Western Carolina University faculty members are part of a multi-institutional research team that has been organized to address water pollution concerns in South Africa.
The group includes David Kinner, assistant professor of geology; Mark Lord, head of the geosciences and natural resources department; and Jerry Miller, the Whitmire Distinguished Professor of Environmental Science. The National Science Foundation funded the team’s recent trip to South Africa, which was aimed at developing a coordinated research program to assess non-point sources of pollution in the Berg and Mkabela river basins.
The area hosts a variety of agricultural lands with crops including sugarcane, vegetables, and timber, and runoff from those lands could be affecting water quality in local streams and reservoirs.
“Our field work would be centered on trying to assess where the pollution is coming from and developing management tools to reduce the amount of pollution that can enter the water bodies,” said Miller.
Other project team members are from the University of KwaZulu-Nata; the University of Pretoria; the Institute for Soil, Climate, and Water in Nevada; the Desert Research Institute in Nevada; the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology; and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia. The South African program is currently funded by the Water Research Commission.