THE CRITICAL ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY
The science and technology community have typically spoken of the triple helix partnership of academia, public institutions and industry when driving a knowledge economy. Civil society was very much just a recipient of knowledge and solutions. However, civil society is at the heart of the enablement of a knowledge economy and forms co-equal partner in the co-creation and implementation of solutions. This is currently referred to as the ‘quadruple helix’ and drives a knowledge society and the democratisation of information and knowledge.
INNOVATION NEXUS THINKING
The water-energy-food (WEF) nexus is gaining recognition internationally as an intersectoral approach to resource management and sustainable development. The WRC has identified the WEF nexus as one of its focus
‘lighthouse’ areas of research. Since 2012, the WRC has conducted several research studies focusing on the WEF
nexus nationally as well as in the southern African region. Various factors are spurring on the WRC to champion
WEF nexus initiatives, including population increases; the water and energy sectors continuing to operate in
silos; threats posed by both the climate variability and change; changing diet requirements and more.
DESIGN THINKING: WATER SENSITIVE DESIGN
The adequate provision of water services – including basic services – to South Africa’s citizens is one of the
most significant challenges facing the country, and is felt most strongly in the rapidly growing urban areas. It is
estimated that the proportion of urban dwellers will increase to over 70% by 2030.
USAID WASHFIN AND IORA – ENGINEERING INNOVATION TO KEEP UP WITH COASTAL POPULATION DENSIFICATION
This session will focus on wave and storm surge forecasting in support of coastal infrastructure protection,
coastal engineering and the Flood Early Warning System (FEWS) of eThekwini Municipality as a case study.
CHINA-AFRICA WATER SUMMIT
The water crisis is a global problem, which requires worldwide collaboration in order to find solutions. This is
especially true for the African countries and China. The objective of this session is to bring top experts together
from both countries to discuss strategies to fight the global water crisis. The session is being co-organised by
the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the WRC. China has obtained valuable experiences in dealing with water
issues over the last 40 years.
SUSTAINABLE MINE CLOSURE
Mining continues to be one of the driving forces of the South African economy. The country has experienced over 100 years of gold mining, resulting in the current acid mine drainage legacy in the Witwatersrand Basin. South
Africa has also been mining coal since the early 1800. In this regard, coal has been the major component of the
South African power supply industry. This is predicted to continue into the latter half of the twenty-first century.
However, after nearly 150 years of coal mining, the country is now facing closure of many coal mines. This then calls for proactive thinking regarding development of sustainable tools / solutions / approaches that can be
deployed post mine closure.
INNOVATIVE SANITATION: DEVELOPMENTS TOWARDS A NEW SANITATION CIRCULAR ECONOMY
Global water demand is on track to outpace supply by 40% within the next two decades (McKinsey.com) and in
the South African context, water supply is severely constrained by low levels of seasonal rainfall.
THE STATE OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (IP) IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN WATER SECTOR
The role of the WRC as an enabler of technological progress in the water sector and the broader National System
of Innovation is well recognised. According to the United Nations (Global Governance Working Paper),
transferred water technologies are seen as “tools, not only to combat water scarcity or poor sanitary conditions,
but also to alleviate poverty, ensure gender equality, and improve health and the environment”.
WATER AND BIG DATA: LESSONS FOR SETTING UP BIG DATA RESEARCH INITIATIVES
This session attempts to consolidate some of the key lessons we are learning about setting up water related big
data research initiatives in the water sector. Decision-making in the water and related fields depend on good
quality, processed and interpreted data and information. This must be complemented by skilled professionals,
who are able to work with data in advancing understanding.
EMERGING DIRECTIONS IN WATER GOVERNANCE RESEARCH
Water governance is becoming an increasingly prominent field of research activity as recognition grows that
many water crises are attributable more to governance failures than resource scarcity. Focal areas of water
governance research have changed over the years in response to international trends and as we grapple with the major questions and challenges that characterise water in South Africa.
LIFT: RESOURCES TO SUPPORT WATER INNOVATION
The drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater markets will require significant investment in the coming
years to replace ageing infrastructure, expand capacity, and satisfy new regulations. Utilities need innovative
technologies and solutions to address these challenges in a cost-conscious manner. The Leaders Innovation
Forum for Technology (LIFT) is an initiative undertaken by the Water Research Foundation and the Water Environment Federation to support and expedite the implementation of water innovation at utilities.
EMERGING SUBSTANCES AND OTHER ISSUES OF CONCERN IN WATER
Water quality issues are complex and dynamic in nature. In the past, regulators have responded to changes in water quality by imposing stricter regulations/standards. New and emerging substances of concern present a new water safety challenge because of the high uncertainties that comes with the diversity of these substances.
SANITATION TRANSFORMATION INITIATIVE
Sanitation is a national and global development priority and is included in United Nations Sustainable
Development Goal (SDG) 6. Current implemented models of sanitation provision are not able to deliver sustainable sanitation services to all within the limited development timeframes. The Sanitation Transformation Initiative (SANITI) is a WRC-designed strategic approach designed to create a new paradigm for sanitation services through innovative technologies and approaches.
