What do we do?

Water is a cross-cutting issue impacting on the entire spectrum of human security, including elements of health, food-security, environmental sustainability, political economy and international relations. Any attempt to deal with water in isolation of the other components of human security is bound to place greater stress on the system. In order to reach consensus between the people representing the various components, AWIRU has adopted an attitude of reflexive listening. Relevant stakeholders are included in project deliberations at the earliest point possible, making a genuine attempt at incorporating their goals, desires and concerns in the project implementation.

As a division of the University of Pretoria Water Institute, the African Water Issues Research Unit, AWIRU, conducts socio-economic research with the sectoral focus on water on behalf of the Water Institute and for its clients. Awiru operates as a knowledge space in which socio-economic research expertise and talent is created, nurtured and retained for the water sector. The aim in this research is to understand the complexity of African water management and to generate water management solutions that are politically, socially, economically, environmentally and culturally sustainable in Africa.


Our Focus

We focus on the following:

  1. Transboundary water management - between countries, regions, communities and economic sectors. This includes both advocacy/research and training through the UPTW.

  2. Policy formulation & institutional development - the role of second-order resources in effective water management.

  3. Technical water management instruments - their interaction with the socio-political setting in which they operate (these instruments can include legal, legal, hydrological, organisational, social and economic models).

  4. Research methodology – development of training modules relevant for IWRM and TWRM – bridge gap between classroom and field – development of research tools to measure vulnerability, trust and resilience – development of monitoring and evaluation indicators

  5. Post doc and young professionals programme - theoretically robust and offers supervised field experience – intern programme

  6. Seminar & workshop series – knowledge generation for the water sector – themes include water harvesting, research methods, transboundary governance and IWRM

  7. International & regional networks – support to Global Water Partnership, Waternet, University Partnership, river basin organisations (includes Volta, Congo, Limpopo, Okavango), support to TWIN BASIN concept for strengthening RBO in Africa Publication programme – working paper series, peer review journals, books

  8. Transboundary and integrated water resource governance – competing uses and users, well being and resilience, co-operation, institutional buiding

Our activities

  1. Policy formulation and institutional development

  2. Training and capacity building within the context of stakeholder participation and participatory decision-making around water issues

  3. Training and capacity building using mixed methodologies and development of indicators on resilience and vulnerability

  4. Undertaking proactive research on transboundary issues with a particular focus on health, well-being, co-operation and local development within the water sector

  5. Producer and disseminator of unique, academic-quality research outputs ( working paper series, seminar series, publications)

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