Articles | Volume 16, issue 11
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 4225–4232, 2012

Special issue: Hydrology education in a changing world

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 4225–4232, 2012

Research article 14 Nov 2012

Research article | 14 Nov 2012

A regional and multi-faceted approach to postgraduate water education – the WaterNet experience in Southern Africa

L. Jonker1, P. van der Zaag2,3, B. Gumbo4, J. Rockström5, D. Love6, and H. H. G. Savenije3 L. Jonker et al.
  • 1University of the Western Cape, Belville, South Africa
  • 2UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft, The Netherlands
  • 3Water Resources section, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands
  • 4Cap-Net UNDP, Pretoria, South Africa
  • 5Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 6WaterNet, Harare, Zimbabwe

Abstract. This paper reports the experience of a regional network of academic departments involved in water education that started as a project and evolved, over a period of 12 yr, into an independent network organisation. The paper pursues three objectives. First, it argues that it makes good sense to organise postgraduate education and research on water resources on a regional scale and presents the WaterNet experience as an example that a regional approach can work. Second, it presents preliminary findings and conclusions that the regional approach presented by WaterNet did make a contribution to the capacity needs of the region both in terms of management and research capacity. Third, it draws two generalised lessons from the WaterNet experience. Lesson one pertains to the importance of legitimate ownership and an accountability structure for network effectiveness. Lesson two is related to the financial and intellectual resources required to jointly developing educational programmes through shared experience.