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Institute for Water Research


Incorporating the Unilever Centre for Environmental Water Quality (UCEWQ)

Grahamstown - South Africa

 EWQ Honours Course materials

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The objectives of the IWR are to contribute to the knowledge of and promote the understanding and wise use of natural water resources in southern Africa.

These objectives are achieved in a number of ways:

You can read our latest Annual Report
You can read our brief IWR Brochure

For information on Grahamstown and South African  water resources and what you can do, please see the RU Environment page.

IWR Plastic Policy Statement

 The Institute for Water Research supports calls for an end to the  use of single-use plastic water bottles except in emergency  situations. The environmental and health consequences of the  manufacture, transportation, use and disposal of these bottles are  well documented. The Institute does not supply single-use plastic  water bottles for meetings, alumni events, conferences, etc. and  requires catering suppliers to comply with this. Both staff and  students are encouraged to make use of multi- use water bottles.

Information on single use plastic can be obtained by following the link to the
Makana Plastic Action Group https://www.facebook.com/MakanaPlasticAction/

Just a header image for the IWRM course

RUCE Podcast Series: “Into the messy spaces”


“If you were to ask in the modern university how much engaged research there is, it would be very, very small and we are living in an era when society is pushing back at universities and saying, ‘for us to see that you are valuable we want to see you take the risk of getting in to the messy spaces of real life’.”

Professor Tally Palmer, Director of the Institute of Water Research, won the 2018 VC’s Distinguished Community Engagement Award for her championing of ‘engaged research’ – research that partners with communities and shares knowledge and information, rather than imposes knowledge or extracts information.

Instead of giving a lecture, Tally decided to engage and invited the community to a workshop – Makana: Water Works For Everyone. Hear what happened that night in the City Hall and find out more about a new kind of research for the 21stCentury.

You can listen to the full podcast here: https://iono.fm/e/733310#


Rhodes University Environmental Award 2017

Matthew Award 2017

Matthew Weaver, a PhD candidate at the Institute for Water Research was awarded the Rhodes University Environmental Award in the individual category. The award was in recognition for the extensive contributions he has made in participatory research processes to improve democratic water governance processes at a provincial and more markedly at a local governance scale in the Makana Local Municipality.

Matthew has been actively involved in the establishment and function of South Africa's first water and sanitation catchment management forum in which both water services and water resource management agendas are integrated. The forum is leading the way in the Eastern Cape in the development of a Water Plan for Makana, a plan that is inclusive of a wide range of stakeholder inputs. He, and Forum partners, have pioneered a Makana Water awareness campaign, taking Grahamstown Residents on an interactive tour of Grahamstown's water supply system. Building water-related awareness and influencing people's behavior in the Grahamstown community has also seen him conduct interactive presentations at Grahamstown schools.

Matthew was acknowledged not only for his contributions to inclusive and effective water governance practices but also for his academic contribution by publishing his work in peer reviewed journals.

The contribution of these efforts made Matthew a worthy recipient of the RU Environmental Individual reward.


RUCE Podcast Series: "Into the messy spaces"

"If you were to ask in the modern university how much engaged research there is, it would be very, very small and we are living in an era when society is pushing back at universities and saying, 'for us to see that you are valuable we want to see you take the risk of getting in to the messy spaces of real life'."

Planning research priorities in the Tsitsa Project

The IWR is home to the Governance Research community of Practice within the Tsitsa Project (TP). The TP is a large project funded by the Department of Environment, Fisheries and Forestry, : natural Resource management. They are investing in the restoration of the Tsitsa River catchment landscape so as to minimise erosion and maximise local livelihoods. Governance Research aims to empower local residents to represent their interests into different government structures such as local municipalities and traditional councils.

Department of Science and Innovation - NRF, Social Science Research for Global Change, Workshop. Hosted by the Global Change Institute, Wits University.

Prof Tally Palmer joined a group of researchers to co-operatively craft a starter-document that will contribute to shaping Social Science in Global Change research. Tally was a recipient of an early grant in this area, and the programme has been revitalised by the Global Change committee of the NRF, under the dynamic leadership of Prof Coleen Vogel. The new programme (GCSSRP2) will bring welcome funding into a neglected area and will underpin an emerging reality of transdisciplinary approaches to the urgent issues associated with global change.

Village level planning works

The governance CoP together with Livelihoods and Sediment and Restoration CoPs conducted workshops in the Tsitsa River catchment in June. The areas that participated in the workshops were Qulungashe in Lower Sinqaku and Batlokoa. The participants who attended the workshop included citizen technicians, citizen monitors, LIMA coordinators, EPWP and CWP workers, Gamtoos Irrigation Board, vetiver nursery growers, and interested citizens together headmen.