Learning from South Africa’s complex water-related challenges

April 13, 2024 / Comments (0)


Doing Research with Society Addressing complex water- related challenges in South Africa.

Monday, April 15 at 3pm – FREE

This talk will be held virtually via Zoom and in-person at 107 Norman Smith Hall, UMaine. For Zoom connection information go to umaine.edu/mitchellcenter to register.

Speaker: Professor Nelson Odume, Director, Institute for Water Research, Rhodes University

South Africa is confronted by complex water challenges, including declining water quality and quantity, habitat degradation, biodiversity loss, infrastructural decay as well as systemic governance failures. Responding to these challenges requires the departure from the traditional, disciplinary research and scholarship, to that which draws on diverse and multiple knowledge systems, actors and stakeholders. Here, Odume provides case studies of engaged, participatory research addressing: 1) contestations of water quality use and management in a highly urbanised and developed river basin; 2) the complex interactions between equity, efficiency and sustainability in the water-land-agricultural nexus in an agriculturally dominated landscape; 3) the collective development of a sustainability vision to address the water crisis within the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. Through these case studies, Odume provides reflections on: 1) principles and lessons based on the knowledge co-production process; 2) the relevance of engaged, collaborative and participatory research approaches to complex challenges; 3) the challenges at personal, institutional and structural levels; and 4) some perspectives on how to advance this kind of research and the value added.

To request a reasonable accommodation, contact Ruth Hallsworth, 207.581.3196 or [email protected]

All Mitchell Center talks are free and open to the public. Talks are held virtually via Zoom and in-person at 107 Norman Smith Hall, UMaine, Orono. Refreshments will be served.

  • Virtual attendance: Complete the registration form to receive Zoom connection information.