Overview KSA's & Impact
Strategic Areas (KSA's)
The WRC has five key strategic areas (KSAs) which
relate to water-centred knowledge, each providing an integrating
framework for investment in addressing a portfolio of key water-related
needs. These KSAs allow for multidisciplinary studies and are focused on
solving problems related to national needs and supporting society and
the water sector. While each of the KSAs is unique and mutually
exclusive (minimal overlaps), they collectively attempt to cover the
complete spectrum of water-related topics of strategic importance.
A crucial characteristic of a KSA is its modus operandi. In order to
function effectively, each of the KSAs is aligned with the WRC’s mission
and vision and has a clear business plan. Each forms an impact area in
which outputs and impacts of research are also assessed.
Each KSA addresses a distinct research portfolio. This consists of a
portfolio of key thrusts with each thrust containing a portfolio of
programmes. Programmes are either built around a portfolio of existing
projects or may be designed in advance as an investment unit. Each of
the KSAs provides for pilot or seed investigations, R&D
projects/programmes and capacity-building initiatives. The KSAs also aim
to support technology transfer, commercialisation and pilot
implementation projects as well as other knowledge dissemination drives.
Of the five key KSAs, four are water-centred and address investment
focused mainly on knowledge creation, while the 5th addresses mainly
knowledge dissemination and information management.
The focus of each of the KSAs is as follows:
KSA 1: Water Resource Management
Generating the knowledge, tools and skills to ensure that water
resources of South Africa are protected, utilised, developed, conserved
and managed to achieve environmental, social and economic
KSA 2: Water-Linked Ecosystems
Providing knowledge to ensure sustained functioning of aquatic
ecosystems and ongoing provision of ecosystem goods and services.
KSA 3: Water Use and Waste Management
Researching effective and efficient water service provision to, and use
of water in, the domestic, industrial and mining sectors. This includes
the prevention of pollution and the development of technologies for
treatment of water and wastewater.
KSA 4: Water Utilisation in Agriculture
Meeting needs of present and future generations of subsistence and
commercial farmers through researching the role water (quantity and
quality) plays in agriculture and forestry and supporting the
development of water-efficient production technologies, decision-support
models and information systems.
KSA 5: Water-Centred Knowledge
Providing internal, knowledge-based support for the WRC and service to
the water sector and society through IT services, knowledge sharing,
scientific communication and the furthering of public understanding of
In addition, four Impact Areas provide for an integrated view of
research investments within and across the KSAs, as they relate to the
key national priorities of society, economy, the environment and public
health. Each domain has a research portfolio which draws together
relevant research projects that fall under the management of the four
The core strategy of the WRC requires a number of key
crosscutting issues of national importance to be addressed. Each of the
KSAs, through its own portfolio of thrusts and programmes, makes an
important contribution to addressing these issues. However, to ensure
that the WRC research portfolio as a whole achieves the desired impact
with regard to each of these key strategic issues, they are dealt with
specifically in four Impact Areas (previously referred to as
Crosscutting Domains) established purposely to provide for the necessary
integration and leadership roles and functions. Apart from being of
national importance, the issues addressed by the Impact Areas enjoy
regional and international priority, as the agendas of major events and
movements such as the WSSD, successive meetings of the World Water Forum
as well as NEPAD have clearly shown.
The integrating function of the Impact Areas entails drawing together
programmes and projects which address the relevant crosscutting issues
and which are under way within the portfolios of each of the KSAs.
Leadership and support is also provided for new KSA initiatives which
can further knowledge with regard to Impact Area-related strategic
thrusts. The domains may also drive specific programmes/ projects that
are overarching and relate to all KSAs in a general manner.
The Impact Areas address the following key issues: