Prof Jeff Smithers

Prof Jeff Smithers

Tel: +27 33 260 5490

Email: Prof Jeff Smithers


School of Engineering

University of KwaZulu-Natal


Private Bag X01



Professor of Bioresources Engineering, interim Umgeni Water Chair and Director of CWRR.


Prof Jeff Smithers graduated with a BSc Engineering (Agricultural) degree in 1982 and completed his MSc Engineering in 1984, both degrees awarded by University of Natal. After completing his National Service, he worked as an Engineer in the Directorate of Agricultural Engineering, Department of Agriculture. He joined the University of Natal in 1989 as Senior Research Fellow to work on research contracts in the hydrological field. After being employed on research contracts for more than 10 years, he joined the permanent lecturing staff as a Senior Lecturer in 2001.

He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2002 and appointed as Professor of Agricultural Engineering in 2004. He was Head of the School of Bioresources Engineering and Environmental Hydrology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal from July 2002 to June 2011. He is an adjunct Professor in the National Centre of Engineering in Agriculture, Faculty of Engineering and Surveying, University of Southern Queensland in Australia.

His research interests include engineering & design hydrology, hydrological modeling, and efficient and sustainable water and energy utilization in agricultural production systems.

Prof Smithers is a registered professional engineer, is a fellow of the South African Institute of Agricultural Engineers (SAIAE) and currently serves on the National Council of the SAIAE.


PhD (Engineering), University of Natal, 1999
Thesis Title: Development and evaluation of techniques for the estimation of short duration design rainfall in South Africa

MSc Engineering, University of Natal, 1984
Thesis Title: A computer control system to optimise tractive efficiency

BSc Engineering (Agric), University of Natal, 1982

Current Research Projects

  • Water Resources Modelling and Allocation [Funding NRF: 2012-2013]
  • Development and assessment of systems for sugarcane trash recovery for electricity cogeneration [Funding SASRI: 2012-2014]
  • Energy use efficiency and carbon footprint of primary energy used in sugarcane production [Funding SASRI: 2012-2014]
  • Revision and updating of design flood estimation techniques for SA [ Funding NRF: 2012-2014]


Recent Publications

  • Knoesen, D.M., Smithers, J.C., 2008. The development and assessment of a regionalised daily rainfall disaggregation model for South Africa. Water SA, 34(3): 323-330.
  • Knoesen, D.M., Smithers, J.C., 2009. The development and assessment of a daily rainfall disaggregation model for South Africa. Hydrological Science Journal, 54(2): 217-233.
  • Moult, N.G., Lecler, N.L., Smithers, J.C., 2009a. A Catchment Scale Irrigation Systems Model For Sugarcane II: Model Application. Water SA, 35(1): 29-36.
  • Moult, N.G., Lecler, N.L., Smithers, J.C., Clark, D.C., 2009b. A Catchment Scale Irrigation Systems Model For Sugarcane I: Model Development. Water SA, 35(1): 21-27.
  • Chetty, K., Smithers, J.C., 2011. An assessment of scale issues related to the configuration of the ACRU model for design flood estimation. Hydrology Research, 42(5): 401-412.
  • Smithers, J.C., 2012. Review of Methods for design flood estimation in South Africa. Water SA, 38(4): 633 – 646.