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Why a regional approach to postgraduate water education makes sense - the WaterNet experience in Southern Africa

AbstractL. Jonker, P. Van der Zaag, B. Gumbo, J. Rockström, D. Love, and H. H. G. Savenije University of the Western Cape, Belville, South Africa UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft, The Netherlands Water Resources section, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands Cap-Net UNDP, Pretoria, South Africa Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden WaterNet, Harare, Zimbabwe

Summary (3 min read)

1 Introduction

  • By pooling their expertise they are, however, able to cover the full range, from hydrology to aquatic ecology, and from water supply and sanitation technologies to economics and law (Wright et al., 2001).
  • WaterNet is premised on the idea that it makes good sense to organise postgraduate education and research on water resources on a regional scale.

2 Water Resources Management in Southern and Eastern Africa

  • Economic and social development requires reliable access to sufficient water sources of good quality.
  • The effective development and management of water resources in Southern and Eastern African countries was hampered by some institutional and legislative constraints as well as insufficient financial and human capacity to implement programmes and activities that were consistent with the IWRM concept; and thus the implementation of the protocol.
  • The management of water was often executed by government departments with little or no formal stakeholder participation.
  • Monitoring systems were weak and constrained by insufficient human and technical capacity.
  • Finally, ecological requirements were seldom considered (e.g. Swatuk, 2005).

3 Capacity building needs for Integrated Water Resources Management

  • Second, a new type of water resource generalist was deemed necessary, for which in the year 2000 no suitable curriculum existed in Southern Africa.
  • This formed the basis for proposing a new postgraduate programme in Integrated Water Resources Management that would aspire to achieve two things: (1) through a broad foundation curriculum would expose disciplinary trained 1st degree holders to a wide spectrum of perspectives and to a Hydrol.
  • Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 4225–4232, 2012 www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/16/4225/2012/ common conceptual water language; (2) through a suitable specialisation phase and a thesis research requirement, offer students the possibility to either further deepen their specialist expertise or develop their generalist knowledge and skills.
  • These generalists would be equipped with the necessary skills to facilitate decisionmaking processes.

4 A short overview of the process of establishing WaterNet

  • The WaterNet concept was prompted by the SADC-EU conference on the Management of Shared River Basins held in Maseru, Lesotho, in May 1997, when ministers responsible for water of Southern Africa and Europe articulated the urgent need to “level the playing field” between riparian countries and thus the need to prioritise capacity building (Savenije and Van der Zaag, 2000).
  • The WaterNet initiative was presented at a large number of conferences and fora in Southern Africa, including during the SADC Water Weeks that were held in 11 countries in 1999 in preparation of the Southern African Vision for Water, Life and Environment in the 21st Century.
  • WaterNet was subsequently endorsed by SADC and acknowledged by the Global Water Partnership.
  • A large number (44) of institutions (university departments, training and research institutes involved in different aspects of water) were invited to express their interest.

5 The WaterNet Master Degree Programme in Integrated Water Resources Management

  • Thereafter students follow three modules belonging to one of six (now: seven) specialisations of their choice, and finally the capstone groupwork project, again at the University where the students started.
  • The restructuring of the curriculum, especially the addition of a seventh specialisation, raises the question that with so many specialisations, are the authors not introducing a new sectoral approach based on new categories and with that losing the integration that was strived for when the programme was initiated.

6 Research and outreach

  • WaterNet does more than offer a joint and regional Masters programme.
  • Second, it assists member institutions to develop interdisciplinary research programmes and activities that not only provide thesis research subjects and opportunities for students, but that also generate new findings that are fed back into the curricula.
  • Two examples where WaterNet has played such a leading role are: – “Integrated Water Resources Management for Improved Rural Livelihoods in the Limpopo River Basin” (Limpopo PN17) one of the basin projects of the Challenge Programme on Water for Food which ran from 2005 through 2010 and which was CGIAR funded.
  • Currently a smaller successor project is still ongoing.

7 Successes

  • The WaterNet programme claim some success in contributing to capacity building in IWRM in Southern and Eastern Africa.
  • Professional courses and capacity building programme, research, and finally the annual symposia.the authors.

7.1 Education

  • The important role that women play in water management at the grassroots level is acknowledged by stakeholders in the region.
  • The number of graduates comes from eighteen African countries (Fig. 4).
  • Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that of the WaterNet alumni, more than 90 % are still professionally active in the region.

7.2 Professional courses and capacity building programmes

  • WaterNet is recognised by SADC and features in its Regional Strategic Action Plans on Integrated Water Resources Development and Management (RSAP2 and RSAP3).
  • Based on Scopus (www.scopus.com), consulted January 2012.
  • One can argue the number of attendees points to a success for WaterNet in contributing to capacity building of a different target audience as that for the Masters programme.

7.3 Research

  • The research programmes in which WaterNet has played and continues to play a facilitating or leading role, have provided good opportunities for students to conduct project and thesis research and for staff to produce research papers (Table 1).
  • Another key aspect of such multidisciplinary research programmes was that WaterNet started learning to build partnerships outside the university sector: with CG centres, government departments and NGOs.
  • Many of these partnerships continue beyond the project period.
  • This has also led to cross-fertilisation and benefits to university curricula, other research initiatives and so on.
  • As an example, WaterNet leads the southern African component of the EC Framework Programme 7 project DEWFORA, which aims to improve drought early warning and forecasting throughout Africa.

7.4 Symposia

  • Combining tertiary education with research has thus proven powerful.
  • By the end of 2011 ten special issues had been published, containing more than 420 research papers (Fig. 5).
  • For hydrology this figure is lower (nearly 10 %), but still significant (Table 3).
  • It should be realised that without WaterNet some of these papers would never have been published and could therefore never have been part of the global body of knowledge.
  • In addition, these research papers address real-life issues that are of great concern for Southern Africa, and a significant number address issues related to the Millennium Development Goals (Table 4).

8 Summary and conclusion

  • It has evolved into an independent partnership organization.
  • WaterNet has made a first significant step towards the creation of a community of practice comprising educators, researchers, policy makers, students and practitioners that is characterised by a strong connectivity, the sharing of resources and distributed access to knowledge (Van der Zaag, 2009a).
  • At first, many lecturers hesitated to write papers because there were more urgent issues to attend to, but this has changed over time.
  • Here these stakeholders see the value of sharing data, information and knowledge.

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Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 4225–4232, 2012
www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/16/4225/2012/
doi:10.5194/hess-16-4225-2012
© Author(s) 2012. CC Attribution 3.0 License.
Hydrology and
Earth System
Sciences
A regional and multi-faceted approach to postgraduate water
education the WaterNet experience in Southern Africa
L. Jonker
1
, P. van der Zaag
2,3
, B. Gumbo
4
, J. Rockstr
¨
om
5
, D. Love
6
, and H. H. G. Savenije
3
1
University of the Western Cape, Belville, South Africa
2
UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft, The Netherlands
3
Water Resources section, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands
4
Cap-Net UNDP, Pretoria, South Africa
5
Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
6
WaterNet, Harare, Zimbabwe
Correspondence to: P. van der Zaag (p.vanderzaag@unesco-ihe.org)
Received: 11 February 2012 Published in Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.: 16 March 2012
Revised: 15 September 2012 Accepted: 27 October 2012 Published: 14 November 2012
Abstract. This paper reports the experience of a regional
network of academic departments involved in water educa-
tion that started as a project and evolved, over a period of
12 yr, into an independent network organisation. The paper
pursues three objectives. First, it argues that it makes good
sense to organise postgraduate education and research on
water resources on a regional scale and presents the Wa-
terNet experience as an example that a regional approach
can work. Second, it presents preliminary findings and con-
clusions that the regional approach presented by WaterNet
did make a contribution to the capacity needs of the region
both in terms of management and research capacity. Third,
it draws two generalised lessons from the WaterNet expe-
rience. Lesson one pertains to the importance of legitimate
ownership and an accountability structure for network effec-
tiveness. Lesson two is related to the financial and intellec-
tual resources required to jointly developing educational pro-
grammes through shared experience.
1 Introduction
Established in 2000 in response to the call by water ministers
of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
to boost the training of water professionals (Savenije and
Van der Zaag, 2000), WaterNet links 65 university depart-
ments and institutions in 15 countries in Southern and East-
ern Africa that share an interest and expertise in water-related
issues. Individually they do not command the broad field of
water resources management. By pooling their expertise they
are, however, able to cover the full range, from hydrology to
aquatic ecology, and from water supply and sanitation tech-
nologies to economics and law (Wright et al., 2001). In the
process the region moves away from concentrated expertise
to distributed expertise; from competition between centres of
excellence to cooperation, and from conformity to a diversity
of ideas.
As a network of institutions, WaterNet has created a
modality that offers a regional Masters programme in Inte-
grated Water Resources Management (IWRM). In addition
to the regional Masters programme, WaterNet also offers
short professional courses, carries out multidisciplinary wa-
ter research programmes, and organises annual regional wa-
ter symposia (Jonker and Van der Zaag, 2010).
WaterNet is premised on the idea that it makes good sense
to organise postgraduate education and research on water re-
sources on a regional scale. This is because water has a trans-
boundary dimension that: (i) poses delicate sharing ques-
tions, (ii) needs an approach that promotes a common un-
derstanding of what the real water-related issues are, (iii)
requires future water specialists speaking a common (wa-
ter) language, (iv) enhances mutual respect and can thus be
considered and investment in future peace (Van der Zaag,
2009a).
Published by Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union.

