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UKZN Autumn Graduation 2023

The University of KwaZulu-Natal held the Autumn Graduation Ceremonies between 3 and 13 May 2023, and a number of CWRR students received their hard-earned degrees. To all our graduates, we say:


CWRR Alumni Awarded Doctorate

Dr Robyn Horan was awarded her PhD in Hydrology and her thesis was titled: “Development and Assessment of an Integrated Large-Scale Hydrological Modelling Tool for Water Resources Management in the Cauvery Catchment, India”. She was supervised by Prof. Jeff Smithers, Dr David Clark and Dr Thomas Kjeldsen. Robyn’s work focused on the development of a hydrological modelling tool to account for specific natural and anthropogenic phenomena experienced in Indian catchments.

Robyn began her undergraduate degree at UKZN in 2014, despite basically “growing up” on campus. Her journey started in the discipline of Engineering but Hydrology always had a stronghold on her heart and in 2016, she graduated with a BSc in Hydrology and Soil Science and in 2017, Honours cum laude in Hydrology.

During her time working on projects in India, Robyn identified a significant issue she wanted to tackle and in 2020, she got the opportunity to use what she had learnt working in developing countries to develop her PhD concept. During this time, Robyn moved from UKCEH to a leading global multi-disciplinary software company, Autodesk, to work as a technical specialist in their water sector, which focuses on the European, African, Middle East and Indian regions.

Dr Horan is a bona-fide Hydrologist trained within the CWRR and this achievement reflects her motivation, tenacity and perseverance. Robyn would like to thank her family, friends, fiancé and the CWRR for their continued support. It really is the fairytale ending to nine official but in reality, a 28 year association at UKZN through her proud father, Mark Horan.

Research On Underutilised Crops Earns Early Warning Specialist Doctorate

Dr Hillary Mugiyo was awarded his PhD degree in Crop Science, with his thesis titled: “Crop Suitability Mapping for Underutilised Crops in South Africa”. His research was supervised by Prof. Mabhaudhi, together with Dr Chimonyo, Mr Kunz and Prof. Modi, and was funded by a WRC project that ended in 2022. He is currently employed by the Ministry of Agriculture in Zimbabwe as an early warning specialist and will travel to Washington, DC (US) this year to present his research at the ICAS IX conference (click here for more info).

Research Into Water Productivity Of Sweet Potatoes Results In MSc For Future Academic

Thando Mthembu was awarded his MSc degree in Hydrology. His dissertation is ti- tled: “Assessing the Water Productivity of Sweet Potato (Ipomoea Batatas (L.) Lam.)”, which was supervised by Mr Kunz and Prof. Mabhaudhi. He began his PhD study in March under the supervision of Dr Gokool and Mr Kunz. His research focus- es on applications of an underutilised indigenous crop database and forms part of a WRC-funded project that started in April 2023. He also plans to pursue a career in academia and research. For more information on his achievement, click here).

Water-Energy-Food Nexus Research Yields MEng for CWRR Graduate

Nosipho Dlamini was awarded her MSc degree in Agricultural Engineering. Her dis- sertation was titled: “Developing Integrated Climate Change Adaptation Strate- gies using the Water-Energy-Food Nexus Approach: A Case Study of the Buffalo River Catchment, South Africa“, which was supervised by Dr Senzanje and Prof. Mabhaudhi. The project allowed her to explore her academic areas of interest, including climate change and sustainable natural resource management. She received support through the Department of Higher Education and Training’s Nur- turing Emerging Scholars Programme (NESP), which also enables her to participate in a one-year internship in academia and research.

CWRR Alumni Awarded MSc for Research into Design Flood Estimation in Urban Areas

Zama Ndlovu was awarded her MSc degree in Hydrology. Her dissertation is titled: “Assessing and Improving the Simulation of Runoff and Design Flood Estimation in Urban Areas using the ACRU and SCS-SA Models”, which was supervised by Prof. Jeff Smithers and Ms Ione Loots. The project was funded by the NRF and Umgeni Water. The study involved the development of state of the art Remote Sensing and GIS techniques and guidelines on assessing urban land cover for Hydrological mod- elling. She plans to apply this knowledge and skills in her career in environmen- tal sciences. Very well done Zama!

Research Explores The Use Of Remote Sensing Tools To Explore Drought Propagation

Trisha Sukhdeo graduated with her MSc in Hydrology. Her disserta- tion was titled: “The Evaluation and Quantification of the Drought Propagation Process Using Satellite Earth Observation Products” and was supervised by Ms Chetty and Dr Gokool. Her research indi- cated that the impacts of drought events are recognized to change as it evolves into its various types. The use of information from more than one type of drought and/or index can assist in forming a more robust understanding of the impacts associated with the propagation process and thus, facilitate the adaption of more applicable water, agriculture and drought management strategies rather than if only a single drought type was assessed.

Improved Satellite-Based Soil Moisture Estimates Earns MSc For CWRR Graduate

Kivana Naidoo graduated with an MSc in Hydrology with a focus on soil moisture estimation, which is critical for flood and drought monitoring, weather forecast- ing, and estimating crop water requirements. She implemented and evaluated a downscaling technique using Google Earth Engine and R to produce finer scale satellite-based soil moisture estimates, which were validated against the Cosmic Ray Neutron Sensor instrument. Her results showed significant potential for downscaling in producing better soil moisture estimates, which could be used to improve planning and management operations for various purposes.

Kivana was supervised by Ms Chetty and Dr Gokool.

Summa Cum Laude For Top Hydrology Student

Simon Lake graduated with a summa cum laude Honours de- gree in Hydrology. His Honours project was supervised by Mr Kunz and titled: “A Novel Approach for Mapping Areas Suitable for rainfed Production of Taro”. He is currently pursuing his MSc de- gree with Mr Kunz, which focuses on a new WRC-funded project titled: “Developing a Database and Utility Tool for Underutilised Indigenous Crops for Increased Agricultural Diversification in South Africa”. His research is a continuation of his honours pro- ject and forms part of his journey to become a researcher and lecturer. For more details on his achievement, click here.

CAES Autumn Graduation Ceremony