College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

PhD Sets Graduate on Course to Solving Water Pollution Problems

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Dr Kayode Olowe graduated with a PhD in Civil Engineering for his research in solute transport, water distribution system analysis and mathematical water quality modelling and monitoring.

Having seen the water pollution problems facing Africa as a whole, Olowe’s research delved into the development and application of a mathematical model for predicting the concentration of nutrients such as Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate in surface water.

Based on this study, Olowe was able to develop a new water quality model that is useful in predicting the concentration of nutrients in rivers with a particular focus on the uMgeni River. ‘The developed model will be useful for government agencies in charge of river quality monitoring to have a better understanding of the level of nutrient pollution in the river. The model outputs will provide information for decision making and take active measures against nutrient pollution said Olowe.

He holds a Bachelor Engineering and Master’s in Civil Engineering from the universities of Ado-Ekiti and Ibadan in Nigeria. He conducted his PhD studies at UKZN because of the institution’s reputation for academic excellence and outstanding research output.His PhD sets him on course to achieving his future goals of being an independent scientist and acquiring new techniques to enhance his developed model to solve water pollution problems in South Africa and his home country of Nigeria.

‘I want to become an expert in my chosen area and be able to impart knowledge to different people. Furthermore, I want to be able to work with intellectual people who share a common interest with me,’ he said.

He attributes his success to his supervisor, Dr Muthukrishna Vellaisamy Kumarasamy, for his immense wealth of experience and constructive feedback throughout his research work, the Water Research Commission (WRC), the JW Nelson Endowment Fund for providing funding support for his studies as well as his parents.

‘Never give up on your dream,’ he advised students, ‘Nothing is impossible. Believe in yourself and work hard’.

Words: Christian Ishimwe

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal