Possibilities for masters projects on urban water resilence in South Africa

Water scarcity is a major concern for South African cities where recurring droughts are resulting in uncertainty in water supply. Recognising the need to build resilience through alternative water management approaches, the cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg could need inputs on the possibilities of linking stormwater management to water supply. They are also looking into how to integrate such hybrid approaches into the urban fabric, making full use of the momentum provided by drought to leverage change towards urban water resilience. A new research project – Pathways to water resilient South African cities (PaWS) – in which IGN is involved looks into these challenges and possibilities.

Possible masters’ themes

Linking stormwater management to water supply in Johannesburg – overview and possibilities

By exploring into the water cycle and water management in Johannesburg an overview of different possibilities for linking stormwater and water supply could be drawn up. It could be a GIS-based overview, sketches of principles behind possible linkages etc. There could also be an identification of how such possibilities could be connected to various city plans and strategies.

Stormwater ponds as inclusive green spaces

In Cape Town, a more direct starting point could be taken in the design of selected existing stormwater ponds and exploring into possible additional amenity values (than just water management and MAR – managed aquifer recharge which is worked with in the project), and sketching of different designs. How to design green space that is used but do not get vandalized/attract crime and do not interfere with the physical functioning of stormwater flood control as well as MAR.

Another study could be analyses of different stormwater ponds in the city and their potential for becoming urban green spaces depending on various criteria like accessibility, neighbourhood, urban functions etc. It could be a GIS-supported analysis.

Governing transformations towards water resilient cities

Another study theme is on the governance aspects that linking Nature-Based Solutions with conventional water management infrastructures implies for transformations towards water resilience in Johannesburg. Who are the key actors, which policy documents and instruments are the more powerful, including also bottom up processes and citizen involvement.

Potential supervisors – just contact us

  • Patience Mguni (IGN) located in City of Johannesburg: Urban Planning
  • Lise Herslund (IGN): Human Geography, planning, landscape architecture
  • Marina Bergen Jensen (IGN): Nature-based solutions for urban flood control
  • Mark Randall (IGN): GIS and remote sensing analysis of urban water

Funding possibilities and support

The studies can be completed from Denmark, but it is much recommended that you try to organize a longer stay in South Africa, from two to six weeks. Unfortunately our research project does not have budget to support such activities. However, there are a number of private funds that you can apply funding from. In case you need some specific equipment to do some measurements / collect data there is a possibility to have such costs covered by the supervisors.