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Nirvashnee Seetal 

The WRC and DST jointly establish a Water Technologies Demonstration Programme

Through a joint collaboration between the Water Research Commission (WRC) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the water sector has now established the Water Technologies Demonstration Programme (WADER).

According to Nirvashnee Seetal, the newly-employed Manager for the programme, water, science and innovation are inextricably linked, so the partnership makes sense in every aspect. Both the DST and the WRC understand the dynamics and importance of creating a sustainable well-functioning and connected National System of Innovation, says Seetal. Demonstrating water technologies in real-world situations is critical if we are to bridge the divide between R&D and commercial markets, enhance social benefits and optimise the functioning of the water innovation value chain.

WADER is currently being funded by DST as a 2-year pilot. Part of the pilot plan is to present a compelling business case that will assist the programme to secure resources to sustain its objectives over a longer term. Within the next two years, WADER will activate at least four technology demonstrators through collaborative partnerships with industry, academia, government and civil society. For the programme’s pilot stage, the technology demonstrators will be drawn from WRC-funded projects. Ultimately, the intention is to progress to open calls for potential technology demonstrators. 

Each technology demonstrator will serve as a ‘showroom’ for the specific technologies. Demonstrations will serve to assess various relevant aspects of the technologies such as technical performance, environmental compliance and social impact. The information from the demonstrations will be made publically available to help consumers make informed decisions about the technologies, promote market awareness and confidence, attract potential funders, communicate gaps in research, and help South African researchers and technology developers/manufacturers legitimise the performance of their products.

According to Jay Bhagwan, Executive Manager for Water Use and Waste Management, by 2025 the intention is for all South Africans to experience a more effective and responsive water sector due to a more streamlined water technology innovation cycle that is able to bridge the divide between research and research products reaching the market, as well as bridging the divide between researchers, technology and product developers, and customers (i.e., communities, industry and public institutions).

Contact:   Manager for WADER, Nirvashnee Seetal, e-mail: nirvashnees@wrc.org.za , Tel + 27 12 330 0340/9010

Nirvashnee Seetal, Manager for WADER
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