Press release: Symposium

October 22, 2008

State of the Art IWRM Knowledge Slated For Water Symposium in South Africa

The role of research in water resources development and management comes under the spotlight when water professionals, practitioners and policy-makers from Southern Africa and the wider International Community present state-of-the-art knowledge in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in their meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa from 29 to 31 October at Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre.

The 9th WaterNet/WARFSA/GWP SA Symposium is seen as the premier IWRM event on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) calendar and it is aimed at ensuring water research results are not just put on the shelves but are shared for the benefit of developing the water resources of the region and beyond. The Honourable Minister of Water Affairs & Forestry Ms Lindiwe Hendricks will deliver an address at the official opening that will be chaired by the Vice-Chancellor & Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, Prof. Loyiso Nongxa.

Organized through the collaboration between WaterNet, the Water Research Fund for Southern Africa (WARFSA), the Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWP SA) in association with the International Commission on Water Resources Systems (ICWRS) and the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Symposium will be hosted by the University of Witwatersrand.

With the main theme as “Water and Sustainable Development for Improved Livelihoods” the Symposium, is aimed at promoting interaction among policymakers, academics, water practitioners and key cooperating partners in identifying regional issues, gaps and priorities that require further research and support.

The importance of disseminating and sharing research results will be the main focus as it is recognized that without having mechanisms for sharing such results, they remain on shelves gathering dust despite the potential they have in enhancing the peoples’ livelihoods through sustainable development of the water resources of the region.

The Symposium is expected to take a broader look at how sharing and dissemination of research results in IWRM within the context of sustainable development for the achievement of enhanced livelihoods could be facilitated.

Building Capacity for Water Resources Management in Southern Africa “Raising awareness of IWRM within WaterNet has primarily been pursued through the annual WaterNet/WARFSA/GWP-SA Symposium. The symposium has grown since the year 2000 from a gathering of a small number of IWRM converts to the premier IWRM event on the SADC calendar,” said Dr Themba Gumbo, WaterNet Manager.

Researchers and policymakers are expected to dialogue around how research can inform policy formulation in the water sector to ensure the region remains on course in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The sub-themes to be interrogated during the Symposium include hydrology, water and environment, water and land, water and society, water for people. Great emphasis is placed on integration of knowledge, particularly involving scholars from the natural, medical and social sciences.

“In addition to being the premier scientific gathering for IWRM in the SADC Region, the Symposium has expanded to include workshop sessions with water sector specialists during which scientific papers are dissected and analysed in order to tease out the implementation implications of the research that is conducted in the region. Some of these have been developed into policy briefings by working closely with GWP-SA in raising awareness,” Dr Gumbo said.

This 9th symposium succeeds eight other regional symposia which have been organised on a rotational basis among SADC member states. The series of Symposia have helped to forge a regional family of water professionals concerned with the wise use of water.

During the last eight years, more than 1500 scientific papers have been presented, of which about half have been reviewed and published in Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, an Elsevier international peer reviewed science journal.

For further information, please contact:

Mr Andrew Takawira of GWP SA on or Nicholas Tandi of Waternet