Bernelle Verster’s love of water, a symbol of which she has tattooed on her arm, often lands her in hot water. Her freethinking and speaking around anything water-related has earned the 30-year-old the nickname “the Water Maverick”. Combining her pure passion with out-the- box creativity, Verster is currently pursuing her PhD in chemical engineering, focusing on cleaning wastewater and adding value to it, as well as addressing the huge implications wastewater has on health and sanitation. But it’s not all theory. Through her company, Merah Mas, Verster puts her ideas into practice, proving that, when it comes to wastewater, an integrated approach to education, management of the resource and profitability are possible. As passionate about connecting people and ideas as she is about changing the way we think about wastewater, Verster curated the first TEDxCapeTown in 2011, helping to get people outside the industry to do exactly what she does: talk passionately about water.
— Lu Larche