Turning the tide | Infrastructure news

In keeping with the nautical theme of the WISA’s previous two conferences – ‘all hands on deck’ and ‘navigating the course’ in 2020 and 2022 respectively – WISA has chosen ‘turning the tide’ for its upcoming conference in 2024.

By Dr Lester Goldman, CEO, WISA

There must be a shift in our actions if we want to herald in a new era of sustainable water practices and improved sanitation. The cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal (which lead just under 50 deaths), the 2022 flooding in eThekwini (which left many citizens displaced, lives lost and bulk water and sanitation infrastructure being damaged) and the Day Zero reality in Nelson Mandela Bay is ample reason for calls to turn the tide on the water crisis.

The subthemes are:

  1. Hands on the wheel: Moving towards stronger partnerships and stakeholder engagement 
This subtheme will focus on international initiatives, public private partnerships (PPPs), SDG 6 communication and stakeholders, including developing capacity within the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector such as technical skills and soft skills.

  • Aye Aye Capt’n: Turn the tide with improved governance
This subtheme targets water governance, policies and regulations, water economics and business development with particular attention to the circular economy, funding, infrastructure asset management as well as the Blue and Green Drop Certification.

  • Reading the charts: Effecting resilient planning and management in a changing environment
With a changing environment and the devastating impacts of climate change, we must effectively plan toward integrated waste resource management, project management, disaster management and surface water resource protection and accessibility that includes hydrology. This subtheme will invite papers on groundwater management, availability, accessibility and resilience planning including stormwater management, with special attention to SDG 2, agriculture and plant-soil-water enhancements.

  • Forging A’Head: Improving municipal water and sanitation service delivery            
All things service delivery related such as provision of potable water and access to clean water, municipal performance, blue and green drop certification, sanitation service delivery including alternative sanitation such as non-sewered sanitation systems, infrastructure design, construction, operation and maintenance and efficiency.

  • Tending the lookout: Optimising monitoring and efficiency
Monitoring and evaluation are key to efficient service delivery. This subtheme focusses on efficiency in water use by tackling non-revenue water, working with water balances, water quantity monitoring, WCDM and wastewater reuse, water quality impacts (surface and groundwater), monitoring, assessment and modelling and no drop certification. New methods and instrumentation for monitoring in chemical, microbiological and other laboratory analyses.

  • Clipping new edges: Innovation and technology   
Innovation leads to change and progressive movement. This subtheme will target treatment technologies in water, wastewater and wastewater reuse, including sewage treatment, wastewater and faecal sludge, mine water and acid mine drainage, nature-based solutions such as natural and constructed wetlands, 4IR, digital twins, bioremediation, alternative technology (not related to sanitation), applied science or Artificial Intelligence (AI).          

We look forward to welcoming you all at our conference at the Durban ICC from the 27th May to the 29th May in 2024.

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