CapeNature intern to address international audience

Siyasanga (Siya) Mpehle, a CapeNature intern through the Groen Sebenza programme, will be presenting her work on quantifying water resources for future planning and management at the Earth Observation for Water Cycle Science Conference in Frascati, Italy from 20-23 October 2015.

Siya Mpehle presenting at the Biodiversity Youth Unconference at the 2015 Cape Floral Kingdom Expo in Bredasdorp in August
Siya Mpehle presenting at the Biodiversity Youth Unconference at the 2015 Cape Floral Kingdom Expo in Bredasdorp in August

Siya , who comes from Bele Village outside Tsolo in the Eastern Cape, will present to an international audience of water specialists, students, researchers and representatives from various industries and academic institutions.

Siya Mpehle_CapeNature_1

Says Siya: “Together with CapeNature scientist, Dr Lesley Gibson, I will present a poster on a water research project talking about the scarcity of water in South Africa and the necessity to quantify water resources for future planning and management of water resources. Our project was done in collaboration with two researchers from Stellenbosch University and funded by the Water Research Commission.

“The conference aims at reviewing the knowledge on the hydrological cycle spatially and temporally; to promote development of advanced satellite geo-information data products; model the hydrological cycle from global to basin scale; to raise the improvement of models and data assimilation systems to support local, regional and global hydrological cycle predictions climate change impacts and development of mitigation strategies in water resources management.”

CapeNature CEO, Dr Razeena Omar, says: “We are incredibly proud of the work Siya has produced during her time at CapeNature and I am glad to see her setting an example by taking the opportunity to showcase her knowledge and experience to an international audience.

“As part of our Youth Development programme, CapeNature is an implementing agent of the Groen Sebenza programme and we are glad to see that the youth are afforded opportunities to spread the Western Cape’s conservation messages far and wide while developing their own careers.”

Siya, who is currently completing her Master’s degree in estimating evapotranspiration using remote sensing, says: “Attending this will expose me to world leaders and innovative thinkers in this field. It will also be a wonderful networking opportunity. This study may be useful to motivate for payment for water ecosystem services as a way to provide finance for good catchment management practices thereby ensuring high quality adequate water supply and flow regulation for downstream users,” adds Siya.

Speaking further on her presentation, Siya notes that models which estimate actual evapotranspiration have been developed and used in combination with the ground-based observations and remote sensing.

“In the Cape Floral Kingdom these methods are challenging due to the heterogeneous natural environment. The Penman-Monteith equation, which is a standardised method used by the Food and Agricultural Organisation for United Nations, has been used extensively in South Africa. The aim of my study is to test the sensitivity of the Penman-Monteith to remote sensing parameters.”

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