4226 L. Jonker et al.: The WaterNet experience in Southern Africa
The paper reports on a first attempt at evaluating the suc-
cess of WaterNet’s contribution to water education and re-
search in the SADC region. This it does by:
1. giving a description of WaterNet;
2. presenting preliminary findings of the success of Water-
Net in contributing to the capacity needs of the region;
3. presenting some findings on the research output facili-
tated by WaterNet.
The paper builds on two unpublished papers, Wright et
al. (2001) and Jonker and Van der Zaag (2010). This was
enhanced by data from various reports to the Annual General
Meeting, reports to the donors, an evaluation report by ex-
ternal evaluators, the Scopus publication database and some
data from a tracer study commissioned by the WaterNet Sec-
retariat.
2 Water Resources Management in Southern and
Eastern Africa
Economic and social development requires reliable access to
sufficient water sources of good quality. In regions where wa-
ter availability is uneven both in time and in space, there is
a need to effectively manage the water resources. Whereas
many people do not yet enjoy access to safe water supply
and basic sanitation, this may worsen in the absence of con-
certed action, as water is becoming scarcer (as measured in
per capita terms) and increasingly vulnerable due to migra-
tion of people, pollution, extreme climatic variability and cli-
mate change. Managing water resources has become more
critical than ever before.
Integrated Water Resources Management as an approach
to management water resources gained prominence after
the international conference on water in Dublin and the in-
ternational environmental conference in Rio de Janeiro in
1992. The Southern African Development Community (a re-
gional assemblage of states in Southern Africa similar to
the European Union) in its effort to promote regional inte-
gration and facilitating cooperative management of the re-
gion’s rivers, adopted the SADC Protocol on Shared Water-
courses in 1995. The effective development and management
of water resources in Southern and Eastern African coun-
tries was hampered by some institutional and legislative con-
straints as well as insufficient financial and human capac-
ity to implement programmes and activities that were con-
sistent with the IWRM concept; and thus the implementa-
tion of the protocol. Water management initiatives were typ-
ically split among different ministries. The fragmentation of
responsibilities among sectoral ministries and administrative
agencies hindered attempts to integrate water management
activities. The management of water was often executed by
government departments with little or no formal stakeholder
participation. The cost of managing water was often coming
from general government taxes because cost recovery was
not aimed for. As budgets dwindled, maintenance of wa-
ter infrastructure was disregarded. Legal instruments were
often fragmented and some countries had water allocation
systems that were intrinsically, or with the passage of time
had become, inequitable. Monitoring systems were weak and
constrained by insufficient human and technical capacity. Fi-
nally, ecological requirements were seldom considered (e.g.
Swatuk, 2005).
To address the above challenges, several Southern and
Eastern African countries have embarked on thorough wa-
ter sector reforms. With the aim to better coordinate water
management, legislation has been revised and administrative
and institutional changes have been introduced. Also, an ini-
tiative started to address the resulting human and institutional
capacity needs.
3 Capacity building needs for Integrated Water
Resources Management
Ten years ago, Wright et al. (2001) argued that IWRM not
only needed a favourable policy environment and institu-
tional and legal setting, but also, essentially, required ade-
quate understanding of the physical processes involved and
of the multiplicity of societal water needs and interests, as
well as effective decision-making that focuses not only the
supply and allocation of water, but also on the demand side.
Those implementing this new mode of water management
typically were thought to be teams of professionals trained
in a mix of relevant disciplines. It was considered essential
for decision-making processes that such teams would have
good disciplinary expertise, and be able to organise effective
communication among staff and between staff, stakeholders
and policy-makers, and thus facilitate meaningful informa-
tion exchange (Wright et al., 2001).
In order to address these requirements listed by Wright et
al. (2001), albeit partially, it was proposed to invest in hu-
man resources through developing dedicated capacity build-
ing programmes. It was further acknowledged and empha-
sised that universities needed to continue to train specialists
in relevant “conventional” water disciplines at undergraduate
and postgraduate levels, while ensuring that the university
curricula were kept up-to-date.
However, two constraints were identified. First, in South-
ern Africa the opportunities for postgraduate training in
water-related disciplines were few, which jeopardised the ex-
pertise requirement. Second, a new type of water resource
generalist was deemed necessary, for which in the year 2000
no suitable curriculum existed in Southern Africa.
This formed the basis for proposing a new postgraduate
programme in Integrated Water Resources Management that
would aspire to achieve two things: (1) through a broad foun-
dation curriculum would expose disciplinary trained 1st de-
gree holders to a wide spectrum of perspectives and to a
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 4225–4232, 2012 www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/16/4225/2012/

