WRC 40th birthday celebration receives high-level delegation
An old saying goes, ’Life begins at forty’. This saying bears a true meaning for the WRC and the research community who came in their numbers to grace the prestigious WRC 40th birthday on 31 August and 1 September 2011. The success of the conference could be marked by an overwhelming attendance of about 397 delegates from the water sector including national, provincial and local government, water boards, research institutions, academia, industry and NGOs.
Fifty eight (58) expert scientists and subject experts presented at this conference on progress and knowledge gaps related to the selected themes. All the speakers presented evidence that the Commission has indeed served South Africa in an amazing way over the last forty years. Professor Rivka Kfir, the outgoing CEO of the Commission presented a welcoming address on 31 September 2011. In her speech Prof Kfir said ‘The WRC is indeed serving a democratic South Africa and has paved the way not only to the formulation of the new Water Act and new National Water Resource Strategy, but it has also coordinated research in line with our democratic constitution, leading research into the concept and application of (Intergrated Water Resource Management) IWRM and the right of both our people and our environment to water’.
Mr Mbangiseni Nepfumbada, DWA Acting Deputy Director General under the directorate Policy and Regulation confirmed the importance of the WRC in his opening address “The strategic plan of the Water Research Commission puts special emphasis on the government’s outcome 10 which addresses the protection and enhancement of the country’s environmental assets and natural resources”.
Nepfumbada continued, “Over the past forty years the WRC funded research projects serve as a catalyst for capacity building and job creation in the water sector”. ‘’WRC also provides South Africa with future researchers as well as a source of skilled human capital for other institutions within the water sector’’.
The conference was not only about celebrating forty years but it was utilised to identify knowledge gaps going forward in research. This strategic direction is urgently needed by the WRC since the water issues are dynamic and the need for new knowledge is always needed. It is essential for South Africa to continue to invest in knowledge that will further support its future water resource management.
To mark this remarkable period of 40 years of existence, the WRC produced a special coffee table book entitled ‘WRC 40 years of excellence’ which was launched on 31 August 2011. The gala dinner was not only about presentations and launches but it provided a networking opportunity by bringing together the research community, WRC current and former employees.
To see conference photos click here
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