Rhodes Research Fellow wins the prestigious award

Dr Oghenekaro Nelson Odume of the Unilever Centre for Environmental Water Quality (UCEWQ) in the Institute for Water Research (IWR) was awarded the prestigious International Emerging River Professional Award at the 17th International River Symposium held in Canberra, Australia recently.

The Emerging River Professional Award (ERPA) is an initiative of the International River Foundation and was established to recognise and foster those in the early stages of their careers in river and water resource management.

The award identifies and rewards individuals who have worked in their field for 10 years or less, and have demonstrated exceptional leadership, innovation and excellence in river, basin, and water resource or river-dependent-community management.

After entrants from around the world were screened by a panel of judges of international repute, Dr Odume was one of three finalists who competed for the grand prize at a special session.

In his presentation entitled “Water Quality Management in South African Rivers – an Integrated Approach” he showcased a new research practice in which integration, collaboration and reflection are at the core of water resource management while emphasising stakeholder engagement and combining both ecological and social science approaches and methods in working towards the achievement of integrated water resources management in the context of social-ecological systems.

Dr Odume demonstrated this new way of doing water resource research in the Swartkops River catchment where he collaborated with municipal officials in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality to develop new and innovative tools for managing industrial sewage in relation to river health, and on mainstreaming environmental ethics in value system clarification in the context of multi-stakeholder engagement process.

He further emphasised the importance of mentorship and role model in water resource research attributed his achievement to the sterling leadership and guidance he received from his PhD supervisor and mentor Prof Tally Palmer, Director of the Unilever Centre for Environmental Water Quality in the Institute for Water Research. 

Source:  Communications and Marketing

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