L. Jonker et al.: The WaterNet experience in Southern Africa 4227
common conceptual water language; (2) through a suitable
specialisation phase and a thesis research requirement, offer
students the possibility to either further deepen their special-
ist expertise or develop their generalist knowledge and skills.
The WaterNet initiative thus wished to produce sufficient
well-trained specialists as well as a new type of generalists in
water resources. The latter were viewed as the brokers within
the water sector, able to establish links between specialists in
sector departments. Such generalists were expected to con-
stitute the “middle-ground” in integrated water resources de-
velopment and management. They would, first, have a broad
understanding of central concepts of the key disciplines in-
volved, including hydrology, hydrogeology, chemistry and
engineering, but also ecology, resource economics, law and
management science, as well as disciplines relevant to the
transboundary dimension of water resources, such as inter-
national relations (Wright et al., 2001). These generalists
would be expected to translate these integrative concepts rel-
evantly and intelligibly to other (disciplinary) players. Refer-
ence can be made to bridging concepts such as “green” and
“blue” water, and “virtual” water. These generalists would
be equipped with the necessary skills to facilitate decision-
making processes. They would be proficient in team work,
communication, negotiation and conflict management, while
some would specialise in decision support systems (Wright
et al., 2001).
4 A short overview of the process of establishing
WaterNet
The WaterNet concept was prompted by the SADC-EU con-
ference on the Management of Shared River Basins held
in Maseru, Lesotho, in May 1997, when ministers respon-
sible for water of Southern Africa and Europe articulated
the urgent need to “level the playing field” between ripar-
ian countries and thus the need to prioritise capacity building
(Savenije and Van der Zaag, 2000).
The WaterNet initiative was presented at a large number of
conferences and fora in Southern Africa, including during the
SADC Water Weeks that were held in 11 countries in 1999
in preparation of the Southern African Vision for Water, Life
and Environment in the 21st Century. WaterNet was subse-
quently endorsed by SADC and acknowledged by the Global
Water Partnership. A large number (44) of institutions (uni-
versity departments, training and research institutes involved
in different aspects of water) were invited to express their in-
terest. Eighteen institutions responded positively. WaterNet
was formally founded during a workshop held in March 2000
in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, when the 18 founding member
institutions agreed that WaterNet would be a membership or-
ganisation, operating through an annual general meeting, a
steering committee, a secretariat and a Trust fund (Wright et
al., 2001). By 2012, the membership of WaterNet had grown
to over 65 member institutions from 15 Southern and Eastern
Africa countries. WaterNet has been generously funded by
the Dutch government through DGIS and the Swedish gov-
ernment through Sida.
In Victoria Falls it was decided that WaterNet would ful-
fil its capacity building mandate through the creation of a
Masters in Integrated Water Resources Management, the de-
velopment of short professional development courses and the
establishment of a research programme focussing on the in-
tegrative aspects of water management (Fig. 1).
5 The WaterNet Master Degree Programme in
Integrated Water Resources Management
The WaterNet Masters in Integrated Water Resources Man-
agement:
is a general Master degree programme that offers a
broad range of courses relevant to Integrated Water Re-
sources Management; the intake is thus not limited to
graduates with an engineering or natural science back-
ground;
is a regional programme, where several WaterNet mem-
ber institutions offer a limited number of course mod-
ules in the fields in which they have a comparative
strength (Wright et al., 2001).
The degree comprises a coursework component (12
months) and a research component (6 months). Originally
the coursework consisted of 10 modules in total , plus a cap-
stone module to mark the end of the coursework. The cap-
stone module is a multidisciplinary groupwork project on
which students jointly work for 4 weeks. The first six mod-
ules are foundational, which are offered at the University of
Dar es Salaam and the University of Zimbabwe. Thereafter
students follow three modules belonging to one of six (now:
seven) specialisations of their choice, and finally the capstone
groupwork project, again at the University where the students
started. In addition to the six foundational modules and the
capstone module, the University of Dar es Salaam and the
University of Zimbabwe also offered two elective modules
that students choose from a basket of modules.
The six specialisations are:
Hydrology (University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania);
Water Resources Management (University of Zim-
babwe);
