The Water Research Commission (WRC) recognises that water security is one of the most important and complex challenges facing the world today, and will deteriorate further especially for countries like South Africa should the water use and water resources management policies and operations continue as is. As the majority funder of water research in the country, it is of crucial importance that the WRC establish international partnerships and facilitate collaborations between South Africa and leading teams in the African continent and the world. The partnerships will help to position South Africa as a leading knowledge partner, allow South African research, development and Innovation (RDI) stakeholders to contribution to the generation of global knowledge and technological solutions for water and sanitation.

Since its establishment, the WRC has built fruitful international partnerships across different stakeholder groups and undertaken a wide range of joint international activities with partners in the African continent and internationally that: (a) showcased and promoted South African expertise during international events and engagement, (b) facilitated South Africa’s access to international programmes, projects and funding (c) facilitated South African experts’ access to serve on international boards and technical steering committees, policy platforms and working groups to shape the global and regional water and sanitation agendas.

The WRC International Cooperation and Partnerships strategy therefore aims to establish new and strengthen existing partnerships to position the WRC as a global knowledge and development partner for water and sanitation programmes especially in and with partners in the African content with the objectives to:

  • Position the WRC as a competitive key development player and a leader on water and sanitation knowledge-based solutions globally.
  • Influence and contribute to the global and continental water RDI and policy agendas.
  • Leverage international resources for the South African water sector.
  • Contributing to strengthening capacity on the African continent.
  • Facilitating impact-driven research, innovation and value-adding engagements with partners.

The international partnerships are driven by four pillars and will incorporate a range of activities specifically designed to derive maximum benefit and value from each partnership:

Knowledge Sharing
  • Workshops, conferences and dialogues
  • Incoming and outgoing missions
  • Knowledge hub
Joint impact-driven projects
  • R&D projects
  • Innovation project
Capacity Building
  • Training
  • Exchanges and twinning
  • Technology transfer
Technology and Innovation
  • Co-sharing
  • Co-development
  • Demonstrations
  • Partner matching and networking