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FET Water

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 John Zvimba 

Terms of Reference for the Framework Programme for Research, Education & Training in the water sector project

 Key Strategic Area : 10 : Special Projects

 Thrust :  N/A

 Programme: N/A

 Title: Capacity building in various thematic areas within the water sector


The framework programme for research, education & training in the water sector (FETWater) is a framework programme for effective cooperation for the provision of education, training and capacity building needs in the South African water sector. The programme was introduced following an assessment and evaluation of the education and training needs and capacities of the then Department of Water Affairs and Forestry in 1998. FETWater Phase I, 2002 to 2005 and Phase II, 2007 to 2010 were implemented resulting in formation and support of seven thematic priority areas. Currently, FETWater Phase III (2014 – 2017) focuses on six new thematic priority areas listed below, with the objective of achieving sustainability beyond 2017;

 ·       Water Infrastructure

·       Water Monitoring and Assessment

·       Water Planning and Implementation

·       Water Regulation Requirements

·       Water Use, Services and Sanitation

·       Institutional Management and Governance


The aim of FETWater is to provide a framework for effective cooperation and provision of education, training and capacity building needs in the South African water sector.


  • FETWater implementation began as a knowledge transfer and capacity building programme, with the following specific objectives;
  • To link learning resources and training capacity needs in integrated water   resources management (IWRM) in areas where they are needed most.
  • To develop and transfer knowledge needed to build the critical mass of water scientists, 
  •  To provide financial and institutional support for the development of networks and
  • To facilitate the process of implementing the National Water Act (NWA)
  •  To ensure programme sustainability and succession beyond 2017.

   FETWater utilizes networks;

  • To ensure collaboration between institutions (public and private),
  •    To address particular capacity needs in the South African water sector
  •  To promote cooperation or collaboration with other SADC member states.
  •  Networks are coordinated by Network Coordinators, whose responsibilities are;
  •     Network proposal or business plan preparation coordination
  •    Identification of experts with the same long-term vision
  •    Capacity audit
  •  Development of work plans
  • Management of financial support from FETWater
Regular progress reports to FETWater Steering Committee through Implementation Agent 




In  1996  the  Department  of  Water  Affairs  and  Forestry  requested  support from  the  United  Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)  to  assess education  and  training  needs  for  integrated  water  resources  management in  South Africa. The assessment was conducted in 1998 at national, provincial and community levels.


The conclusions of the assessment stated inter alia that;


  • The implementation of South Africa's National Water Act would be seriously impaired unless human resource needs and related competencies in the water sector could be timely met.
  •  Recent concepts in water resources management have direct implications for South Africa's integrated water resources management approach and education and training would be required for its practical implementation.
  •   Opportunities to further links with southern Africa and the international community to have South Africa’s training, education and capacity building needs met should be explored to the fullest.
  •  Although the education and training capacity of South Africa's tertiary institutions is relatively high, many gaps, weaknesses and threats were identified, relating mostly to:

 A gap in structured consultation between water academics, the Department of Water Affairs and other employers about competency needs.


  • A gap in structured networking among water academics about curricula and employers' needs
  • Uncoordinated proliferation of ad hoc education and training and continuing education and training products and their questionable cost-effectiveness
  • Limited links with the private sector; and -
  • Bureaucratic approaches to qualification, certification and accreditation.
  • Policy and regulation aspects.

FETWater was therefore conceptualized and introduced to address all the gaps associated with the above findings.


The FETWater project should result in the development of training & education material, short courses, curricula addressing the current challenges in the water sector as well as providing capacity building and training to ensure that capacity gaps are addressed. All these deliverables should therefore be captured in progress reports during the course of the project as well as summarized in the Final Report at the end of the project.

 Work plan

The work plan indicating deliverables and duration is summarised in the following table.



Target date

Network Business Plan

Detailed business plan describing the network’s capacity building proposal

30 May 2015

Progress Report 1

Progress report describing training material, short courses & curriculum developed

30 Oct 2015

Progress Report 2

Progress report describing training material, short courses & curriculum developed, including accreditation

30 Feb 2016

Progress Report 3

Progress report describing training courses, programmes and short courses offered

30 Sept 2016

Final Report

Final report summarizing the project activities and impact

30 Jan 2017

Impact Area:                             Human Capital Development (Capacity building in the water sector)

Transformation and redress

Time Frame:                             2 years

Total Funds Available:   R 7, 662, 475.00 (R 3 737 500.00 - 2015/16 FY & R 3 924 975 - 2016/17 FY)

Enquiries :   John Zvimba , email : johnz@wrc.org.za





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