Water and Land (University of Botswana);
Water and Environment (University of Malawi);
Water Supply and Sanitation (Polytechnic of Namibia);
Water and Society (University of the Western Cape,
South Africa).
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4228 L. Jonker et al.: The WaterNet experience in Southern Africa
Fig. 1. WaterNet and its mutually reinforcing activities.
The process of getting this regional programme approved
academically required creativity, regional commitment and
pragmatism. The modality eventually agreed on was that:
two universities would award the Master of IWRM de-
grees, namely the University of Dar es Salaam and the
University of Zimbabwe, and both universities would
approve identical curricula, including course modules
that would not be taught on their own campuses, but
elsewhere;
these two universities would offer the core modules as
well as one specialisation each;
the other specialisations would be offered by other
member universities with a comparative strength in that
field;
the University of Dar es Salaam and the University of
Zimbabwe would accredit and accept the courses of-
fered and examined and credits awarded by the other
universities.
The implementation of the WaterNet Masters Programme
in IWRM commenced at the two universities that hosted the
core modules, the University of Dar es Salaam and the Uni-
versity of Zimbabwe, in October 2002 and February 2003,
respectively. The other universities were subsequently en-
couraged to use the specialisation modules that they of-
fered to the WaterNet programme as a basis for developing
their fully-fledged and home-grown Masters programme by
adding foundational modules, much in the same way as the
University of the Western Cape was combining their own
postgraduate programme in IWRM with the WaterNet spe-
cialisation in Water and Society (Jonker, 2005).
The WaterNet Board instituted a review of the Masters
programme in 2006. The review report was accepted by the
AGM in 2009 and an extensive curriculum review process
was started in February 2010. This has resulted in the inclu-
sion of a seventh specialisation (GIS and Earth Observation)
and a change in the overall structure of the programme. Of-
fering the electives became problematic because of the large
number of options as opposed to the number of students. Of-
ten there was one student wanting to take an elective mod-
ule. The electives were removed from the curriculum with
one module being added to the specialisation (increase from
three to four) and the second elective added to the founda-
tional core. The new curriculum structure from 2012 is de-
picted in Fig. 2.
Increasing the number of modules in the core allowed for
the addition of GIS and database management and water
quality to the foundation. All the universities that offer part
of the Masters programme contributed to aligning the content
of the core modules as to form a coherent cluster. The recon-
ceptualization that is required in the specialisation with the
addition of an extra module, however, was left to the host in-
stitution. To date some uncertainty exists on whether this has
happened. The restructuring of the curriculum, especially the
addition of a seventh specialisation, raises the question that
with so many specialisations, are we not introducing a new
sectoral approach based on new categories and with that los-
ing the integration that was strived for when the programme
was initiated.
6 Research and outreach
WaterNet does more than offer a joint and regional Mas-
ters programme. It is also involved in other activities that
are closely linked and that strengthen each other. First, the
modular Masters in IWRM creates the opportunity to offer
a comprehensive set of short professional courses. Second,
it assists member institutions to develop interdisciplinary re-
search programmes and activities that not only provide thesis
research subjects and opportunities for students, but that also
generate new findings that are fed back into the curricula.
Third, the research outcomes are presented at symposia co-
organized by the Water Research Fund of Southern Africa
(WARFSA), a fund that has since folded, and the Global Wa-
ter Partnership Southern Africa (GWP-SA). These annual
symposia provide a platform where water researchers, pro-
fessionals and policy makers exchange ideas and set agendas.
The WaterNet Masters programme in IWRM includes a re-
search project of six months’ duration. There are thus signif-
icant opportunities for synergies with research programmes
in which member institutions and staff are involved, and in
which WaterNet has often played a facilitating and catalysing
role. Two examples where WaterNet has played such a lead-
ing role are:
“Integrated Water Resources Management for Im-
proved Rural Livelihoods in the Limpopo River Basin”
(Limpopo PN17) one of the basin projects of the Chal-
lenge Programme on Water for Food which ran from
2005 through 2010 and which was CGIAR funded. See
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 4225–4232, 2012 www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/16/4225/2012/

