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Welcome to the research programme

Water Security in Africa – WASA

For a secure future.

The aim of the research programme “Water Security in Africa (WASA)” is to contribute to achieving a sustainable increase in water security in Africa. This includes the improvement of water supply and wastewater management as well as the preservation of natural ecosystems. The guiding principles behind the WASA programme are to enable joint action by African and German partners from the very start of the project, adopt a synergistic and integrated approach involving different ministries and political representatives as well as the pursuit of a long-term implementation strategy.

Information on WASA can also be found here on the FONA website.

Creating prospects.

In a global comparison, sub-Saharan Africa currently has by far the lowest supply of clean and safely managed water. Innovative water technologies, adapted water infrastructures and forward-looking management concepts to improve water supply and wastewater management are urgently needed.

The WASA programme was launched as a result of the German Federal Government’s Round Table “Creating Perspectives in Africa”.

Joint development.

The WASA programme was developed in a joint consultation process with African and German experts from science and practice, including the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) and water ministries from Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and South Africa. On the German side, six other federal ministries and their subordinate institutions participated in the development of the program under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). WASA is part of the BMBF’s “Research for Sustainability – FONA” strategy.

International Governing Board

The BMBF provides the majority of the funding. The Water Research Commission (WRC) is contributing to the South African projects with co-funding. An international Governing Board with representatives from relevant ministries and institutions has been established to provide strategic support for the programme.

WASA addresses three
thematic areas

Sustainable water resources management

Water infrastructure and
water technology

Hydrological forecasts and management of hydrological

The research and development projects

In May 2024, a total of seven projects were launched with a duration until April 2028. These are cooperation projects with German and African partners from science, industry and practice, who jointly implement the project activities and thus contribute to the overarching objectives of the funding programme.

Thematic field 1: Sustainable water resources management

  • SeeKaquA: Semi-Airborne Electromagnetic Exploration of Kalahari’s Aquifers, Africa
    Contact: Dr. Raphael Rochlitz, Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics (LIAG) & James Sauramba, SADC Groundwater Management Institute, South Africa
  • WaMiSAR: Sustainable and Climate Adapted Water Management in Mining in the Southern African Region
    Contact: Prof. Dr. Stefan Norra, University of Potsdam, Dr. Martin Schneider, Desert Research Foundation of Namibia & Charl Harding, Impact Catalyst, South Africa

Thematic field 2: Water infrastructure and water technology

  • MAMDIWAS: Making Mining-Influenced Water a Driver for Change to Improve Water Security in South Africa
    Contact: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stefan Panglisch, University of Duisburg-Essen & Prof. Dr. Richard Moutloali, University of South Africa
  • NEU-Water: Nature Engineered Urban Design for Water Recycling and Reuse
    Contact: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Dickhaut, HafenCity University Hamburg & Assoc. Prof. Kevin Winter, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • WaReNam: Multi-Scale Water Reuse Strategy for Namibia: Technology, Governance and Capacity Development
    Contact: Dr.-Ing. Martin Zimmermann, Institute for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE) & Maria Amakali, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR), Namibia

Thematic field 3: Hydrological forecasts and management of hydrological extremes

  • Co-HYDIM-SA: Co-Design of a Hydrometeorological Information System for Sustainable Water Resources Management in Southern Africa
    Contact: Prof. Dr. Andreas Fink, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology & Prof. Dr. Gizaw Mengistu Tsidu, Botswana University of Science and Technology
  • WaRisCo: Water Risks and Resilience in Urban-Rural Areas in Southern Africa – Co-Production of Hydro-Climate Services for an Adaptive and Sustainable Disaster Risk Management
    Contact: Dr. Sophie Biskop, Friedrich Schiller University Jena & Prof. Dr. Francois Alwyn Engelbrecht, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Sustainable networking.

The seven research projects are supported by the networking and transfer project WASANet, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

To foster exchange

WASANet is designed to develop and implement effective instruments and activities to foster exchange and identify synergies amongst the WASA projects. It also aims to support their efforts to connect with the scientific community in water, climate, and environmental research, as well as decision-makers in Sub-Saharan Africa, Germany, and beyond.

To transfer effectively

By the integration of research, and cross-cutting topics, networking, science communication, as well
as the active involvement of the public, private, and industry sectors, WASANet, together with the research projects, contributes to an effective synthesis and transfer of WASA- generated research data, methods, and results to policymakers and decision-makers in the participating countries and beyond.

To improve water security

Utilising WASANet’s multifaceted network of scientific, academic, private sector, and political actors in the water domain, the project further facilitates the science-policy dialogue and private sector engagement to support decision-makers in the uptake of innovative and up-to-date water and forecast technologies to improve water security in Sub-Saharan Africa.

WASANet project partners

Join the network, get in touch!

WASANet Coordinator:
Dr. Joerg Helmschrot

+264 81 141 4182

WASANet African Speaker:

Dr. Nico Elema
+27 21 808 9381

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