year in review 2018 Paperturn - Page 142



THREE MINUTE
THESIS DOUBLE WIN
His presentation, titled “Fighting
leakage one pipe at a time”, summarises
his work on a device designed to assess
the condition of pipelines, allowing
people to detect leaks, identify the type
of leak, and assess the volume of water
being lost.
In Cape Town, where water scarcity is
still front of mind, it is timely research.
The device has the potential to impact
infrastructure throughout South Africa.
Teams of labourers can be trained to
use it, finding and reporting the leaks
and their properties. The information
collected could help determine the
best time to repair, refurbish or replace
a pipeline.
“My hope is that this work can help
... all stakeholders in the industry to
manage water infrastructure better
and reduce water that is lost through
leakage.”
As a doctoral candidate in UCT’s
Department of Civil Engineering,
Rene Nsanzubuhoro developed
a novel device that can be used to
assess the extent of leaks in sections
of pipeline systems, without the
need for costly and invasive
detection efforts.
His ability to concisely explain his
research led to him winning first
place and the People’s Choice Award
in the national Three Minute Thesis,
or 3MT, competition in Bloemfontein
in October 2018. In the competition,
PhD candidates are given just three
minutes to explain their thesis to
the public.
“Winning both was a really pleasant
surprise,” said Nsanzubuhoro. “I
believe in what I do and believe in
how important it is, and I’m glad I was
able to win by sharing my passion.”
140

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