L. Jonker et al.: The WaterNet experience in Southern Africa 4229
Fig. 2. New structure of the regional Master programme in IWRM,
as at 2012.
Supplement and, e.g. Love et al. (2006). WaterNet is
now involved in a successor project in the Limpopo
Basin (Beukman et al., 2011; Kileshye-Onema et al.,
2011);
“Smallholder System Innovations in Integrated Water-
shed Management project in the Pangani Basin (Tanza-
nia) and Thukela Basin (South Africa)” (SSI). This mul-
tidisciplinary programme ran from 2004 through 2010,
was funded by Swedish (Sida) and Dutch (WOTRO and
DGIS) sources. See Rockstr
¨
om et al. (2004), Bhatt et
al. (2006) and Bossio et al. (2011). Currently a smaller
successor project is still ongoing.
In these and other research programmes throughout
SADC, several WaterNet member institutions are the main
implementers. Both projects involve many different disci-
plinary experts (from hydrology to governance, from agron-
omy to ecology), maintain links with local agricultural re-
search institutes, local water agencies and rural development
NGOs. In both programmes the researchers work closely
with farmers and practitioners, many experiments having
been conducted on farmers’ fields by and with the farmers,
which helps to ensure that the research results are relevant to
the livelihoods of rural communities.
7 Successes
The WaterNet programme claim some success in contribut-
ing to capacity building in IWRM in Southern and Eastern
Africa. In this section we provide some data with respect
to education, professional courses and capacity building pro-
gramme, research, and finally the annual symposia.
Fig. 3. WaterNet Master in IWRM graduates, 2004–2011.
Fig. 4. Nationalities of WaterNet IWRM graduates, 2004–2011.
7.1 Education
Between 2003, when the WaterNet Master in IWRM pro-
gramme was launched, and 2011, 251 students in total have
graduated, of whom 99 (39 %) are female (Fig. 3). This also
means that 251 Master theses on water related topics were
produced.
One of the four Dublin Principles (which forms the philo-
sophical basis of IWRM) states that “Women play a central
part in the provision, management and safeguarding of wa-
ter” (GWP, 2000). The important role that women play in
water management at the grassroots level is acknowledged
by stakeholders in the region. From this acknowledgement, it
is then argued that the importance should be reflected in the
number of women in formal water management positions.
Hence the explicit mention of the number of women who
have graduated.
The number of graduates comes from eighteen African
countries (Fig. 4).
The relatively low numbers from Burundi, Ethiopia,
Rwanda, Sudan, South Africa and Madagascar is because
students from these countries started to apply for admis-
sion more recently. Initially, the bulk of the students came
from Tanzania and Zimbabwe. This can be explained by the
fact that universities from these two countries hosted the full
Masters programme and as a result the programme was better
www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/16/4225/2012/ Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 4225–4232, 2012

