Integrated water assessment and solutions

CSIR research in this domain is crucial for the protection of national water resources and the environment from the impact of water pollution. Researchers develop robust in-situ water quality monitoring technologies to determine the origin of pollutants; methods for non-conventional and emerging water pollutants; and, ultimately, technologies for the removal of pollutants. The water resources being  monitored include rivers, streams, dams and other water courses. On the other hand, the  downstream water bodies being monitored include industrial and municipal effluents. The research done by this group provides a link between the CSIR’s work in hydro-science and integrated water and wastewater infrastructure – in the sense that it provides the quality of the available water and the needed technological interventions for the improvement of the water quality, which will ultimately inform the technology infrastructure design, operation and maintenance. The group draws on CSIR expertise in materials science for the development of water filters information and communications technology for the automation of monitoring equipment. The CSIR engages different industries that seek solutions to wastewater management and efficient water use.


Decision support for industrial bulk wastewater re-use

  • Identification of pollutants and concentrations in industrial effluents, and
  • Matching of industrial wastewater trade partners.

Localised effluent management technologies

  • Development of fit-for-purpose and localised technologies for industrial effluent management; and
  • Improved biological wastewater treatment systems for municipal small wastewater treatment plants.

Development of specified water courses monitoring methods

  • Water quality aatlas development for catchments; and
  • In-situ water quality monitoring to assist compliance with environmental regulations.

Development of analytical methods for non-conventional pollutants

  • Analytical methods validations;
  • Development of Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs); and
  • Analytical methods accreditation.


  • Microbiological water analysis
  • Chemical water analysis
  • Wastewater treatment processes
  • Toxicology knowledge
  • Environmental sciences
  • Process engineering
  • Water governance
  • Integrated water resources management


Technology or Infrastructure:

Phycoremedian technology

Potential use or value:

Improvement of the small municipal wastewater treatment systems.

Microbiology research laboratory Technology improvement, localisation and variation.
Water analysis laboratory Development, validation and accreditation methods for emerging pollutants.
Decentralised municipal wastewater treatment packaged platform Optimisation of localised domestic wastewater treatment plant.
Water chemistry/toxicology Toxicological assessment of the industrial effluent streams.
Industrial bulk water re-use decision-support tool Mapping of different industrial wastewater effluents and identification of the downstream use of the effluent, in order to make savings on water use.
In-situ water monitoring instrumentation Long-term monitoring of the impact of industrial effluent on the water resources and the environment that will inform industry on a favourable effluent disposal method or re-use.  
Dr Patrick Hlabela
+27 (12) 841 4796