30 July 2014 Volume :2 Issue :40

Strong UKZN Presence on the Water SA Journal Editorial Board

Strong UKZN Presence on the <em>Water SA</em> Journal Editorial Board
Dr Joyce Chitja, Professor Chris Buckley and Professor Graham Jewitt.

Three UKZN academics working in various disciplines related to the fields of water science, technology, engineering and policy are on the new editorial board of the journal, Water SA

This is the first time so many UKZN representatives have been selected to the board at the same time, demonstrating the strength and diversity of UKZN’s water research. 

The three researchers are: the Acting Academic Leader of the Food Security Centre at the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES), Dr Joyce Chitja; the Head of UKZN’s Pollution Research Group, Professor Chris Buckley, and Umgeni Water Chair of Water Resources Management and Director of the Centre for Water Resources Research (CWRR),  Professor Graham Jewitt.  

Water SA is the Water Research Commission’s (WRC) quarterly accredited, open-source scientific journal which publishes refereed, original work in all aspects of water related research. Launched in 1975, the journal includes articles from authors both locally and internationally. 

Working on the board enables members to guide the direction of the journal in an advisory role and shape the strategic themes of the journal during a three-year period. 

Chitja, selected to the board for the first time, is doing research in the fields of water access, livelihoods and food security of smallholder farmers on irrigation schemes.  She has been implementing a WRC project since 2010 and has PhD students working on water-related issues in Limpopo.

 ‘Serving on the board is quite a big responsibility,’ said Chitja. ‘I look forward to seeing what broader water-related research issues exist in the country and their implications for livelihoods and food security.’

Said Buckley: ‘The Editorial Board provides a high-level policy and management review function for the journal and is not directly involved in the screening or review of manuscripts.’  

Buckley, who has served on the board once before, says he wants to encourage papers to be submitted which relate to water and sanitation challenges and applicable solutions in developing countries specifically. 

‘The staff from the former University of Natal  and the University of KwaZulu-Natal have been involved in many WRC- funded research projects in a range of disciplines since the inception of the WRC more than 40 years ago. The three UKZN staff members on the Editorial Board is an indication of the breadth of water related knowledge and experience at the University and the regard with which it is held. 

‘A particular attraction of Water SA is the fact that it has always been an open access journal - even the paper copies were free to developing country readers - and thus accessible to all scientists, consultants, managers and policy makers in developing countries,’ added Buckley.

Jewitt, also serving on the board for the second time, says he is looking forward to working towards seeing the journal’s significance as an African journal highlighted. 

‘The journal, despite its breadth of readership, doesn’t have as high an impact factor as some but that is certainly not reflective of its quality or importance.’  

Their term of service is from 1 July, 2014 to 30 June, 2017. 

Christine Cuénod

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