DIVERSIFYING WATER SUPPLY
South Africa should diversify its source water supplies to mitigate against water scarcity and provide water to all its citizens. Ideally, a supply strategy should focus on water security and resilience, and not only on cost
considerations, assurance of supply and institutional biases to surface water and, in particular dams. This will allow the development of all available sources of water to serve the under-served and mitigate against periods of low water availability. The recent and ongoing droughts laid bare our vulnerabilities in depending on one, or at most, two water-supply options — surface water and groundwater supplies.
TOWARDS NEW THINKING TO WATER SECURITY
The WRC’s quest for scientific thinking in advancing integrated water resources management in pursuit of
sustainable development is at the forefront of water resources research. The presentations in this session
capture and showcase some of the key scientific advancements in water resources management that the
researchers have made over the past five years.
WATER QUALITY AND RISK ASSESSMENT
Despite efforts being made at different levels (financial, institutional, policy and technical) problems arising from
deteriorating and poor water quality still remain a major challenge in South Africa and across the world. Human
health, food security, preservation of ecosystems as well as economic growth and social development continue to be hampered due to water quality. Understanding the big drivers of water quality deterioration from source to sea, including groundwater, in light of different flows i.e. water, sediment, plastic through monitoring is essential.
SUSTAINABLE WASTEWATER RESOURCE RECOVERY AND REUSE
According to the United Nations 2017 World Water Development Report, an estimated 80% of wastewater worldwide (over 95% in some developing countries) is globally released into the environment without treatment. On the other hand, target 6.3 of the Sustainable Development Goal 6 aims to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally by 2030.
Climate change is projected to impact drastically on southern Africa during the 21st century under low mitigation
futures. Temperatures are projected to rise rapidly, at 1.5 to 2 times the global rate of temperature increase. The
southern Africa region is likely to become generally drier under enhanced anthropogenic forcing, the exception being Mozambique, where wetter conditions are likely to occur over the central and northern parts, with EastAfrica projected to become generally wetter under low mitigation climate change futures. This implies that the projected climate change signal over Africa exhibits a distinct El Niño signal.
SOCIAL INNOVATION – COMMUNITY-DRIVEN WATER SERVICES APPROACHES
The National Water Resource Strategy 2 (2013) identifies the need to meet rural communities’ domestic and productive water needs and in doing so the National Norms and Standards for Domestic Water and Sanitation
Services (Version 3, 2017). 2017). Where communities invest in their own infrastructure for self-supply, they design for multiple uses as the norm.
INNOVATION PARTNERSHIP FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT pROGRAMME
The Innovation Partnership for Rural Development Programme (IPRDP) was a pioneering initiative of the South African Department of Science & Technology (DST) to promote the use of innovations and technology to accelerate the service delivery in rural areas, and to provide confidence to the sector via demonstration at scale on the use of these innovations and products.
IMPACT OF RESEARCH AND INNOVATION ON SOCIETY
The importance of research and innovations (R&I) in any society have been articulated in several ways and
supported by many countries. However, many developing countries struggle to resource R&I with sufficient funding that can enable production of required new knowledge and innovations. In cases where innovations are stumbled upon in their research programmes, little or no support is provided to implement, demonstrate, or commercialise them.
SECURING RESOURCES FOR RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
Access to, management and optimisation of water is becoming increasingly challenging for South Africa. Research and Innovation is pivotal in optimally dealing with these challenges. Yet, investments in water research, development and innovation have not changed. For South Africa to be a leading middle-income country in
the development and deployment of water management practices and technologies, requires an investment
of R8 billion into research and innovation by 2025 (Water RDI Roadmap, 2015).
AFRIALLIANCE ROADSHOW – INNOVATIONS IN WATER REUSE AND POTENTIAL OF NEW WATER RESOURCES
The purpose of this event is to help water innovators and technopreneurs find technology development and
access opportunities: i.e. potential collaborators. It is also to provide a platform for innovators to showcase and
market their solutions as well a source of growth opportunities.
INTERNATIONAL SESSION ON WATER SENSITIVE DESIGN – THE JOURNEY TO IMPACT
Water sensitive design (WSD) encompasses all aspects of integrated urban water cycle management, including water supply, sewerage and stormwater management. It represents a significant shift in the way water and
related environmental resources and water infrastructure are considered in the planning and design of cities and
towns, at all scales and densities”.
THE SANITATION ECONOMY FOR AFRICA WORKSHOP
According to the Toilet Board Coalition (TBC), “… the new Sanitation Economy presents vast potential for global
economic growth while addressing one of the most urgent grand challenges of our time, achieving universal
access to improved safely-managed sanitation (SDG6). It monetises toilet provision, products and services,
biological resources, data and information to provide benefits across the economy and society”.
WATER GOVERNANCE: CHALLENGES AND POSSIBILITIES
The provision of a safe and reliable water is of primary importance in society and a prerequisite for public health and economic development. Yet, about 3.6 billion people now live in areas where water scarcity can occur at
least one month per year, a number which is expected to increase to between 4.8 and 5.7 billion people by 2050.
A TEST BED NETWORK AND TECHNOLOGY VALIDATION FRAMEWORKS FOR THE WATER SECTOR
The WRC in collaboration with the DST and other sector partners are spearheading the implementation of the National Water Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Roadmap.