Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Current Projects


NEPAD Southern African Network of Water Centres of Excellence.​

Stellenbosch University hosts the secretariat of the NEPAD Southern African Network of Water Centres of Excellence - a network of Higher Education- and Research institutions who conduct high-end scientific research on water and related sectors, as mandated by the African Ministers of Water and also the African Ministers of Science and Technology.

The programme receive funding from the South African Department of Science and Technology, the South African Department of Water and Sanitation, and also the African Union and European Commission. 

For more information, please visit the website at

​​Sustainable water management for resilience to climate change impact on society in South Africa (SUWAM) ​

The primary objective is to enhance resilience to climate change impacts (CCI) on society. The chosen perspective is the water sector and impacts caused by changes in water related ecosystem services (ESS) and effects on man-made water cycle services (WCS). The primary objective will be achieved through fulfilling the following specific goals:

  • Map the current status and predicted CCI on water resources and related ESS with a focus on their impacts on society in Hessequa Municipality.

  • Describe and assess the WCS of a selected settlement with a view to the identified CCI on water resources and related ESS, in a framework integrating social, economic and environmental sustainability analyses.

  • Develop a methodology for integrated sustainability assessment that can be used as a tool in implementation of integrated water resource management (IWRM) strategies, and improve resilience to CCI on society at a local scale.

  • Build capacity on CCI and sustainable water management among public and private stakeholders, including the participating research institutions.

The project is funded through the South African National Research Foundation (NRF), and is part of a bilateral research programme between South Africa and Norway.


Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL)​​

SASSCAL will improve the capacities to provide sound science-based solutions for current problems and future risks in the region, in particular regarding climate change and the associated demands concerning land management practices of local players. To this end, the centre will contribute to strengthening existing and developing new capacities for application-oriented scientific research and science-policy consultations on climate change, adapted land-use and sustainable development in the region.

  • Adaptation to climate change impacts in mixed crop-livestock production systems in southern Africa​Agriculture

  • Integrated data base on water quality and quantity (incl. maps) for ILWRM

  • Integrated river basin assessment and modelling with aquifer integration

  • Development of a decision support system (DSS) for ILWRM

  • Hydrological and hydro-geological baseline data and modelling​

  • Risk assessment and early warning systems


Capacity Building of Technical Vocational Educational Training (TVET) Colleges

SUWI is coordinating on behalf of the Energy Water Sector Training Authority (EWSETA) - as ​one of the key sector initiatives, which is to develop the capacity of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges to offer training in water & waste water treatment disciplines particular at lower NQF levels. The current SAQA unit standard based legacy qualifications will be replaced by the development of new modular based occupational qualifications under the framework of the Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET) Quality Council for Trade and Occupations (QCTO). The aim is to develop critical mass and capacitate TVET Lecturers to teach courses in line with other capacity building initiatives under the FETwater program.

The strategies employed are as follows:

  1. Offer a short course in Water Governance directed to senior TVET college staff members (head of departments, HR practitioners, academic heads), senior treatment plant officials at municipalities (Plant superintendents & HR practitioners), as well as municipal councillors. The aim is to develop critical mass & strengthen relationship between municipalities & TVET colleges as training providers. Our partner within Stellenbosch University, the  School for Public Leadership (SPL) under the direction of Prof Erwin Schwella and his team will facilitate the course. The SPL to date has develop strong linkages municipal governance structures which we find beneficial.
  2. Coordinate the development of an occupational qualification through the participation of a number of sector specialist & practitioners at senior level, and academics at various institutions. The qualification will allow for articulation possibilities for TVET lecturers and facilitators.
  3. In addition, to offer other Water & Waste Water Treatment related short course/s to TVET college lecturing staff. This is based on close collaboration with district and local municipalities.

The following were achieved to date:

  1. The establishment of Memorandum of Understanding with a number of TVET Colleges nationally which include Buffalo City TVET College and Capricorn College. Letters of endorsement we obtained from Boland and West Coast Colleges respectively.
  2. The establishment of a community of expert practitioners (CEP) and working group nationally to participate in the development of the occupational qualification which include but not limited to senior practitioners from sewage & potable treatment plants, Department of Water & Sanitation (DWS), Universities, TVET colleges, and Sector Education Training Authorities (SETAS). We are now at an application phase and managed to gain support from all the two (2) major SETAs (LGSETA, & EWSETA). We are in the process of obtaining support from the Water Sector Leadership Group (WSLG). The application to develop qualification coordinated by Stellenbosch University was submitted to the DHET, and it was approved. The first national scoping workshop was held on the 24 April 2017 and national consensus and buy in were obtained from the sector. The curriculum profile workshop was was held on the 30 and 31 may 2017 at Stellenbosch University.
  3. The first short course: Water Governance for Water Leaders took place between the fourth (4) and seven (7) February 2017. Participants to the course include senior staff from Boland, Northlink, and South Cape Colleges. Senior staff from municipalities of Hessequa, George, Knysna, Swellendam, and City of Cape Town participated. The next course is scheduled for the 31 July to 4th August 2017 and will involve TVET Colleges Umfolozi (Kwazulu Natal Province), Midlands (Nelson Mandela Metro), Lovedale, and Buffalo City TVET (East London). Municipal staff from municipalities of Buffalo City and Amathole will also participate.
See more information on EWSETA:

DROP is aimed at researching “sustainable development law and policy” focusing on reconciling the tensions between environmental sustainability, economic development, and human welfare with a holistic view of current legal, political, economic, social and cultural developments. It integrates public international law (i.e. international economic, social, and environmental law), regional and national law and policy with the goal of enhancing the rule of law around the world and reducing poverty in developing nations.

DROP promotes well-functioning national, regional and global law movements and justice institutions and projects. International organizations and national governments bound by the rule of law are essential in guaranteeing economic growth, political stability, environmental sustainability, social and just development and the eradication of poverty in the world. Any diplomatic outcomes related to sustainable development and the environment (i.e. climate change, water conflict, food security, energy safety, natural disasters etc.) will remain unimplemented without adherence to the rule of law, without open, just and dependable legal orders.

DROP intends to synthesize global knowledge relevant to the legal empowerment agenda, promote the legal empowerment agenda at national, regional and global level, assist emerging economies (i.e. BRICS) development, serves as a global networking platform and cross-fertilizes global and local experiences. It conducts research, develops and provides policy recommendations and tools that will guide policymakers in the implementation of reforms.

DROP intends to function as focal point, mainstreaming knowledge relevant to sustainable development law and research outputs from different perspectives and sciences for the benefit of prospective experts.

DROP falls under the institutional and academic control of the Dean of the Faculty of Law and enjoys institutional support from the Vice-Rector (Research and Innovation, Prof Eugene Cloete and administrative support by the Water Institute at the same University.

DROP is in full alignment to the Universities HOPE Project. It inter alia works in close cooperation with the Law Faculty’s Ciucci Centre for Law and Social Development (CLSD), the NEPAD Water Centres of Excellence Programme, the Biofuels Research Chair, the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies and the Centre of Excellence for Green Economy Transitions (CEGET), the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies, the Centre for applied Ethics (Units for Environmental Ethics, Bioethics and Business Ethics and Public Integrity, the School of Public Leadership (Sustainable Development Programme), the Africa Centre for Dispute Settlement, the Centre for Chinese Studies and the Centre for Transdisciplinarity, Sustainability, Assessment, Modelling and Analysis.​