Professor Van Zyl holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Civil Engineering and a Diploma in Scientific Computing from the University of Johannesburg, and a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Exeter (UK). He was Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering Science and held the Rand Water Chair in Water Utilisation at the University of Johannesburg before joining UCT in 2009. He is currently the Assistant Dean for Academic Development in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment.
In 1998 Professor van Zyl chaired the 10th Water Distribution System Analysis (WDSA) Conference, held in the Kruger National Park under the auspices of the American Society of Civil Engineers. This was the first time a WDSA conference had been held outside the USA.
He has twice been awarded the Best Paper prize in the Journal of the South African Society for Civil Engineering. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management (ASCE), and a member of the Editorial Boards of the Urban Water Journal and SAICE Journal. He is currently vice-chair of the Water Distribution Systems Analysis standing committee of the International Water Resources Institute of ASCE, and is a Steering Committee member of the EPANET Open Source project (www.wateranalytics.org/EPANET/).
His research focuses on water distribution systems, and his current interests include hydraulic modelling, impact of pressure on leakage, reliability of bulk supply systems and water demand management.
Professor van Zyl has published two knowledge transfer books aimed at assisting municipalities with a lack of technical knowledge. These books are available free of charge from the Water Research Commission and can be downloaded from the links below. The books are as follows:
Professor Van Zyl was instrumental in the development of the Aqualibrium water competition (www.aqualibriumcompetition.net), which is used internationally for outreach and teaching.
Undergraduate course lectures
Postgraduate course lectures
Milestones and awards