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Framework Programme for Research, Education and Training in the Water SectorFETWater, Framework Programme for Research, Education and Training in Water, South Africa

Launched in 2002 by UNESCO and with financial support from FUST and the South African government, FETWater ( supported training and capacity building networks in integrated water resource management in the water sector in South Africa.

In  1996  the  Department  of  Water  Affairs  and  Forestry  requested  support  from  UNESCO and WMO  to  assess  education  and  training  needs  for  integrated  water  resources  management  in  South Africa, as these would have resulted from the newly developed Water Act.  The limited capacity of the then Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) and the water sector in general, to implement the future Water Act, was one of the main conclusions of the assessment. Hence, FETWATER aims developing and transferring knowledge so that the critical mass of water scientists is created and maintained, and facilitate the process of the implementation of the Act.  The creation of knowledge and its transfer is conducted via small training networks, which are composed of the leading individuals and Institutions in the country at each thematic area.

FETWater phase II (2007-2010), established seven networks:

  • Resource Directed Measures (RDM)
  • Groundwater Resource Directed Measures (GRDM)
  • Beneficial Use of Water (BUW)
  • Wetlands and Rivers (W & R)
  • Catchment Management Agencies (CMA) Expertise Development
  • Catchment Management Strategy (CMS) Development
  • Water-Related Disaster Management (WRDM)


Activities within those networks included:

  • Developing training materials and conducting training sessions on all seven aforementioned thematic areas
  • Conducting capacity audits
  • Developing Masters level programmes and training students and professionals on them
  • Developing short courses for the training needs of professionals
  • Developing a groundwater manual and accompanying software for the management of the resource by governmental officials
  • Training on implementation & protection of estuarine environmental water requirements
  • Developing and equipping groundwater test sites
  • Training and building capacity in optimal use of water resources
  • Assisting water sector managers & stakeholders to find a balance between social, economic and ecological use of water
  • Offering water resources graduates and junior / middle level managers, hand-on experience and skills
  • Providing mentoring to Masters’ level student from well known professional


By the end of 2009, 1052 professionals in the South African water sector had received training through the FETWater programme. Concurrently, a vast amount of training material has been produced, and two groundwater tests sites were developed at the universities of Pretoria and KwaZulu-Natal. Emphasis is given in the training of women and previously disadvantaged individuals.