In the Republic of South Africa, there is a shortage of skilled professionals to deal with the complex issues surrounding integrated water resources management. This four-year project will implement capacity development activities at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT, lead) and University of the Western Cape (UWC) to increase the number of IWRM experts at different levels.
South Africa’s water reforms have been ambitious and necessary to achieve equitable access for all, coupled with a more integrated approach that encompasses social, economic, industrial, environmental and transboundary interests. Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has been a central concept in these reforms. What has become apparent in South Africa is the lack of appropriate skills and specific expertise to implement the water sector reforms. A good understanding of the water cycle, quantitative skills to estimate water availability and water demand in a highly dynamic socio-economic and biophysical environment, as well as strong facilitation and mediation skills to guide negotiation processes and stakeholder consultations, are essential to implement the envisaged reforms. This calls for qualified and reflexive professionals able to deal holistically with the practical and theoretical complexities of IWRM.
The project aims to increase the number of qualified and reflexive IWRM professionals that can meet the challenges of the water sector in South Africa and to strengthen the universities involved in delivering IWRM curricula.
Activities and Outputs
The consortium consists of 28 international and 20 South African experts, 13 of whom are experts from UNESCO-IHE, who are involved in implementing project activities.
UNESCO-IHE's role within this project is to carry out national IWRM skills assessments to identify the required end qualifications of the envisaged graduates. In addition, water sector needs assessments and institutional needs assessments are being carried out to articulate the current demand and supply. Based on these assessments, IWRM curricula will be developed for professional short courses and post-graduate programmes to be offered at CPUT and UWC.
In parallel, UNESCO-IHE will contribute to strengthening the research units at the beneficiary universities by jointly developing research agendas, training staff members at the MSc and PhD level, and acquiring and participating in research projects. Furthermore, research and teaching facilities will be improved by establishing a GIS lab at UWC, installing instrumentation for two catchments in the vicinity of Cape Town and establishing a water research lab at CPUT with support from UNESCO-IHE experts.