WISA2020 is going 100% virtual and experts are ready to answer urgent questions about water sustainability in southern Africa

Will we ever face water shedding in southern Africa? Can we trust the quality of our water? Are our dams full enough to see us through this pandemic and any other future unprecedented global moment which might bring more never-before-seen challenges?

The major drought southern Africa endured in recent years has made water an urgent topic of conversation at dinner tables and on social media. After all, water is even more critical to our health and wellbeing than power… that other critical topic.

WISA2020, the Water Institute of Southern Africa’s Biennial Conference and Exhibition – which will be a 100% virtual conference this year – will be held from 7-11 December.

This is the region’s biggest water sector event and WISA will be bringing leaders, professionals, researchers and other stakeholders together to thrash out vital issues in the field and provide ideas, solutions and new ways of thinking about how to answer many burning questions around water.

The theme of the conference reflects a universal interest and an urgent need for engagement in water matters: “#AllHandsOnDeck”.

All of us, whoever we are, share a need for “a reliable, clean supply of water and sanitation systems that work,” says Dr Marlene van der Merwe-Botha, Chair of WISA2020’s Technical Committee and past-president of WISA. “The intention of our theme is to place the emphasis on doing, on action, on implementation. We want to bring together all the actors in the water sector and related sectors, to engage outside of their boundaries but within a connected space, to ensure we create a sustainable water service and water future for South and southern Africa.”

Echoing the concept of renewed action and innovative change, the programme has been stripped of much of the protocols and rituals we’ve come to expect from conferences. This year WISA2020 is going virtual, with an exciting programme which includes presentations by an impressive array of speakers, e-exhibitions and posters, exhibition offers and discounts, and an opportunity to make the most of multiple one-on-one networking opportunities. There are so many benefits to the virtual world, including unlimited access to all the conference sessions and discussions – even after the event is over.

With the December conference fast approaching, we encourage you to book your tickets and look out for those early bird prices that will make WISA2020 an even more affordable and unforgettable experience. You don’t want to miss this year’s instalment!

Delegates will be able to enjoy sessions that follow these six topics:

  • Govern and regulate the sector
  • Reduce water demand and increase supply
  • Manage the resources for a capable ecology
  • Develop skills and technology innovations and disruptors
  • Manage and monitor effective water and sanitation services and infrastructure
  • Improve raw water quality and management

Thought-provoking and inspiring discussions will be held by esteemed keynote speakers: Daniele Silke – a fascinating political analyst and futurist who will share his take on the nexus between the water sector and global business, economic and political trends impacting on Africa and South Africa’s future, Professor Stefan Uhlenbrook – a world-renowned hydrologist with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) who is known for his role in science policy, development and sustainability, and Sivuyile Pezulu – a young professional in the water sector who will fire everyone up with fresh perspectives on the emergence and advancement of young water professionals and entrepreneurs in the field. We can also look forward to robust panel discussions and debates, where hard questions will be asked and answered by leading water experts.

“Our aim is to open the conference up to a mix of established professionals and academia, AND to young professionals, to let the young voices be heard and give them a platform,” says Dr van der Merwe-Botha. “They are the future of the water sector, and will be the curators of everyone’s water supply in years to come, so it’s important they not only have a voice, but that WISA carry their message to those in power.”

To find out more about WISA2020, both the programme and what to expect with this year’s one-of-a-kind virtual conference, please visit https://wisa2020.org.za/.
Ready … Set … #AllHandsOnDeck!


The Water Institute of Southern Africa is an NPO which promotes the effective and efficient management of water resources and water services. It is an apolitical body which represents the common interests of all persons engaged in the water sector.

To arrange an interview or find out more, contact Noni Sophe nonisophe@gmail.com or call 078 233 9509; or call Lynne Smit at 021 556 4777