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Water research

The Water Research Node seeks to address the water and climate change challenges of sub-Saharan African. As the world’s poorest region, sub-Saharan Africa is most at risk, and these challenges will only be resolved if water is managed in an integrated way and as part of a greater system of good governance. In a research-intensive and collaborative environment, we encourage solutions and provide the training and education required to make this a reality.

Our research projects bring together the best minds in fields such as water security, climate resilient societies, river basin and floodplain management, urban water design, water use in agricultural value chains, social-hydrological system analysis, resilience and ecological engineering, and water governance and policy, to combine knowledge across disciplines.

Water security and resilience by design

Water security refers to the capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to acceptable quantity and quality of water, whereas resilience means the capacity to withstand and adapt to increasing disturbances such as droughts and floods. Water security significantly affects the resilience of human systems and the larger social-hydrological systems in which they are embedded. Achieving high levels of water security is integral to the resilience of societies that depend heavily on water resources. As such, one of the most confounding challenges facing water security in sub-Saharan Africa is how to encourage effective problem solving and resilient solutions at multiple scales of human organisation.

The Water Research Node conducts applied research that encourages the design of resilient solutions with the capacity to deliver socially acceptable benefits in the face of continuous change and uncertainty. A vital foundation for this research area are long term collaborative networks with industry players and ongoing public engagement with research.

Public engagement with water research

We work closely with selected government organisations, NGOs and other agencies to ensure our research aligns with the public agenda. We operate within a regional network of scientists and policy makers as a key vehicle for enhancing public engagement with and promoting public understanding of research.

Research theme

Our implementation partners include:

  • Water Research Commission
  • National Academy of Sciences
  • United States Agency for International Development
  • World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Zambia
  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
  • South African National Parks
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Copperbelt University
  • University of Namibia
  • University of Venda
  • Clemson University