Water resource protection

In this theme, we endeavor to make a meaningful contribution to the understanding of multiple stressors to ecological and social components of freshwater and estuarine ecosystems we care about.

This includes the development of evidence based ecological risk assessment procedures for regional scale holistic multi-stressor application where the dynamics of ecosystems are incorporated. In this theme, we have established internationally recognised ecological risk assessment and E-flow tools that have been used locally and abroad.

Within this theme we have established numerous international collaborations with scientists and institutions in North America, Europe, Australia and in Africa. In this theme, we monitor and report on the wellbeing of freshwater and estuarine ecosystems.


Dr Gordon O’Brien is the director of Rivers of Life and a lecturer at the University of Mpumalanga. He specialises in regional scale ecological risk assessments, ichthyology, environmental flow (E-flow) assessments, aquatic biodiversity, ecosystem services and water resource management. His scientific profile includes the development of and application of regional scale ecological risk assessments methodologies, and E-flow management tools and frameworks.

More about his research here. 





Melissa Wade is a Junior Researcher within AER and holds an MSc from the Univerisity of KwaZulu-Natal. She also is the Director of Enviro Energy Solutions. She’s been involved in many project with the team in the past and then decided to doing her MSc focusing on the use and protection of the lower Thukela River and estuary.






This theme also includes other team members :