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Cites background from "Why a regional approach to postgrad..."

  • ...…in the water sector in Africa during the last decade, regional networks (e.g., WaterNet, Nile IWRM net and WA-Net) have been established which focus on capacity building and water education, looking towards an integrated education for future water managers (van der Zaag, 2005; Jonker et al., 2012)....

    [...]


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: A thorough understanding of the hydrosphere is crucial for the sustainable evolution of human society and the ecosystem in a rapidly changing world This understanding can only come from well-trained professionals in the field of hydrology working in research and practice In civil and environmental engineering, this knowledge is the basis for the design of infrastructure and its management This paper briefly reviews the historical development of engineering hydrology education from the middle of the twentieth century The twentieth century was characterized by the establishment in the 1950s and 1960s of a clear, modern, and durable vision for hydrology education as a distinct formal program of study, and the consolidation in the 1990s of the original vision In recent years, a series of publications has expanded the traditional vision of hydrology education This recent literature emphasizes formalized approaches to hydrology education, including community-developed curricular resources, data-ba

25 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: This paper analyses the design and impact of capacity building programmes aimed at enhancing capacities of riparian professionals to address and resolve transboundary issues in international river basins. The case study is a programme developed by the Mekong River Commission (MRC). A post-training evaluation was applied to assess its impact in terms of individual capacity enhancement and change (use and application of knowledge, factors hampering application, and change in function and opportunities within the organisation). The design of the Capacity Building Programme of the MRC Flood Management and Mitigation Programme required a well balanced range of subjects (such as IWRM (integrated water resources management), model and decision support systems, and international water law). The post-training evaluation, 6 months after the last training workshop, showed an increase in familiarity with the topics for all 37 respondents, with the highest increase for the respondents with few years of working experience and from training and education institutions. The relevance of the subjects taught was highlighted by 95% of the respondents, and 78% of the participants had already used some of the acquired knowledge in their job. The respondents indicated that they did not have sufficient opportunities to apply all knowledge. The phased implementation and training of lecturers during the training workshops had a good impact, directly through increasing involvement in facilitation and delivery of the capacity building programme and through the use of the knowledge gained in short courses and development of curricula at their institute. For these types of capacity building programmes, a few recommendations can be made. The selection of participants is crucial for the application of the learned knowledge in their work. The integrative nature of transboundary water issues calls for a capacity building programme addressing a wide range of subjects, which can be understood by a wide range of professionals from different sectors. Training methods should also address this integrative nature through, e.g. roleplays and case studies. A successful capacity building programme needs to address the three levels of capacity building (enabling environment, organisations, and individual staff) and involve national and regional training and education institutes.

10 citations


Journal Article
Abstract: Changing regional and global trends in climate and discharge, such as global warming-related declines in annual rainfall in south-eastern Africa, are likely to have a strong influence on water resource availability, and to increase livelihood risk. It is therefore important to characterise such trends. Information can be obtained by examining and comparing the rainfall and runoff records at different locations within a basin. In this study, trends in various parameters of temperature (4 stations), rainfall (10 stations) and discharge (16 stations) from the northern part of the Limpopo Basin, Zimbabwe, were statistically analysed, using the Spearman rank test, the Mann-Kendall test and the Pettitt test. It was determined that rainfall and discharge in the study area have undergone a notable decline since 1980, both in terms of total annual water resources (declines in annual rainfall, annual unit runoff) and in terms of the temporal availability of water (declines in number of rainy days, increases in dry spells, increases in days without flow). Annual rainfall is negatively correlated to an index of the El Nino – Southern Oscillation phenomenon. The main areas of rising risk are an increasing number of dry spells, which is likely to decrease crop yields, and an increasing probability of annual discharge below the long-term average, which could limit blue-water availability. As rainfall continues to decline, it is likely that a multiplier effect will be felt on discharge. Increasing food shortages are a likely consequence of the impact of this declining water resource availability on rain-fed and irrigated agriculture. Declining water resource availability will also further stress urban water supplies, notably those of Zimbabwe’s second-largest city of Bulawayo, which depends to a large extent from these water resources and already experiences chronic water shortages.Keywords: climate variability, climate change, discharge analysis, Pettitt test, rainfall analysis, water resources, Limpopo Basin, Zimbabwe, Southern Africa

5 citations


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Journal Article
Abstract: Faczng the food and poverty crzses zn developzng countnes wzll requzre a new emphaszs on smallscale water management zn raznJed agrzculture znvolvzng the redzrectzon of water poltey and large new mvestments Ramfed systems dommate world food production, but water mvestments m ramfed agrIculture have been neglected over the past 50 years Upgradmg ramfed agrIculture promises large SOCIal, economiC, and enVIronmental paybacks, particularly m poverty reduction and economic development Ramfed farmmg covers most of the world's cropland (80%) and produces most of the world's cereal grams (more than 60%), generatmg lIvelIhoods m rural areas and producmg food for cltles EStImates suggest that about 25% of the mcreased water reqUIrement needed to attam the 2015 hunger reduction target of the MillennIUm Development Goal can be contrIbuted from IrrIgation The remammg 75% will have to come from water mvestments m ramfed agnculture

