WISA will be bringing leaders, professionals, researchers and other stakeholders together to thrash out vital issues in the field and provide ideas, solutions and new ways of thinking about how to answer many burning questions around water. Photo: File
WISA will be bringing leaders, professionals, researchers and other stakeholders together to thrash out vital issues in the field and provide ideas, solutions and new ways of thinking about how to answer many burning questions around water. Photo: File

WISA2020 experts to answer urgent questions about water sustainability in southern Africa

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Sep 19, 2020

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Will we ever face water shedding in southern Africa? Can we trust the quality of our water? Are our dams full enough to see us through this pandemic and any other future unprecedented global moment which might bring more never-before-seen challenges?

These are just some of the questions that may be answered at WISA2020, the Water Institute of Southern Africa’s Biennial Conference and Exhibition.

The conference which runs from 7-11 December will be a 100 percent virtual conference this year.

WISA will be bringing leaders, professionals, researchers and other stakeholders together to thrash out vital issues in the field and provide ideas, solutions and new ways of thinking about how to answer many burning questions around water.

The theme of the conference reflects a universal interest and an urgent need for engagement in water matters: “#AllHandsOnDeck”.

All of us, whoever we are, share a need for “a reliable, clean supply of water and sanitation systems that work,” says Dr Marlene van der Merwe-Botha, Chair of WISA2020’s Technical Committee and past-president of WISA.

She added, “The intention of our theme is to place the emphasis on doing, on action, on implementation. We want to bring together all the actors in the water sector and related sectors, to engage outside of their boundaries but within a connected space, to ensure we create a sustainable water service and water future for South and southern Africa.”

Echoing the concept of renewed action and innovative change, the programme has been stripped of much of the protocols and rituals we’ve come to expect from conferences. This year WISA2020 is going virtual, with an exciting programme which includes presentations by an impressive array of speakers, e-exhibitions and posters, exhibition offers and discounts, and an opportunity to make the most of multiple one-on-one networking opportunities. There are so many benefits to the virtual world, including unlimited access to all the conference sessions and discussions – even after the event is over.

Delegates will be able to enjoy sessions that follow these six topics:

  • Govern and regulate the sector
  • Reduce water demand and increase supply
  • Manage the resources for a capable ecology
  • Develop skills and technology innovations and disruptors
  • Manage and monitor effective water and sanitation services and infrastructure
  • Improve raw water quality and management

Thought-provoking and inspiring discussions will be held by esteemed keynote speakers:

1. Daniele Silke – a political analyst and futurist

2. Professor Stefan Uhlenbrook – a world-renowned hydrologist with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI)

3. Sivuyile Pezulu – a young professional in the water sector with fresh perspectives on the emergence and advancement of young water professionals and entrepreneurs in the field

The conference will also host robust panel discussions and debates, where hard questions will be asked and answered by leading water experts.

“Our aim is to open the conference up to a mix of established professionals and academia and to young professionals, to let the young voices be heard and give them a platform. They are the future of the water sector, and will be the curators of everyone’s water supply in years to come, so it’s important they not only have a voice, but that WISA carry their message to those in power,” concluded Dr van der Merwe-Botha.

IOL

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