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Water research

The Water Research Node addresses the sub-Saharan African water and sanitation challenges. As the world’s poorest region, it 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. We provide the training and education to make this a reality, in a research-intensive and collaborative environment.

Our research projects bring together the best minds in water conservation and management, water governance and policy, social-hydrological system design and analysis, resilience and ecological engineering, to combine knowledge across disciplines.

We are part of the International Water Security Network, which brings together the University of the West of England, Bristol, Monash University and the University of Arizona to investigate issues around water security. The project investigates four primary work packages:

  • Urban Water Security (UWE)
  • Transboundary Water Security (University of Arizona)
  • Water Quality Security (Monash)
  • Insaka Benefit Sharing Consortium

This African-centred community of practice for the management of social ecological systems also includes a local implementation agency: South African National Parks.

Resilience by design

One of the most confounding challenges facing water management in Southern Africa is how to encourage effective problem solving and resilient solutions at larger scales. While encouraging effective problem solving may be easier at micro scales such as laboratories, resilient solutions require also working at the meso and macro levels.

Resilient solutions mean that interventions have the capacity to deliver their intended benefits, despite changes in their complex context. As such, a vital foundation for this research programme is the understanding that resilient solutions require polycentric systems of governance, which involve a diversity of decision-making centres.

Water and the community

We work closely with selected government organisations, NGOs and other agencies to ensure our research aligns with integrate into the agendas of the wider community.

Research theme

Our implementation partners include:

  • Lloyds Register Foundation
  • University of the West of England
  • University of Arizona
  • Water Research Commission
  • World Wide Fund for Nature
  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
  • South African National Parks
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Copperbelt University
  • University of Montana
  • University of Namibia