157 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: The challenge of producing food for a rapidly increasing population in semi-arid agro-ecosystems in Southern Africa is daunting. More food necessarily means more consumptive use of so-called green water flow (vapour flow sustaining crop growth). Every increase in food production upstream in a watershed will impact on water user and using systems downstream. Intensifying agriculture has in the past often been carried out with negative side effects in terms of land and water degradation. Water legislation is increasingly incorporating the requirement to safeguard a water reserve to sustain instream ecology. To address the challenges of increasing food production, improving rural livelihoods, while safeguarding critical ecological functions, a research programme has recently been launched on “Smallholder System Innovations in Integrated Watershed Management” (SSI). The programme takes an integrated approach to agricultural water management, analysing the interactions between the adoption and participatory adaptation of water system innovations (such as water harvesting, drip irrigation, conservation farming, etc.), increased water use in agriculture and water flows to sustain ecological functions that deliver critical ecosystem services to humans. The research is carried out in the Pangani Basin in Tanzania and the Thukela Basin in South Africa. A nested scale approach is adopted, which will enable the analysis of scale interactions between water management at the farm level, and cascading hydrological impacts at watershed and basin scale. This paper describes the integrated research approach of the SSI programme, and indicates areas of potential to upgrade rainfed agriculture in water scarcity-prone agro-ecosystems while securing water for downstream use.

139 citations


Additional excerpts

  • ...See Rockström et al. (2004), Bhatt et al. (2006) and Bossio et al. (2011)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Southern African states are undertaking comprehensive water sector reforms. While motives for reform are partially local, they are in large part driven by the interests and ideologies of Western states and civil societies. Within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), national (water, sanitation, irrigation) master plans are being written or revised. In several states, new Water Acts are in place and new institutions have been created to improve delivery. The stated goal of these activities is integrated water resources management (IWRM) defined simply as equitable, efficient and sustainable use of the resource. This article summarizes findings of social science-oriented scholarship on water management in the region, in particular that published in three special issues of Physics and Chemistry of the Earth (vol. 27, nos. 11–22; vol. 28, nos. 20–27; vol. 29, nos. 15–18). Evidence shows, among other things, that governments have been reluctant to devolve power to stakeholders; that rural dwellers are suspicious of the motives behind reform; that already empowered actors dominate new institutions touting broad-based participation; that efforts to fully recover costs in urban areas have been met with widespread civil resistance; and that new institutions have undermined existing forms of cooperation and conflict resolution, making matters worse not better. At the same time, these studies show the utility of decision support tools, capacity building exercises and research and knowledge production—all positive outcomes that should not be discounted. The paper argues that difficulties with reform reflect the highly political nature of the undertaking. Specifically, the new water architecture proposes a profound realignment of decision making power in already fragile, underdeveloped states. As a result, what may have started as a project now constitutes a context wherein differently empowered actors negotiate and renegotiate roles and rights to resources. Thus, to achieve sustainable, equitable and efficient water use in the Southern African region, it is important to reflect on the political nature of these activities and to reconsider (and be prepared to revise or discard) the basic assumptions and ideologies driving the reform process.

129 citations


"Why a regional approach to postgrad..." refers background in this paper

  • ...Finally, ecological requirements were seldom considered (e.g., Swatuk, 2005)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Zimbabwe’s poor are predominantly located in the semi-arid regions and rely on rainfed agriculture for their subsistence. Decline in productivity, scarcity of arable land, irrigation expansion limitations, erratic rainfall and frequent dry spells, among others cause food scarcity. The challenge faced by small-scale farmers is to enhance water productivity of rainfed agriculture by mitigating intra-seasonal dry spells (ISDS) through the adoption of new technologies such as rainwater harvesting (RWH). The paper analyses the agro-hydrological functions of RWH and assesses its impacts (at field scale) on the crop yield gap as well as the Transpirational Water Productivity (WPT). The survey in six districts of the semi-arid Zimbabwe suggests that three parameters (water source, primary use and storage capacity) can help differentiate storage-type-RWH systems from “conventional dams”. The Agricultural Production Simulator Model (APSIM) was used to simulate seven different treatments (Control, RWH, Manure, Manure + RWH, Inorganic Nitrogen and Inorganic Nitrogen + RWH) for 30 years on alfisol deep sand, assuming no fertiliser carry over effect from season to season. The combined use of inorganic fertiliser and RWH is the only treatment that closes the yield gap. Supplemental irrigation alone not only reduces the risks of complete crop failure (from 20% down to 7% on average) for all the treatments but also enhances WPT (from 1.75 kg m−3 up to 2.3 kg m−3 on average) by mitigating ISDS

95 citations