate is useful for
validating remote sensing estimates.

economic relations with respect to          agricultural and industrial water use
water demand, GLOWASIS will aim for         and demand (statistical – AQUASTAT,
the needed streamlining of the wide         SEEAW and modelled) and additional
variety of important water scarcity         water-cycle information from existing
information. Infrastructure is set up for   global satellite services.
dissemination and inclusion of current
and future innovative and integrated
                                            For more information contact:
multi-purpose products for research
                                            Professor Geoff Pegram
and operational applications. The
service will use data from GMES Core
Services LMCS Geoland2 and Marine
Core Service MyOcean (e.g. land use,
soil moisture, soil sealing, sea level),
in-situ data from GEWEX initiatives (i.e.
International Soil Moisture network),

     AT UKZN

cOllege OF
ANd ScIeNce
In the College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science at UKZN, there are a number
of undergraduate and postgraduate
programmes that incorporate the varied
aspects/disciplines which relate to and
impact on climate change. UKZN is a
recognised Centre of Excellence in Water
and is home to a range of experts in the
field of water resources management. It
recently launched the Umgeni Water Chair
of Water Resources Management which
will build on its core strengths of water
quality and sanitation, water resources
management and hydrology. It will focus
on educating and training graduates to
meet the ever pressing water management
challenges of the country.

         lso, the new eThekwini Chair of Urban
 A       Infrastructure will focus on coastal
         engineering, a key strength of the
eThekwini Municipality. The only other
institution in South Africa that is known for its
proficiency and expertise in this field is
Stellenbosch University.
Last year, a collaborative initiative between
UKZN and Karebo Power Projects, a
Johannesburg-based engineering company,
resulted in the Integrated Renewable Energy
Application Programme (I-REAP). The realities
of climate change demand that the country
move away from its high dependence on coal

     to more renewable sources of power.         improved food security, with the
     The UKZN-Karebo partnership aims            ultimate aim of alleviating hunger in
     to address this issue by establishing       Africa. It tackles one of Africa’s most
     a multidisciplinary Renewable Energy        serious problems: how to create high
     Technology Centre which will:               yielding, locally adapted varieties of the
     promote excellence in sustainable           important food crops.
     energy research and technological           Accelerated agricultural growth is
     development; foster scholarship             imperative for alleviating poverty and
     and skills transfer, and create and         providing food security to millions of
     disseminate knowledge on renewable          rural people on the continent. The ACCI
     energy.                                     students take on this challenge against
     This Centre will be the first of its kind   the backdrop of unstable economic
     in southern Africa as it will focus on      systems, rising food prices and input
     energy from waste which will be used        costs, diminishing soil health, climate
     for electricity generation, transport       changes and civil conflict. However, the
     fuel and for heating and cooling. All       ACCI has developed a novel curriculum
     other renewable energy centres in the       and process to empower African plant
     country focus primarily on solar or         breeders so they can address the
     wind power and do not offer specific        issues of food security and ultimately
     expertise on the broader field of waste-    contribute to changing the face of
     to-energy.                                  Agriculture in Africa.
     UKZN’s Pollution Research Group,
     which recently received substantial           Programmes
     funding and support from the Bill
     & Melinda Gates Foundation, has             BSc majoring in:
     been conducting contract research
     into urban and industrial water
                                                 •	 Ecology
     management since 1970. Its research         •	 Geography
     is grounded in the realities of service     •	 Hydrology
     delivery to the unserved communities        •	 Plant Pathology
     and it has provided extensive scientific
     support to the water and sanitation
                                                 •	 Soil Science
     division of the eThekwini Municipality,     BSc in:
     located in KwaZulu-Natal.                   •	 Biological Sciences
     Environmental change is taking              •	 Environmental Science (Earth
     place much faster than the capacity             Science Stream)
     of millions of small scale farmers to       •	 Environmental Science (Life
     adapt, using their current crops and            Science Stream)
     technologies. Active intervention is
     critical, based on predicted changes,       •	 Geography and Environmental
     derived from climate models. UKZN’s
     African Centre for Crop Improvement         •	 Geological Sciences (Environmental
     (ACCI) - the first of its kind in Africa        & Engineering Geology)
     – trains African PhD students in the        •	 Industrial and Applied
     applied breeding of African crops               Biotechnology
     for increased drought tolerance and
                                                 •	 Marine Biology

