Inaugural Lecture: Professor Neil Armitage

10 October 2018 | From Kgethi

Dear colleagues and students

I write to cordially invite you to the next Vice-Chancellor’s Inaugural Lecture, which will be presented by Professor Neil Armitage, Professor of Civil Engineering and deputy director of the Future Water research institute at the University of Cape Town (UCT). The lecture is titled “After the water crisis: How to turn Cape Town into a water-sensitive city”.

Earlier this year, the announcement of Day Zero by the City of Cape Town – when the taps would be turned off and people would be required to queue for water – led to many questions. Was Cape Town going to be the first major city to run out of water? It certainly made Capetonians aware of the need to get serious about saving water. To their credit, the City and the Western Cape Government worked tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the water flowing, while most Capetonians got into the spirit of saving and learned how to make use of non-potable water. Agriculture made considerable sacrifices as well.

Now that we have had a more normal rainy season, the ‘big six’ dams have recovered to an extent, and the water crisis seems to be improving. What should Cape Town – and Capetonians – be doing to avoid a Day Zero in the future? This, and other matters, will be discussed during the lecture.

Professor Armitage teaches water engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering. He played a leading role in introducing the concepts of sustainable drainage systems and water sensitive design to South Africa. He holds BSc(Eng), MSc(Eng) and PhD degrees from the universities of KwaZulu-Natal, Cape Town and Stellenbosch respectively. He is a professional engineer, registered with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) and has more than 33 years’ experience – both as a consultant and an academic – in a wide range of water-related engineering.

He has been employed by UCT since 1995, initially as a senior lecturer, then from 2005 as an associate professor, and from 2015 as a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering. He served as deputy dean for undergraduate affairs in the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment from 2011 to 2012 and as head of the Department of Civil Engineering from 2012 to 2017. He co-founded the Future Water research institute in 2015. He has authored or co-authored some 100 publications and has supervised 19 master’s students and three PhD students. In 2013 he received the South African Water Research Commission’s award for human capital development in the water and science sectors.

The Future Water research institute – through the Urban Water Management research unit – has been working with the South African Water Research Commission for more than 10 years in a bid to guide South African towns and cities towards greater water sensitivity.

Do not miss this opportunity to hear from Professor Armitage as he discusses what the water scenario means for Cape Town – and Capetonians.

When: Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Where: Lecture Theatre 2, Kramer Law Building, Middle Campus, UCT

Time: 17:30 (doors open at 17:00)

RSVP: Please confirm your attendance online by Tuesday, 16 October.

For further information, please email or phone 021 650 4847.

Please note: Due to limited space, seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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