The Water Institute of Southern Africa’s (WISA) biennial convention supplies renewed vigour to ‘flip the tide’ on water issues


By Diane Silcock

THE Water Institute of Southern Africa’s (WISA) Biennial 2024 Convention came about in Durban in June 2024. Professionals and thought leaders within the water house got here collectively to collaborate and supply invaluable insights and modern options, to assist steer the progress in direction of the achievement of SDG2030.

Chairing the ‘Standard water sources: groundwater and floor water’ session was CSIR analysis group chief for sensible water use, Dr Harrison Pienaar. In an interview following the convention he supplies an encouraging viewpoint relating to water challenges in South Africa. He believes that getting the fundamentals proper, private and non-private sector collaboration, involving stakeholders from early levels of planning, sharing information and finest practices, constructing belief, establishing a web-based water monitoring system, and serving to residents to understand the worth of water, are all crucial.

“A basic shift is important in our strategy to water and sanitation,” says Dr Pienaar. “There are three pillars that stood out from the convention: collaboration, efficiency enchancment, and strong accountability. We structured our discussions round these pillars with the thought to deliver collectively establishments and professionals to debate and showcase how we will enhance our water administration techniques. I’m fairly happy with the end result of the convention because it confirmed that collaboration is completely key to addressing fragmented governance preparations with water administration being unfold throughout varied entities.”

At WISA, the minister of water and sanitation launched the formation and institution of 4 catchment administration companies (CMA’s). “The great thing about catchment administration companies,” says Dr Pienaar, “is that water is managed from a nationwide, regional and native perspective, however by one company. CMA’s usually are not solely water useful resource specialists however have engineering and environmental capabilities, and are additionally specialists in different sectors, reminiscent of agriculture and power.”

The CSIR’s analysis group issues itself with offering systemic help in regard to sensible water use within the completely different sectors, taking a look at interventions like water conservation and demand administration in addition to offering R&D and innovation help in direction of enhancing the nation’s water high quality.

Dr Pienaar explains that while technological innovation is a enterprise enabler to realize enchancment in service supply and effectivity, it’s equally vital to supply operational, administration, and technical help within the business, to get the fundamentals proper, as that may assist develop an urge for food for the uptake of recent applied sciences.

“Knowledge-driven determination making ought to grow to be the norm coupled with steady enchancment in applied sciences and methodologies to optimise water therapy and distribution.”

Water sources can solely be managed successfully when the provision and high quality may be decided. That is the place assortment of high quality information over a constant time period, is essential.
Dr Pienaar says that if information collected from a number of establishments could possibly be fed right into a nationwide centralised information repository – an open and clear platform – it will information water administration determination making particularly contemplating water is a catalyst for growth in different sectors. That is the type of help that the CSIR can supply authorities by offering the completely different sectors with technical and strategic options and responses to the problems they’re confronted with. The CSIR’s centre for high-performance computing, that units it aside on the continent, can retailer massive quantities of very complicated information together with deal with information interfacing.

“Our multidisciplinary strategy on the CSIR is our distinctive worth proposition in how we handle to get issues finished in essentially the most structured method, collaborating with others and sharing finest practices and information. Nobody single establishment is aware of all of it in relation to any downside in any sector, so we now have to collaborate, it’s essential,” concludes Dr Pienaar.

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