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Press Release 
Hlengiwe Cele  
South Africa’s Water Scientists Showcase Water Innovation Technologies

The Water Research Commission (WRC), in partnership with the Departments of Water Affairs (DWA) and Science and Technology (DST), will host the Water Research and Development Symposium at the CSIR International Convention Centre from 25 to 27 September 2013. The symposium will be held under the theme 'Local Water Solutions for Global Impact'.

The aim of the Symposium is to showcase and celebrate excellence in the South African water research and development domain and to link various institutions operating at different stages of the water innovation value chain. Various WRC-funded research projects will be showcased in the ‘Market Place’ by various project teams involved. As part of the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation, the Symposium will also seek to further the scientific dialogue on what the development imperatives are for South Africa from a water perspective and the innovations that address this agenda.

For the first time the public will have a chance to engage directly in a dialogue format with the members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committees and the scientific community outside the confines of Parliament. The theme for the pre-symposium parliament session is ‘The future of water in South Africa and the role of the scientific community of practice: a public engagement session with Parliamentarians’.

While commenting on the Symposium the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa explains, “We cannot progress as a country unless and until our technological advances are used for the good of all humanity. We are a water-scarce country; therefore our scientific water-related innovations and developments, including some embedded within indigenous knowledge, must and will assist us to make the necessary advances towards the attainment of our major goal: that of universal access to water services, as set out in the Millennium Development Goals”.

According to the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, Adv. Johnny de Lange, South Africa needs to use these technological interventions since water intensive development challenges are compounded by increased pollution loads entering river systems and aquifers which supply water for domestic users all the way to large industrial users like mines, large agriculture and major production plants. This is also occurring at a time when the country needs to make more water and sanitation services available to the unserved population, which includes making water available for new small-scale economic activity. “The final layer of complexity is to meet all these needs while ensuring the integrity of the environment. This is the South African water challenge today”.

The Minister of DST, Derek Hanekom comments, “The DST recognises that the water sector provides opportunities for job creation and economic development. It also sees appropriate water management and related technological innovation as key components of the transition to a green economy in South Africa, given the cross-cutting role that water plays in all sectors”.

Minister Hanekom further comments, “Water is core to achieving the DST's Global Change Grand Challenge, as well as broader national targets around the green economy. It has therefore become clear that there is a need for a National Water Research, Development and Innovation Roadmap, which will clarify the role that water plays in the green economy and what kind of investment the sector needs to function optimally. The DST is partnering with the WRC in this regard to develop the roadmap  which aims to provide a 10-year platform for research, development and innovation in the water and waste-water sectors of South Africa and, among other things, to provide a platform for the country to compete with leading countries in water technology, increase the numbers of technology-based small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the water sector, and increase access to water and sanitation in rural communities”.

A special media Q and A session has also been arranged to give media a chance to engage with our senior officials and key political representatives on water and science-related issues linked to the topics of the Symposium.

Media Q and A Programme

Chairperson: Dhesigen Naidoo, WRC CEO

Time: 18:30 – 19:00

Venue:  CSIR International Convention Centre, Amethyst Room


  • Mr Derek Hanekom: Minister of the Department of Science and Technology
  • Mr Dhesigen Naidoo: CEO, Water Research Commission
  • Adv. Johnny De Lange: Chair of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, Water and Environmental Affairs

Media enquiries relating to the Symposium can be directed to:

WRC Marketing & Communications Manager, Mr Adriaan Taljaard: Cell: 082 388 3267 or email: adriaant@wrc.org.za 

WRC Stakeholder Liaison, Mrs Hlengiwe Cele: Cell: 083 266 9781or email: hlengiwec@wrc.org.za

DST Deputy Director: Media Liaison and Communication, Veronica Mohapeloa:

Cell: +2782 882 3818 or email: Veronica.Mohapeloa@dst.gov.za

DWA Director, Communications Mr Sputnik Ratau, Cell: 082 874 2942 or email: RatauS@dwa.gov.za

Click here to get Final Symposium Programme and Pre-symposium parliament session

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