  Programmes (continued)

BSc in Agriculture
BSc in Agricultural Management            For more information contact:
Bachelor of Agriculture in Agricultural   Undergraduate
extension                                 Science & Agriculture:
BSc Engineering                           Mrs Jacquie Whyte
                                          Tel: 033 260 5184
Postgraduate Diploma in Food Security
                                          Ms Ranitha Ramdeyal
Postgraduate Diploma in Rural
                                          Tel: 031 260 7434
Resources Management
                                          Ms Cathi Bond
MScEng in Environmental Engineering       Tel: 031 260 3218
MScEng in Civil Engineering               Email:
Master of Science (research)              Postgraduate
Master of Science (coursework) in         Science & Agriculture
Environmental Science                     Mrs Michelle Francis
Master of Science in Agriculture:         Tel: 033 260 6243
Agricultural & Environmental    
Instrumentation (coursework)              Miss Trissica Revashunkar
Master of Science in Agriculture          Tel: 031 260 3220
Master of Science in Agricultural
Management                                Engineering
                                          Mrs Fiona Higginson
Master of Agriculture                     Tel: 031 260 1668
Master of Environmental Management        Email:
Master of Marine and Coastal
Master of Science in Engineering:
Electrical Power and Energy Systems
PhD programmes

cOllege OF heAlth
Climate change can affect a person’s health in many ways such as heat-related
problems, skin cancer and cataracts, injury and infectious disease as a result of
increased flooding, respiratory disease, insect-borne disease, food poisoning
and anxiety and depression linked to physical and economic insecurity.

       n 2009, the World Health            with negative implications for the
  I    Organization released the
       following statement: ‘Climate
                                           achievement of the health-related
                                           Millennium Development Goals and for
change will affect, in profoundly          health equity. It is therefore essential to
adverse ways, some of the most             formulate a clear response in order to
fundamental determinants of health:        protect human health and ensure that
food, air and water. The warming of the    it is placed at the centre of the climate
planet will be gradual, but the            debate.’
increasing frequency and severity of       Computer modelling allows
extreme weather events, such as            for projections of impacts on
intense storms, heat waves, droughts       the environment, however, the
and floods, will be abrupt and the         epidemiological studies required to
consequences will be acutely felt.         develop models of health outcomes
‘The earliest and most severe threats      associated with climate change are
are to developing countries,               limited.
Some of the likely public health effects of climate change are:

 Health Effect                             Climate Change Cause
 Malnutrition and associated diseases      Drop in crop yields due to increasing
 resulting in growth and development       temperatures
 disorders among children
 Heat related morbidity and mortality      Rising temperatures
 (heat stress and heat strokes)
 Water borne diseases, diarrhoeal          Coastal flooding and increase rainfall
 Adverse cardiovascular outcomes           Increase in levels of ozone
 Adverse respiratory outcomes              Increase in the levels of ozone and
                                           other ambient pollutants
 Cold related deaths                       Extremely cold winters in northern
 Infectious diseases: Dengue, Malaria,     Temperature rise and rainfall increase
 Lyme and tick borne diseases
 Food poisoning                            Increase in temperature

     The College of Health Sciences at
     UKZN offers a range of courses in        For additional information on the
     public health. Specialising in any of    postgraduate programmes offered
     these courses, enables research in       by the Nelson R Mandela School of
     climate change and its impact on         Medicine, contact:
     public health. A Bachelor’s degree,      The Deputy Dean: Postgraduate
     enables specialisation in research in    Professor Fanie Botha
     Public Health through a Postgraduate     Tel: +27-31-260 4613 or
     Diploma, a Masters Degree in   
     Medicine, a Master in Public Health or
     a PhD.

