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Postgraduate Diploma in Water Management for 2017

Why study a Postgraduate Diploma in Water Management?

The Postgraduate Diploma in Water Management (PGDip in Water Management) is a one year qualification designed to strengthen and deepen professionals’ interdisciplinary skills and knowledge in water management. This qualification will enable these professionals to appreciate the relatively new and unique interdisciplinary approach to managing water resources. Programme participants will be nurtured to become effective managers equipped to understand complex water challenges and to develop interdisciplinary, practical solutions to water and sanitation problems.

The qualification is targeted at water professionals in South Africa and the broader southern African region who are already working in lower to middle-level management positions; as well as those who are working in related technical fields such as river basin management, groundwater management, water supply and sanitation, water resource planning, water resource economics, and water treatment. It will also provide an important starting point particularly for water professionals who have, or intend to, exercise managerial responsibilities in their respective work places.

Programme Outline

The course comprises eight (8) core units of 15 credits each and no elective units (thus 120 total credits). Students wanting to complete fulltime will need to complete eight (8) units in a 12 month period, while those wanting to complete part time will need to complete eight (8) units in a 24 month period.

Unit 1: Project Management for Water Managers
This module introduces students to issues relating to water management project planning, design and management. Through this module students will understand the principles of project management in a water related context and learn the skills necessary to professionally design and manage water projects in development contexts. Key topics include: problem analysis and scoping; project design; capacity building; impact assessment; and participatory approaches, monitoring and evaluation.

Unit 2: Collaborative Water Planning
There is currently a consensus that water is in crisis, with the crisis appearing to be more a crisis of social organisation and political structures than a crisis of resources. The challenge facing water management practitioners is to be able to establish and maintain effective planning systems that are responsive to this crisis. In this module, students will be introduced to water planning frameworks at the global/international, national, regional/basin, transboundary and local levels. Students will consider current themes influencing water planning and policy including sustainable development, collaborative management, water rights and access, and equity for marginal groups. Water planning as a key governance mechanism at regional and basin levels will be explored in both developing and developed country contexts

Unit 3: Urban Water Design
Cities are in transition. Global forces such as rapid urbanisation and population growth are transforming cities into water dependent areas. Cities are now viewed as a major component of the hydrological cycle. This module seeks to introduce an alternative paradigm for exploring the linkages between the hydrological cycle and the urban landscape. It provides students with deep insights into how these linkages support liveable, sustainable, productive and resilient cities. Students examine different ways in which societies can develop and nurture robust cities through modern technologies and urban designs to ensure water security.

Unit 4: Water and Sanitation
This module provides students with an understanding of the engineering and socio-economic principles and tools for designing and operating domestic water supply and sanitation systems that are sustainable, appropriate and affordable for poor communities in developing countries. Key topics include the environmental health basis of work in this sector; key principles, approaches and technologies for environmental sanitation, including simplified sewerage and solid waste management techniques; principles of water supply including water quality, quantity affordability and sustainability; simple water treatment process technologies; water lifting and distribution; and operation and maintenance of water supply and sanitation infrastructure. Due attention is given to the non-engineering aspects of water supply and sanitation systems, including tools for demand creation and management and cost-benefit analysis of options.

Unit 5: Catchment and Aquatic Ecosystem Health
This module considers river catchments and aquatic ecosystems as complex systems. It applies appropriate theories and tools to the management of these complex systems. Students learn about the basic physical and chemical properties of water and the processes that affect these systems. The module introduces concepts that underlie the basic hydrology of catchments and the rationale for determining environmental flow requirements. It identifies and describes appropriate tools for water management by way of evaluating the interdependence of social and ecological resilience.

Unit 6: GIS and Water Resources Mapping
This module introduces Geographical Information Systems (GIS) as an integral component of water planning and management. It provides an overview of the basic principles, techniques and applications of GIS in the field of water management in developing and developed contexts. It examines and reviews specific applications where GIS is a useful tool. Subject areas covered include basics of GIS, spatial data sources, spatial data quality, spatial data analysis and decision support systems. It also includes the basic principles of remote sensing and the use of satellite imagery. Case studies and hands-on practices allow students to gain experience of the use of GIS and apply this to water management problems.

