Ayesha Hamid Laher
Nationality: South African
HDI Status: Indian female
Education: BSc (Biological Sciences, University of South Africa - 2003
MSc (Water), University of North West (Potchefstroom) - 2006
Professional registration: Professional Natural Scientist (No. 400197/12)
Professional bodies: WISA, SACNASP
Year of experience: 13
Language: English (Home Language) - Afrikaans (Good)

Ayesha is a professionally registered environmental scientist in the water stream. She has 12 years’ experience in all aspects of water and wastewater treatment: treatment technologies, design, operation, maintenance, and management of water and wastewater supply system.

Her participation in various policy and planning projects including the development of the Second National Water Resources Strategy has contributed to understanding of policy, legislation, water resource planning and institutional requirements for management of the entire water cycle.

As a Lead Inspector for the Blue, Green and No Drop Certifications programs of the Department of Water and Sanitation, she has sound knowledge of best practise principles for operation and management of water and wastewater treatment systems with emphasis on risk-based procedures embodied in the Water Safety planning concept, risk-based monitoring programs and Incident Management.

Ayesha has contributed to several WRC publications including the Wastewater Risk Abatement Planning guideline and presented papers on Water Safety plans, Process Audits and risk-based monitoring programs.

She has developed leadership, management and financial skills in her position as Hub-Sector Lead of the Water Systems division of AECOM for two years and is currently the sole director of AHL Water, a water and wastewater consultancy focusing on providing holistic solution to water services challenges for commercial and municipal clients including health facilities.

Ayesha is an active member of WISA, was the chairperson of the Water Sciences Division (2017 to 2018) and is involved in social responsibility initiatives within the water industry.

  • Self-employed – Director AHL Water (Level 1 BEE, 100% female owned)

DWS Blue Drop PAT Report

Appointed by DWS (Regulations) to compile the Blue Drop Progress Assessment Tool (PAT) for 2017: moderate Blue Drop reports, write WSA regional and national overview to indicate performance and trends

Netcare review of Desalination plant

Appointed to review desalination plant to be installed at hospital in Cape Town: focus on legal compliance, operations, maintenance, design and price, company experience

Netcare review of proposed Blackwater Systems

Appointed to review proposed blackwater treatment plants for four hospitals in Western Cape: focus on legal compliance, operations, maintenance, design, acceptability.

GS Audit of treatment plant

Review of groundwater treatment plant at pharmaceutical factory (legal compliance, operations and management against norms and standards).

ERWAT Green Drop Audits

Appointed with Watergroup as consortium to conduct quarterly Green Drop audits for 19 WWTW for a period of three years. Responsible as Technical lead, Lead Inspector, development of Green Drop Improvement plants, skills development and training, quarterly reports and presentation to EXCO.

  • Murray and Roberts Water – Consultant

Appointed for 12-month period to with water and wastewater operations, maintenance, management, client liaison, marketing and development of best practise principles for containerised systems.

Conducted borehole feasibility, design review, development of risk-based monitoring program, legal compliance, risk assessment, log sheets and incident protocol for Life Health Vincent Palotti Hospital water treatment plant.

Sembcorp Silulumanzi – Review of Water Safety Plan and conduct process audits

Appointed as subconsultant to CSV Water to audit and review Water Safety plan for five supply systems and conduct process audits for three WTW as per Blue Drop requirements.

Department of Public Works- Green Drop Project

Responsible for Key Focus Area 8- Development of Green Drop Improvement Plans for 82 wastewater treatment plants and Blue Drop Improvement Plans for 11 water treatment plant. Evaluate current Green/Blue Drop status, identify gaps, develop implementation plan and determine projected scores for 10-year horizon

Bidvest SA Water/Improchem – Laboratory Testing for destruction of cyanide with ozone

Conducted lab testing on mine slurry to determine efficacy of ozone gas for destruction of cyanide to acceptable discharge limits. Awaiting approval from client to proceed with pilot-testing.

  • Hub Sector Lead: Water Systems

Operations lead for Water Systems Division comprising three sub-sectors namely Water Infrastructure Services, Treatment and Bulk, and Water Governance and Planning. Responsible for management of team including HR requirement (mentorship, performance and rewards, succession planning, training), quality management systems, H&S duties, daily operational requirement (resources, utilisation), financial management (profit & loss, monthly reports, billing and collections, EAC’s), project management (skills, time, budget, schedule, quality), compliance (ethics, contractual, due diligence, DOA) and marketing (proposal, bids, client engagements, interdepartmental bids).

  • Water Scientist 

ERWAT verification of Green Drop Score

Project manager responsible for project proposal, execution and management. Complete GD evaluation and develop improvement plan per GD criteria for 19 WWTW

  • Upgrade of Temba WTW

Acting as Client engineer, provide lead on hazop on process control for all unit processes including ozone and GAC, provide lead on process-related queries form contractor.

  • Netcare Borehole Feasibility Study

Project Director responsible for conceptualisation of study, client relations, technical lead for project. Specific deliverables include evaluation of water quality, treatment technologies and legislative review.

  • Upgrade of Mogwase WWTP

Technical lead to develop and implement Wastewater Risk Abatement Plan (W2RAP) and action plan, review of sludge classification and sludge disposal, industrial effluent monitoring strategy, engagements with DWS and Water Utility to secure funding and support, report writing and review of technical reports.

  • Review of the National Water Resources Monitoring Network 

Water Quality specialist responsible for review of 5 National Water Quality programs. Specific deliverables were User requirements, Network Inventory (GIS), National Objectives for monitoring, Data Integrity assessment, and scientific review to define critical and optimal network, development of National Monitoring Strategy. Tasks included mentorship of DWS staff, facilitation of consultation workshops and presentations to steering committee.

