University of Kwa-Zulu-Natal hydrologist Professor Roland Schulze has been voted SA’s top water researcher in a nationwide survey.

The Water Research Futures Survey 2011/2012, completed by UCT’s Aquad’UCT organisation on behalf of the SA Water Industry, gathered information from scores of representatives in the field, including academics, consultants and officials from the Department of Water Affairs and the Water Research Commission.

One of the questions respondents were asked was who they believed had contributed most effectively to water research in SA – and Schulze was No 1.

Other UKZN researchers who featured in the Top 25 list were Graham Jewitt, 8, Simon Lorentz, 15, Jeffrey Smithers, 21, and Mark Dent,22.

Sixty-nine-year-old Schulze, an emeritus professor of hydrology and senior research associate at the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, said that he was very “chuffed” when he saw the results of the survey.

“It’s a reflection of a lifetime achievement – I have been in water research for more than 40 years, with all that time spent at UKZN.”

His research into climate change and global warming-related issues has earned him world-wide recognition as an authority in the field, with much of his time now taken up addressing gatherings on the subject in all corners of the globe.

Schulze has a long list of accolades, including being a member of the National Water Advisory Committee, a Fellow of the Royal Society of SA, and a member of the Academy of Science of SA.

He is leading several multi-institutional research projects.

“I am trying to retire officially, but am finding it very difficult,” said Schulze, who was introduced recently before a presentation to the National Business Initiative as “not retired but re-fired”.

“More and more, I am being asked to assist the government in water- and climate-related projects.

“I guess my experience is being sought and my philosophy is that, while I can, I want to share the knowledge I have gained over the years.”

Schulze paid special tribute to his wife, Waltraut, who had supported him totally during his long career. - The Mercury