Unit 7: Community Water Development
Community participation has become a key concept in government and international agency policy on sustainability and water management. A critical perspective on participation in water management focuses on policies and processes of involving ‘the community’ in water management decision making. ‘Community’ and community organisations have been increasingly engaged by state agencies in processes of consultation, collaboration and environmental decision-making and management. This often is because communities represent the ‘local’ where people and groups experience the most tangible and direct relationship with the environment and environmental problems. This module argues that achieving sustainability in water management requires attention to inherently political processes of community engagement, participation and mobilization, dialogue and deliberation, social learning, networking, conflict management, poverty, livelihoods and gender

Unit 8: Climate Change and Water Resources
This module introduces students to the science and politics of climate change. Students explore current global debates about the causes of climate change and the required policy and management interventions.

Multiple Intakes

The programme has four intakes in 2017. The programme will start on the following dates:

  • Intake 1: 4 February 2017
  • Intake 2: 11 March 2017
  • Intake 3: 15 July 2017
  • Intake 4: 19 August 2017

Each unit runs for five (5) weeks and begins with a scheduled contact session on campus followed by further continuous study and assignment submissions via the Learning Management System (LMS). Contact sessions will occur on Saturdays.

Unit Schedule & Contact Sessions:

Unit 1 – Project Management for Water Managers (4 February - 10 March 2017)
Contact Sessions: 4 February, 18 February, 4 March

Unit 2 – Collaborative Water Planning (11 March - 14 April 2017)
Contact Sessions: 11 March, 25 March, 8 April

Unit 3 – Urban Water Design (22 April - 26 May 2017)
Contact Sessions: 22 April, 6 May, 20 May

Unit 4 – Water and Sanitation (27 May - 30 June 2017)
Contact Sessions: 27 May, 10 June, 24 June

Unit 5 – Catchment and Aquatic Ecosystem Health (15 July - 18 August 2017)
Contact Sessions: 15 July, 29 July, 12 August

Unit 6 – GIS and Water Resource Mapping (19 August - 22 September 2017)
Contact Sessions: 19 August, 2 September, 16 September

Unit 7 – Community Water Development (30 September - 3 November 2017)
Contact Sessions: 30 September, 14 October, 28 October

Unit 8 – Climate Change and Water Resources (4 November - 8 December 2017)
Contact Sessions: 4 November, 18 November, 2 December

Programme Information

Mode of Delivery
The PGDip in Water Management is designed for the working professional and uses flexible teaching methods. These include compulsory face-to-face contact sessions (three Saturday sessions per unit), extensive online learning using the Learning Management System (LMS), case studies and projects to apply learning into practice.

Continuous assessment is used, through challenging and innovative individual projects, case studies and assignments in each unit as well as online exercises to be completed in the LMS.

Site of Delivery
The PGDip in Water Management is offered at the Monash South Africa campus in Ruimsig, Johannesburg.

Admissions Criteria
Applicants must have successfully completed a relevant undergraduate degree or an equivalent qualification (HEQSF level 7); and have relevant work experience. As English is the language of instruction and assessment, applicants must also meet Monash South Africa’s English requirements. Applicants should also be proficient in computer use, familiar with Microsoft Office and have access to a personal computer.

International Students
International students’ qualifications will be assessed on an individual basis. When applying, students should submit certified copies of one of the above mentioned qualifications as well as final grades in subjects undertaken.

The PGDip in Water Management is awarded by Monash South Africa as a registered private higher education institution in South Africa. This qualification is on HEQSF level 8.


Applying couldn’t be easier. You can download and complete the application form.


1 year: Full-time
2 years: Part-time

Multiple Intakes

The programme has four intakes in 2017. The programme will start on the following dates:

  • Intake 1: 4 February 2017
  • Intake 2: 11 March 2017
  • Intake 3: 15 July 2017
  • Intake 4: 19 August 2017

Each unit runs for five (5) weeks and begins with a scheduled contact session on campus followed by further continuous study and assignment submissions via the Learning Management System (LMS). Contact sessions will occur on Saturdays.

Course Introduction Dates

The programme has compulsory Course Introduction sessions. Students will be notified of the Course Introduction dates, which will take place either the week before or on the day the unit starts.

Application Closing Dates

MSA must receive your application at least two weeks before the start of that particular intake. Application deadlines appear below.

  • Intake 1: 20 January 2017
  • Intake 2: 24 February 2017
  • Intake 3: 30 June 2017
  • Intake 4: 4 August 2017

Find Out More

+27 11 950 4009

Course Coordinator: Water Research Node

Ms Linda Downsborough
+27 11 950 4130
Email address:

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