  • Implementation of National Water Resources Strategy 

Project Manager responsible to provide assistance to DWS (Policy and Regulation Unit) to implement NWRS2. Specific deliverables were assisting SALGA to develop a NWRS2 implementation plan and a monitoring tool per KPI, developing an excel-based Consolidated Implementation Plan incorporating all sectors plans and Project Management.

  • Review of National Water Resources Strategy (NWRS2) 

Responsible for review of comments received from public consultation process, development of structure for reporting comments in centralised database, comments report summarising issues, feedback to DWA champions on comments received. Additional tasks included preparation of presentations, reports and communication material, and project administration.

  • Development of the Limpopo North Reconciliation Strategy 

Task team leader for water quality, water reuse and WCWDM. Activities include water quality overview- identify problem areas and pollution source, GIS maps of non-compliance, develop mitigating factors, resource quality objectives and use of RQO model to set limits; options for water reuse- technology costs, quantification of reuse in study area, comparison of cost; WCWDM – overview of current situation and mitigating measures.

  • Vioolsdrift Noordoewer Dam Feasibility 

Water quality task team leader, literature review, water quality analysis, treatment options, and client presentations.

  • Western Highveld Feasibility Study and IRS (RBIG) 

Responsible for process audits of treatment plants, performance-limiting overview and recommendations to upgrade treatment plants to ensure sustainable operations. Provide for technical input on network analysis and surface and ground water quality; literature review of IRS, report writing and review of technical reports.

  • UThungulu Integrated Asset Management Strategy: 

Conducted infrastructure assessment of water services in municipality including Operations, maintenance, monitoring, staff requirements, incident management and reporting. Responsible for site visits, report writing and review of technical reports.

  • ILembe Section 78 process 

Conducted infrastructure assessment of water services in municipality including Operations, maintenance, monitoring, staff requirements, incident management and reporting. Responsible for site visits, report writing and review of technical reports.

  • District Water Services Manger Forum (DWSMF) Peer Review Program 

Facilitation of peer review process and workshop to evaluate water management, technical input to compiling feedback presentation to municipality and final report outlining action plan for implementation and assist with project administration.

  • DWA Master Planning:

Assisted with compiling Water Services Development Plan for Sekhukhune DM and Capricorn DM focusing on water quality, water conservation and demand management, Institutional arrangements, operations and maintenance, asset management, and customer services. Responsible for literature review, report writing and project meetings

  • Capricorn Water Treatment Audits 

Process audits of 11 water supply systems, development of water safety plans, incident management protocols and risk-based water quality monitoring programs. Duties include project management, client liaison, all deliverables and list of recommendations to improve all supply systems.

  • Modimolle WWTW Upgrade 

Responsible for client liaison, funding options, review of technical report and license requirements.

  • Director and Water Scientist
  • Blue, Green and No Drop Lead Inspector for Incentive-based Certification program

Program rolled out by Department of Water and Sanitation for water services authorities from 2007. Lead inspector responsible for auditing water and wastewater treatment plant, assisting municipalities with information and guidance to comply, checking and finalizing audit sheets of panel member, capacity building of panel members and site assessments. Duration from inception of program in 2007 to 2013, audited close to 45 municipalities throughout South Africa.

  • Technical support to municipalities to achieve Blue Drop and Green Drop Certification

Assisted several water services authorities to achieve Blue and Green Drop Certification by preparing various documents, assisting with implementation of management plans and capacity building and training for following requirements: Water safety plans, Wastewater risk abatement plans, Incident Management Protocols, O&M manuals. Municipalities include Steve Tshwete Local Municipality, City of Tshwane, Alfred Nzo Municipality, Westonaria Municipality, Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality. Duration from 2007-2013.

  • Process Audits of Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants 

Clients include Lepelle Northern Water, Tzaneen Local Municipality, Dr. JS Moroka Local Municipality, Mogale City and EXXARO Lephalale. Tasks include operational evaluation against design of treatment process and each unit process, rated capacity of units, operations evaluation, process controller requirements, water quality assessment, administration assessment and recommendations to address performance-limiting factors.

  • Midvaal Water Plant Optimisation Plan 

Detailed assessment of treatment plant with regards to water quality and quantity, unit process assessment and optimization report, rated capacity, coagulation, control, chemical cost evaluations, proposed upgrade of wastewater recycle unit, as per IWA plant assessment guidelines.

    • Water Scientist
      • Roodeplaat Pilot Plant

      The project involved design and manufacture of a 1000l/hr pilot plant for Magalies Water (Roodeplaat), to test for the use of ozone at Roodeplaat. Responsible for design of ozone and GAC columns, review of water quality information, calculation of ozone dosage and contact time, commissioning of pilot plant.

      • Oxyzone Plant at Tower D, Air Products

      The project involved containerised system to treat cooling towers using ozone only. A smaller pilot plant had been operating for over a year at Air Products Vanderbijlpark. Responsible for design and commissioning of operational unit, sizing of ozone generator and contactor, determination of required ozone dosage, site preparation including Hazop study, and sourcing of appropriate monitors.

      • Cyanide Removal Pilot Plant

      Improchem approached SA Water to test if ozone can be used to remove cyanide from goldmine slurry from Harmony Gold, Randfontien. Duties included performing batch tests on the mine slurry by exposure to ozone, calibration of reactor, determination of theoretical applied ozone dosage. SA Water was subsequently appointed to design and manufacture a pilot plant on site: duties included determination of required ozone dosage, sizing of generator and oxygen generator, design of contact column and associated pipework, commissioning on site, operation and troubleshooting on site and assisting with trial runs.