Water Governance Research Group

Research Group Leader: Mark Swilling

The slow implementation rate of integrated water resources management in South Africa has become a menace to the economy, social justice and future sustainability of environment. It further shows lack of good water governance practices. Persisting threats of extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods exacerbate the need for urgent transformation with regards to how water resources management is implemented at regional, provincial and national level. Collaborative water governance is considered to be the key missing link obstructing sound practices in the management of water resources.  Through collaborative water governance various sectors and civil society come together to agree on challenges, develop innovative management strategies, co-produce knowledge and cultivate solutions to face current and future water challenges. This inclusionary process democratises water governance and allows for a profound change in the manner that water resources are managed.

The water governance research group focuses on two central questions; what needs to change in order to achieve collaborative water governance and how to achieve this. To answer these questions our researchers are embedded in various processes of driving and establishing collaborative efforts for enhanced river basins management. The intention is to:

  • gain a fuller understanding of the obstacles hindering collaborative water governance in South Africa,
  • investigate the potential of  various partnering solutions in establishing long lasting collaborations for good water governance,
  • study paradigm shifts from static to flexible, adaptive and problem-based approaches and
  • investigate the contribution of collaborative water governance in sustainable development

This research group ultimately aims to trigger policy innovation through co-production of knowledge and co- development of innovative methods.

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