Meet the team

Prof Sylvester Mpandeli

Water Research Commission (WRC) of South Africa

Prof Sylvester Mpandeli (PhD) is an Executive Manager: Water Utilisation in Agriculture at the Water Research Commission (WRC) of South Africa since May 2018, he was a Research Manager responsible for the Water Utilisation in Agriculture  Key Strategic Area (KSA) from May 2013 to April 2018. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture at the University of Venda since August 2013.  He was recently appointed Professor Extraordinaire at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). He was the Chairman: African Regional Working Group (AFRWG) of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) from 2014 to 2017 and the Deputy Chairman: South African National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (SANCID) from 2015 to 2022. In 2022, he was elected Chairman of the South African National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (SANCID)  until 2025. He represents the South African Regional Irrigation Association (SARIA) at the International Executive Council (IEC) of ICID.  Currently, he is a board member at the Applied Centre for Climate & Earth Systems Science (ACCESS), Board member at the South African Weather Service (SAWS) from 2022 to 2024, he’s part of the Climate Change Advisory team that advises Premier of Gauteng Province in South Africa on climate change, water, and agriculture issues. He was the Chairperson of the Water JPI Advisory Board of the European Commission  from 2019 to 2023, and co-chairs the NRF – NWO Advisory Committee from 2020 to 2023. He was recently elected as Vice President of the ICID 2022 to 2025. Before joining the WRC, Prof Sylvester Mpandeli worked at the Department of Environmental Affairs as Director: Climate Change Adaptation Resource Sectors between October 2012 to April 2013. He was also a Specialist Advisor on Climate change Adaptation issues at the same Department for a period of about three years from 2009 to September 2012. He worked at the Agricultural Research Council – Institute for Soil, Climate and Water (ARC – ISCW) for 9 years (4 years as researcher focusing on Agrometeorology and then 5 years as a Programme Manager responsible for Climate Change at the same institution. He worked at the University of Pretoria, Department of Plant Production and Soil Science for two years as a Research Assistant. Prof Sylvester Mpandeli was one of the climate change adaptation negotiators at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) representing the South African government from 2006 to 2012.  He has earned the following degrees between 1997 & 2006, bachelor’s in agriculture from University of Venda 1997, two honours degrees in Horticulture and Land Use Planning from the University of Pretoria in 1998 & 2002, Master’s degree in Agronomy and Irrigation  in 2001 from University of Pretoria, he also obtained Postgraduate Diploma in Research and Development from ICRA in 2004, he obtained his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Climatology from University of Witwatersrand in 2006. He has been involved in Research & Development and Innovation for the past 25 years focusing on Agriculture, Water – Energy – Food Nexus , Agricultural Water Management etc.  His particular areas of interests are climate change adaptation, food security, water – energy – food nexus, agricultural water management etc. Prof Mpandeli has published more than 300  scientific papers, book chapters, book technical reports, popular articles  and conference/workshop proceedings.