cOllege OF lAw ANd
Environmental Law                          The following modules will be
                                           presented in the programme:
The School of Law offers a                 •	 Land Use and Planning Law
coursework LLM programme                   •	 Natural Resources Law
in Environmental Law on both
the Howard College and the                 •	 Pollution Control Law
Pietermaritzburg Campuses. The             •	 International Environmental Law
programme aims to develop an
                                           Depending on circumstances and
expert knowledge of South African
                                           demand, the following modules are
Environmental Law, and to provide          also available:
students with the opportunity to
make extensive use of comparative          •	 Ocean and Coastal Law
materials.                                 •	 Wildlife Law
        he programme consists of four      A Centre for Postgraduate Legal
 T      taught modules, and a
        dissertation of between 20 000
                                           Studies has been established within
                                           the School of Law on the Howard
and 25 000 words. It is offered on a       College Campus to offer a supportive
full-time basis on the Pietermaritzburg    environment in which postgraduate law
Campus and a part-time basis on the        students may conduct their research
Howard College Campus. Three               and writing. There are six offices and
modules are presented in the first         15 computers, a discussion room
semester and one in the second (PMB),      where students may engage in group
with part-time (HC) students registering   projects and interact socially. The aim
for two modules in the first semesters     is to provide a welcoming environment
of both years. Students are required to    which promotes serious and relevant
register for the dissertation in the       legal research as well as interactive
second semester of the year.               learning. The Centre is an innovation
In order to best accommodate our           unique in South African Law Schools.
target group, the mode of delivery will
involve teaching in blocks, at least for
                                           For further information contact:
those modules offered to part-time
                                           The Postgraduate Officer: Howard
students. The examinations will be
                                           College Campus
written at the end of each semester.
                                           Tel: 031-260 3046 or
                                           The School of Law: Pietermaritzburg
                                           Tel: 033-260 5014 or

     cOllege OF hUMANItIeS
           he College is committed to          •	 B Soc Sc International Studies
      T    intellectual development in
           Africa and the rest of the
                                               •	 B Soc Sc Philosophy, Politics &
     world. It aims to achieve this            •	 B Social Work
     through teaching and learning,            •	 Post-Graduate
     research, curricula transformation        •	 Anthropology
     and community engagement.                 •	 Architecture
                                               •	 Community Development
     The College consists of six Schools:      •	 Computer Science
     •	 School of Religion, Philosophy &       •	 Cultural and Heritage Tourism
                                               •	 Development Studies
     •	 School of Arts                         •	 Economic History
     •	 School of Social Sciences              •	 Education Leadership,
     •	 School of Applied Human Sciences            Management and Policy
     •	 School of Built Environment &          •	   Ethics Studies
        Development Studies
                                               •	   Geographical Sciences
     •	 School of Education                    •	   Geography and Environmental
     We recognise the links between                 Management
     climate change and the social and civil   •	   Global Studies
     development of society. The College of    •	   Government, Business and Ethics
     Humanities offers several programmes
     across a number of various disciplines
                                               •	   Health Promotion
     aimed at producing competent              •	   Housing
     graduates who can make an impact          •	   Policy and Development Studies
     in their given field. Our undergraduate   •	   Political Science
     and post-graduate programmes are          •	   Politics, Philosophy, Economics
     designed to foster critical analytical    •	   Population Studies
     thinking that may lead to progressive     •	   Public Policy
                                               •	   Social Work
     Our relevant programmes include:          •	   Sociology
     Undergraduate                             •	   Town and Regional Planning
     •	 B A Cultural & Heritage Tourism        •	   Urban and Regional Planning:
     •	 B A International Studies                   Development Planning,
                                                    Environment and Planning
     •	 B A Philosophy, Politics & Law
     •	 B Architectural Studies
     •	 B Community & Development              For further information contact:
          Studies                              The College of Humanities on Tel:
     •	   B Soc Sc Geography &                 031-260 3728.
          Environmental Management
     •	   B Soc Sc Government, Business
          & Ethics
     •	   B Soc Sc Housing

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