Keynote Speakers

Prof Hubert Savenije

Emeritus Professor of Hydrology, Delft University of Technology former President of the International Association for Hydrological Sciences (IAHS), 2013‐2017 former Chief Executive Editor of Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS), 2004-2016 


Prof. Savenije was born in the Netherlands and studied at the Delft University of Technology, where he obtained his MSc in Hydrology in 1977. As a young graduate hydrologist, he worked for six years in Mozambique, where he developed a theory on salt intrusion in estuaries and studied the hydrology of international rivers. From 1985-1990 he worked as an international consultant, mostly in Asia and Africa. He joined academia in 1990 to complete his PhD in 1992. In 1994, he was appointed Professor of Water Resources Management at the IHE (now UNESCO-IHE, Institute for Water Education) in Delft, the Netherlands. In 1999, he became Professor of Hydrology at the Delft University of Technology, where he headed the Water Resources Section. He is one of the founding fathers of WaterNet, the Water Sector Capacity Building Network in Southern Africa. Since 2018 he is emeritus Professor at TU Delft. He holds the Alexander von Humboldt and Darcy medals of the European Geosciences Union, is Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and is recipient of the International Hydrology Prize (Dooge Medal) of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences



Dr Tendai Sawunyama

Acting Executive Manager: Water Resources Management Inkomati-Usuthu Catchment Management Agency


Dr Tendai Sawunyama is a Water Resources Engineer, currently an Acting Executive: Water Resources Management and is also leading the division of Resource Planning and Operations at Inkomati-Usuthu Catchment Agency in South Africa. Dr Sawunyama has experience in transboundary catchment management as an academic and specialist in the government sector. He has worked on projects related to information systems, guideline development, decision support systems, prediction tools, technologies and methodologies that support protection of water resources and equitable allocation of water to meet the needs of the environment, social and economic development. He has participated in multi country studies as a lead hydrology expert and study leader in Southern Africa. As a Water Resources Specialist, Dr Sawunyama, has been supporting the Technical Joint Water Commissions of the Republics of South Africa, Mozambique and Kingdom of Eswatini to reach amicable decisions on water resources planning. He has also published several academic papers and a book (Uncertainty in Water Resources: Estimation in Southern Africa, 2010). Dr Sawunyama’ experience include working in Angola, Lesotho, Guinea, Madagascar, Mozambique, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


Dr Jane Tanner 

Head of Hydrology

Institute for Water Research

Rhodes University


Dr Jane Tanner is a hydrologist at Rhodes University. She runs hydrology research within the Institute for Water Research at Rhodes University and is the incoming Director of the African Research Universities Alliance ( Centre of Excellence in Water. Her research interests are focused on understanding the interactions between surface water and groundwater and she remains active within the hydrogeological community. A recent research theme includes socio-hydrology specifically focused on the improvement of methods for integrating social science into hydrological research to increase the impact of hydrological research on the ground.



Prof Denis Hughes 

Professor Emeritus

Institute for Water Research

Rhodes University


Awarded a PhD in a combination of the geomorphology and hydrology of floodplain inundation from the University of Wales, Aberystwth in 1978. Moved to South Africa to join the Hydrological Research Unit at Rhodes University under the leadership of Dr Andre Görgens, which later became the Institute for Water Research. Remained at Rhodes until retirement as Director of the IWR in 2017, but still remains active in both consulting and research. Research interests have been focussed on different aspects of hydrological modelling, including the practical use of models, uncertainty analysis and the regionalisation of model applications in data scarce areas of southern Africa. The main focus in recent years has been on further development and application of the Pitman model, but has also spent a lot of time developing and using an environmental flow assessment model. In 2016, Prof Hughes was awarded the IAHS/UNESCO/WMO International Hydrology Prize (Volker medal).



Dr Michele Toucher


Grasslands Node

South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON)


Michele Toucher is a scientist at South Africa Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) based at the Grasslands-Forest-Wetlands Node in Kwa-Zulu Natal. She joined SAEON in 2016 after 10 years as a lecturer in the Hydrology Department and Centre for Water Resources Research (CWRR) at University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her research focuses are using long-term observation, monitoring and detection to improve process understanding and process representation in hydrological models, and the application of hydrological models to look at the complex interactions between land use change, climate change and water resources.

Special Guest Speakers

Dr Jennifer Balatedi Molwantwa



Dr Jennifer Molwantwa was born and bred in Kagiso Township, Mogale City in the Province of Gauteng. Her career started at Pulles Howard & de Lange, later Golder Associates Africa as a research assistant and water resource consultant, respectively before joining Digby Wells Environmental as Unit Manager. She joined the Water Research Commission (WRC) in 2014 as a Research Manager responsible for water resource quality prior to being appointed Executive: Water Resource Management at the Inkomati-Usuthu Catchment Management Agency (IUCMA) where she served for five years (2016 to 2022). She holds a PhD: Biotechnology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Enterprise Management from Rhodes University. A Registered Professional Natural Scientist (Pr. Sci. Nat.) with SACNASP, a member of the Institute of Directors SA (IoDSA), she competed the International Executive Development Programme offered jointly by Wits Business School and the London School of Business. She gained extensive governance experience from serving on the Governing Board of IUCMA, the Council of the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) where she also represented Council on the University Senate. Currently, she serves on the boards of the Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) and the Environmental Assessment Practitioners Association of South Africa (EAPASA). She is also a member of the Department of Fisheries Forestry and the Environment (DFFE) Sub-Committee appointed to develop the National Implementation Plan (NIP) for the management of chemicals in South Africa. Dr Molwantwa served as a Commissioner on the 1st National Planning Commission (2010-2015), an advisory body to the President of the Republic of South Africa, that developed the National Development Plan (NDP) and Vision 2030 for the Republic of South Africa. Her passion is capacity building, skills development, and inclusion of Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDI) in the mainstream science and technology careers and economy of which water and land are integral. She believes: “the way for women to participate at all levels of the economy, science and technology, knowledge generation and business depends on the opportunities created by women before them”.