Distinguished Pioneer (Presidential TPT)
Gerrie J. Stander (1911-1997) received his MSc and PhD from the University of Witwatersrand in water chemistry with a focus on anaerobic digestion. After working in water practice for the Councils of Pretoria and East London, he accepted a position at the SA Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in 1948. At the CSIR, he led the establishment of the National Institute for Water Research in 1957 and served as its Executive Director through 1971. He then co-led the creation of the SA Water Research Commission (WRC) and served as its first Executive Director from 1971 through his retirement in 1979. In the course of his career, he led the team that established the Windhoek Water Reclamation Plant in 1968, the first of its kind in the world.
Major contributions to IWA
Gerrie was one of IAWPR’s 24 founding members in 1965, served as one of its 1st Vice Presidents before becoming the 2nd IAWPR President in 1969, succeeding Erman Pearson. He held this position through 1976, making him the longest serving President in IAWQ’s history. During his tenure as President, Gerrie also secured an interim location for the IAWPR secretariat within WRC Pretoria until a new permanent location was established in London in 1975.
Gerrie’s important creations of CSIR and WRC were instrumental in facilitating a vibrant exchange through IAWPR/IWAPRC/IAWQ of innovative thinking and practice among water professionals, not only in South Africa but in the rest of the world. Many IWA leaders in science and practice from South Africa are evidence of this, including James Barnard, Eugene Cloete, Gerrit v R. Marais, George Ekama, Willy Grabow, Piet Odendaal and Vincent Bath.
Author: Paul D. Reiter
Major Sources: WRC Water Wheel (2001) and IWA WQI