Meet Keneilwe Hlahane – MSc student

Meet Keneilwe Hlahane

Keneilwe is currently registered as a MSc student at the University of Cape Town. She received funding from the South African National Space Agency, as a contribution towards the EONEMP project funding by the wrc...

I hold a BSc Honours in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and BSc Geological Science degrees. I have completed a yearlong internship at the Human science research council, the AISA science and technology division, whereby I provided GIS support within various research projects.

As a GIS assistant, my duties included but were not limited to GIS data collection and management, creation of GIS maps, research report writing and project management. I worked on water related research projects such as monitoring the effects of acid mine drainage(AMD) in the West-Rand, South Africa. I was required to undertake numerous field work studies and GIS based tasks. This exposed me to various research methods and water quality analysis practices.

"I am passionate about remote sensing research"

My research interests are in the environmental research field, particularly in the application of GIS and remote sensing methods within various research projects. I have always been a curious individual who questions things and seeks to find solutions to problems. I am also passionate about remote sensing research, writing and presenting my work at academic conferences.

I am aware of the current water challenges South Africa (SA) is facing, such as the high pollution of water resources. Research findings indicate that many inland water resources are impacted by eutrophication and cyanobacterial blooms. This makes eutrophication to be an issue of critical concern as it threatens the supply of safe drinking water in SA.

Therefore, my MSc research focuses on the application of satellite remote sensing methods, for monitoring eutrophication in the Vaal River catchment. I apply time-series methods to analyse data collected from MERIS satellite imagery. The data provides an analysis of the eutrophication status, seasonality and trends of dams located within the Vaal catchment. The output results give description of the current water quality, how it has changed in the past, and how it can be managed to minimise the effects of pollution in the catchment.

The information from this project can be used to inform water resource managers and policy makers of the pollution in our dams, and provide data to supplement ongoing monitoring programmes. The research also demonstrates the power of satellite remote sensing for monitoring water resources.