News & Events

WISA Conference May 2016

On the 15th to the 19th of May 2016, the city of Durban was host to what is, arguably, the largest water related gathering in South Africa. This biennial conference and exhibition saw the attendance of a multitude of influential figures and organisations in the water sector such as the Director General of the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation, Ms Margaret Ann Diedricks; the Netherland’s special envoy for international water affairs, Mr Henk Ovink; the World Wildlife Fund (WWF); the (Proto) Catchment Management Agencies (CMAs) and the Dutch ambassador to South Africa, Ms Marisa Gerards.

The theme for the event was ‘Water the Ultimate Constraint’; this theme was supported by various sub-themes which were discussed in separate but simultaneous sessions throughout the conference. The Kingfisher programme hosted a workshop titled: “Benefits for Water Governance as a Result of International Cooperation" and aimed to raise awareness of regional water authorities/CMAs; the mutual gains of international cooperation and possible future steps for cooperation.

There were presentations and speeches from Ms Marisa Gerards who emphasized the importance of water and the need for cooperation in all sectors as water is not limited to one sector; she made reference to the Dutch and South African partnership as an important partnership in water management. There were also speeches and presentations from Ms Deidricks who spoke of how CMAs are the way forward for water management in South Africa; she also stressed the importance of water in the economy and in the food energy nexus.. Mr Henk Ovink placed further emphasis on the importance of local and international cooperation reiterating that collaboration is at the heart tackling the water challenges across the globe and uncovering solutions for sustainable water governance. Presentations were also made by the South African and Dutch partnerships, SALGA and DWS. These presentations focused on CMS development, operational water management, cooperation between the CMA and its stakeholders, the CMA and municipalities and the importance of capacity building n water organisations.

The workshop was well attended by the CMAs, stakeholders, DWS officials, representatives of the Dutch water sector and other players in the water sector. The workshop was a great showcase of how the cooperation of South Africa’s CMAs and the Netherland’s Dutch Water Authorities was an example of how international cooperation can benefit water governance