South Africa’s water sector issues can be overcome with a renewed public private sector partnership that prioritises technical skills. That’s the word from newly-installed WEC Projects Technical Director, Gunter Rencken, who believes South Africa’s current challenges are not insurmountable.

“Technical ability and policy direction must be in sync and other sectors have shown they can be,” says Rencken – a 32-year veteran of the local water industry.

Rencken’s PhD in Chemical Engineering was the precursor to a short stint at the Uranium Enrichment Corporation from 1982 to 1986 where he further developed the hands-on orientation that sees him perform at his best when getting to grips at the coalface of the organisation. His PhD is complemented by an MBA in Project Management from Henley Business School in the UK.

Rencken’s career history also includes time with Umgeni Water from 1986 to 1993; Debex Water (a subsidiary of De Beers) from 1993 to 1996, Envig from 1996 to 1997, USFilter from 1997 to 1999 and Veolia Water Technologies from 1999 to 2017 (14 years as Managing Director).

His professional life has him registered as a professional engineer with ECSA, a member of the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and a Fellow of WISA.

In his new position, Rencken is charged with investigating and implementing new water treatment technologies that will be of future benefit to the country at large. He also has the responsibility for investigating new markets for the company.

WEC Projects specialises in the turnkey supply of water and wastewater treatment plants, biogas to energy projects, sludge beneficiation, and operation and maintenance contracts.