IWSN students make waves at First African Young Water Professionals Conference

catchment gameThe 4th South African and 1st African Young Water Professionals Conference was held in South Africa from 16-18 November 2015. Over 500 delegates from across Africa gathered at the International Convention Centre in Pretoria to engage, interact and network with peers, professionals, academics and industry partners from across the African water space.

Monash South Africa, through the support of the International Water Security Network, took a team of students – 11 Masters and two PhD – to this event.

The network also hosted an exhibition stand where the catchment game (see photo) was used to start a conversation about water, water allocations, rights to water, power and several other aspects depending on the group engaging with the display.

Machaya Chomba gave a 20-minute oral presentation on the emerging theoretical constructs of his PhD, focussing on trust and reciprocity in aspects of water management, while MPhil IWM candidate Agness Musutu presented her Masters research on institutional design and the role of institutions in an African river fishery.

Nkosinomusa Ncube and Nyaradzo Nazare presented posters of their Masters research on sugar cane farming in Zambia and the dairy section in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. Dedicated poster sessions were organised around tea times when participants could engage with the poster presenters.

YWPC photoA special two hour session on water security was co-hosted between Monash South Africa and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and was attended by over 150 participants (read more about this special session here). Janosch Foerster, Busani Masiri and Jitender Taneja all contributed their research findings to this session, covering aspects of the role of water user associations in managing water; the role of risk and risk sharing in water management; and how community participation and monitoring play crucial roles in the future security of water resources in the Himalayan region of India.

The theme of the 2015 conference was “Stop Talking, Start Doing”. Collaborations, partnerships and networking were strongly promoted and encouraged throughout the conference, especially over teas and lunches and around exhibition stands. A gala dinner was arranged on the final evening of the conference which was attended by the honourable Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, Ms Pamela Tshwete. During her Keynote address she spoke specifically around the need to address water security issues in South Africa and the key role the young water professionals had to play in this space.