2017 Rand Water Bursaries
Rand Water offers comprehensive bursary packages to students looking to pursue education and careers in the water industry.
Rand Water’s history is inextricably linked with that of the Witwatersrand, from which the utility also derives its name. This area of the South African Highveld is a grassy region with only summer rainfall (an average of around 780mm per year). Prior to the discovery of gold in the area, this made the Witwatersrand an excellent area for cattle and sheep farming. When gold was discovered in 1886, a gold rush was sparked off that saw a huge and rapid influx of people to the region in only a few short years. This quickly growing community would eventually develop into the city of Johannesburg. Water for the town was initially sourced from three main streams, in the areas of Fordsburg, Jeppestown, and Parktown respectively.
While gold was in ample supply on the Witwatersrand, the area fell on the watershed of two river systems, making access to water a difficulty, particularly in light of the rapidly increasing population in the region. Both the community as well as the mining industry it supported was in great need of a reliable supply of water. Following the Second Anglo-Boer War, which ended in 1902, the settlement that was then known as the Transvaal Colony was taken over by the British Government, who resolved to centralise the management of the local water resources in an effort to regulate and improve the supply of water to the community. To this end, The Witwatersrand Water Supply Commission was formed in 1901 to address the situation. On the commission’s recommendation, the Rand Water Board was formed in May of 1903 as part of the enactment of the Rand Water Board Incorporation Ordinance No. 32. The Board was initially tasked with supplying water to the towns and mines between Springs in the east and Randfontein in the west.
Initially, the Rand Water Board was made up of eleven members who were individually recommended by the Governor of the Transvaal Valley, the Town Council of Johannesburg, the governmental Chamber of Mines, and other municipalities in the area who were also covered by the newly established water supply, such as Germiston, Boksburg, Springs, Krugersdorp, and Roodepoort. As part of the enacted ordinance, all the individual companies that had previously supplied water to various areas of the Witwatersrand were amalgamated to become part of the Rand Water Board. The Board officially went into operation in 1905, and over the next few decades extended its services to other communities such as Benoni, Brakpan, Randfontein, Pretoria, and Vereeniging. By the mid-twentieth century, the number of board members, which included members from all these communities, had risen to 34.
Rand Water Bursary Program Overview
Through so doing, Rand Water’s aim is to establish a steady stream of highly qualified workers who can fill the skills deficit that exists in many aspects of this industry, ensuring that the country’s water supply can continue to be managed and improved sufficiently for many years to come.
By offering bursaries particularly to candidates from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, rural areas, as well as those with demonstrated financial need, Rand Water bursaries are intended to help with the diversification of the water industry, while also inviting a mix of unique perspectives from various backgrounds that can inform how the water supply is managed and made accessible to those who need it most.
In order to be guaranteed eligibility for a Rand Water bursary, prospective candidates should fulfil a minimum set of criteria to ensure that they have the necessary aptitude and academic standing to be awarded a bursary.
These prerequisites include South African citizenship and a valid matric certificate. Candidates should also be residents of the Gauteng or Mpumalanga provinces, be under thirty years of age, be from a previously disadvantaged background, and have not held a bursary or any other funding for tertiary education previously.
A strong academic record is required, with a minimum average of 65% across all matric subjects. Acceptance to a recognised tertiary institution for a relevant study program is another requirement. Preference is also given to female candidates and those with disabilities.
Rand Water bursaries cover the recipient’s tuition fees in full, as well as any registration and exam fees.
Accommodation and meals supplied by a residence at the institution at which the candidate is enrolled are also subsidised, as are any books or other study materials needed by the student. A stipend for day-to-day expenses is also provided.
Qualifications for which Rand Water bursaries are offered include Bachelor of Engineering or Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering, as well as Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemistry, Computer Science, and Microbiology.
Other qualifications that may be covered include those majoring in Information Systems, Human Resources, Architectural Studies, Land/Quantity Surveying, Environmental Science, and Finance, among others.
The application forms for Rand Water bursaries are available from the Rand Water website, and should be returned completed along with any supporting documents, such as ID copies, covering letter, and academic records, to the relevant email or postal address as noted on the forms themselves. Applications close on 5 October each year.