Pieter van der Zaag is professor of integrated water resources management at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft, The Netherlands, and also holds a professorship at Delft University of Technology. He chairs the Water Management Group, and is also Head of the Department of Integrated Water Systems and Governance.
Pieter has worked long-term in developing countries from 1982 to 2003. He has conducted research in the field of water resources, focusing on the dynamic relationship between biophysical and social processes. He has special interests in agricultural water management, water allocation issues in catchment areas and in the management of transboundary river basins, topics on which he has published widely.
He is also an expert in curriculum development for water resources management. Pieter has been actively involved in several interdisciplinary research and capacity building projects in Ethiopia, Ghana, Mexico, Mozambique, Peru, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
He is member of the governing board of WaterNet in Southern Africa, associate editor of the Water Policy journal, and member of the editorial board of the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences.
Pieter van der Zaag studied irrigation at Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands. From 1987 to 1989 he was based in Mexico. He received his PhD degree in 1992. From 1993 he coordinated a joint research programme between the University of Zimbabwe and Wageningen Agricultural University.
In 1997 he joined IHE Delft and was seconded to the Department of Civil Engineering, again at the University of Zimbabwe. The major activity involved the setting up of a new MSc programme in ‘Water Resources Engineering and Management’.
From 1999 to 2002, Pieter was the interim manager of WaterNet, a regional network aiming to build and strengthen regional capacity for the integrated management of water resources in the Southern African region through education, training and research.
In 2002 Pieter van der Zaag was appointed Professor of Water Resources Engineering and Management at the University of Zimbabwe. In 2004 he has became Professor of Integrated Water Resources Management at UNESCO-IHE. In 2012 he was appointed head of the newly formed Department of Integrated Water Systems and Governance.
Recent and on-going research projects
In Search of Sustainable Catchments and Basin-wide Solidarities; Transboundary Water Management of the Blue Nile River Basin; with IWMI, Addis Ababa and Khartoum Universities and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (NWO/WOTRO funded; 2008-2012); see http://www.unesco-ihe.org/BlueNile.
Upscaling small-scale land and water system innovations in dryland agro-ecosystems for sustainability and livelihood improvements; with University of Dar Es Salaam, Sokoine University of Agriculture, University of KwaZulu Natal, International Water Management Institute IWMI, Stockholm Resilience Centre and Delft University of Technology (UPaRF funded; 2009-2013); this is a sequel to the Smallholder System Innovations in Integrated Watershed Management project (SSI) (WOTRO, Sida and DGIS funded); see http://www.unesco-ihe.org/SSI
Water rights in informal rural economies in the Limpopo and Volta basins; led by IWMI; we are coordinating the Mozambique study (CP66; CGIAR Challenge Programme for Water and Food funded; 2008-2009)
Managing risk, mitigating drought and improving water productivity in the water scarce Limpopo Basin; implemented by WaterNet (CP17; CGIAR Challenge Programme for Water and Food; 2004-2009); see the research page of www.waternetonline.org.
Power2Flow: Hydropower-to-environment water transfers in the Zambezi basin; in collaboration with Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique, WaterNet in Southern Africa and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (UPaRF funded; 2009-2013)
Risk-based operational water management for the Incomati River Basin; with Eduardo Mondlane University, Komati basin Water Authority KOBWA, University of Kwazulu-Natal (UPaRF funded; 2009-2014)
Recent and on-going capacity building projects
Capacity Building for Integrated Water Resources Management in South Africa; with Cape Peninsula University of Technology and University of the Western Cape; implemented with Wageningen University (lead), ITC, IRC and Pegasys (Nuffic funded)
Capacity building in Integrated River Basin Management for Higher Education Institutions to support emerging River Basin Organisations; with Addis Ababa University, Wageningen University, MetaMeta and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Nuffic funded; 2009-2012). http://www.universitywatersectorpartnership.org/
Anticipating and resolving flood issues, differences and disputes in the Lower Mekong Basin – a capacity building programme for the Mekong River Commission (MRC funded; 2008-2009)
Capacity Building for Sustainable Development of Water Resources and Environmental Sanitation in Ghana and the Sub-Region; with KNUST (Nuffic funded; 2005-2009)
WaterNet - Human Capacity Building in IWRM (phases I and II; DGIS and Sida funded; 1999-2009; see www.waternetonline.org