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CWRR Staff - Member

Mr Richard Kunz

Position:                                Research Fellow

Discipline:                             Hydrology

Centre:                                   Centre for Water Resources Research (CWRR)

School:                                   School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Campus:                                 Agriculture Campus

Room no./Building:              Room 341Z Rabie Saunders Building

Telephone:                             +27 33 260 6499




Richard Kunz has an MSc in Hydrology and is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Water Resources Research at UKZN. His research involves 1) measuring and modelling the water use and yield of specific crops, 2) land suitability mapping, and 3) modelling the impacts of land use change and climate change on hydrological and agricultural response.


(1997–1998) Basic Ambulance Assistant (Distinction), MRI, South Africa.

(1992–1993) MSc in Hydrology (Cum Laude), University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg.

(1991–1991) BSc Honours in Hydrology (Cum Laude), University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg.

(1987–1990) BSc in Hydrology (Distinction), University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg.

Current Research Projects

  • Project Leader: Developing a database and utility tool for underutilised indigenous crops for increased agricultural diversification in South Africa (WRC Project No. C2023/2024-01254)
  • Project Leader: Water use of indigenous root and tuber food crops (WRC Project No. C2019/2020-00088)
  • Project Leader: Development of datasets for multi-scale water resource assessments towards a water secure South Africa (WRC Project No. C019/2020-00205)
  • Researcher: Realisation of a system for producing annual water resource accounts on a national scale in South Africa (WRC Project No. 2022/2023-00887)
  • Researcher: Determining the water use of Cannabis in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal Provinces (WRC Project No. C2021/2022-00442)

Recently Completed Projects (2020-23)

  • The expansion of knowledge on evapotranspiration and stream flow reduction of different clones/hybrids to improve the water use estimation of SFRA species, i.e. Pinus, Eucalyptus and Acacia species: Volume 2 – SFRA Assessment Utility (WRC Project No. K5/2791; February 2023)
  • Development of production guidelines and green water use estimation of underutilised indigenous crops using available models within selected bio-climatic regions of South Africa: Volume 2 – Climate change atlas for rainfed production of selected underutilised crops (WRC Project no. K5/2717; January 2022)
  • A national assessment of potential climate change impacts on the hydrological yield of different hydro-climatic zones of South Africa (WRC Project No. K5/2833; May 2021)

Hobbies and Interests

To hopefully stay fit and healthy, I enjoy walking, hiking and running, but occasionally cycle. Recently, I read a lot of material on inverters, batteries and solar panels. The knowledge gained helped me to fully install a system in my home.

Five recent publications

  • Gokool S, Mahomed M, Kunz R, Clulow A, Sibanda M, Naiken V, Chetty K, Mabhaudhi T (2023) Crop monitoring in smallholder farms using unmanned aerial vehicles to facilitate precision agriculture practices: A scoping review and bibliometric analysis. Sustainability, 15 (4), 3557.
  • Chimonyo VGP, Chibarabada TP, Choruma DJ, Kunz R, Walker S, Massawe F, Modi AT, Mabhaudhi T (2022) Modelling neglected and underutilised crops: A systematic review of progress, challenges and opportunities. Sustainability, 14, 13931.
  • Mugiyo H, Chimonyo VGP, Kunz R, Sibanda M, Nhamo L, Masemola CR, Modi AT, Mabhaudhi T (2022) Mapping the spatial distribution of underutilised crop species under climate change using the MaxEnt model: A case of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Climate Services, 28, 100330.
  • Nhamo L, Paterson G, van der Walt M, Moeletsi M, Modi A, Kunz R, Chimonyo V, Masupha T, Mpandeli S, Liphadzi S, Molwantwa J, Mabhaudhi T (2022) Optimal production areas of underutilized indigenous crops and their role under climate change: Focus on Bambara groundnut. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 6, 990213.
  • Masanganise J, Kunz R, Clulow AD, Mabhaudhi T, Savage MJ (2022) Evapotranspiration estimates of soybean using surface renewal: Comparison with crop coefficient approach, Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, 128, 103244.
  • Gokool S, Kunz RP and Toucher M (2022) Deriving moderate spatial resolution leaf area index estimates from coarser spatial resolution satellite products. Remote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment, 26, 100743.