IWRM Programme (MPhill)



The University of the Western Cape’s Integrated Water Resources Management Masters Programme started in 2001.

Distinctly interdisciplinary, the IWRM programme is built on collaborative inputs from other institutions, civil society organizations, the private and public sectors in South and Southern Africa. This initiative fits in with the current thrusts at the University, contributing to building and strengthening capacity within communities and within the country in the water sector.

The IWRM programme recognized that the management and development of scarce water resources will need different skills to the historical water resources management approaches and that the current situation seeks improved professional competence, problem-solving abilities and insight from a range of traditional disciplines. South Africa made significant progress in the provision of water for human and economic development. However access, conservation, protection, equitable use and the management of this scarce resource continue to be one of the most fundamental problems facing development in South and Southern Africa.

This largely semi-arid region has an uneven distribution of water resources, erratic rainfall, frequent droughts and floods. Coupled with human population growth trends, the ravages of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and land use changes, the region still face bleak development prospects. A reverse current practice to the current prospects is critical.

Students enrolled for the Masters will start the programme as follows:

Postgraduate Diploma in IWRM

Admission requirements

Unless otherwise determined by Senate:

1. In order to be admitted a student shall have obtained a Baccalaureus degree in any relevant discipline; or
2. A National Diploma in a relevant discipline plus at least two years appropriate experience (Rule A.2.1.4 apply).


The duration of the programme for full-time students is one year and for part-time students two consecutive years.
Save with special permission of Senate, the period of study may not in the case of a full-time student exceed two consecutive years or in the case of a part-time student three consecutive years.

Composition of the curriculum

1. Students must complete twelve (12) modules).

2. The following modules are compulsory:


2.1. Modules


Module 1 – Introduction to Water Resources


Module 2 – Water Law


Module 3 – Basic Economic Analysis


Module 4 – Integrated Water Management


Module 5 – Managing Complex Organisations


Module 6 – Hydro-information




Students then select one of the following specialization:

Specialization 1 – Water Resources or                             30 
Specialization 2 – Water and Society or     
Specialization 3 – Economics of Water


Students elect an additional three modules                       30

Total number of credits                                                   120



1. To complete the qualification, a student must obtain a total of 120 credits.
2. A student will not be allowed to repeat more than three modules.

Masters in IWRM

The Masters programme consists of the Postgraduate Diploma in IWRM, plus two modules plus a mini-thesis.

Admission requirements

The Postgraduate Diploma in IWRM with an average of 60%.


The duration of the programme for full-time students is one year and for part-time students two consecutive years.

Composition of the curriculum

Modules                                                                        Credit

1. Postgraduate Diploma in IWRM                                      120
2. Two modules (10 credits each)                                         20

Module 1 – Research Methodology 
Module 2 – Capita Selecta (Special Topics in IWRM)


3. Mini-thesis                                                                      40


Module content for the Integrated Water Resource Management Pprogramme:

Water Resources

Introduction to Water Resources (381015): Introduces the basics of Hydrology within the context of the hydrological cycle.

Catchment processes (381018): Addresses issues of catchment modification and how the impacts of human interventions can be managed.

Groundwater Management (381803): Discusses the origin of ground water, the occurrence, ground water movement and the fundamentals of groundwater management.

Water Quality (381020): Explores water quality,. sources of water quality changes and water quality monitoring.

Water and Society

Water Law (381016): Focuses on the law governing the institutions responsible for the management of fresh water according to the three broad themes viz water quantity, water quality and water use.

Water and Development (381021): Addresses the role of water in social and economic evelopment at local, national na dregional scales.

Environmental Educationn (381022): Unpacks the philosophy, principles and practices of Environmental Education and the suitability thereof for water education and awareness.

Water and Security (381023): Introduces students to international theory and practice of ‘security’, and the multiple debates therein and with the way in which water is conceptualised as a security issue.

Water Management

Hydro- information (381809): Introduces information requirements, sources of information and information management in water resources management.

Managing Complex Organisations (382811): Focuses on the challenges peretaining to water management that arises from the interaction between government, civil society and the private sector.

Environmental Management (381012): Explores the principles of environmental management and EIA, IDP, SEA and environmental reporting as environmental management tools.

Integrated Water Management (381813): Interogate integrated water resources management as an approach to water resources management.

Economics of Water

Basic Economic Analysis (381813): Introduces the basic economic concepts that are necessary for the study of water.

Water, Environment and Welfare (381814): Expands on the use of economic analysis in the study of how water contributes to economic welfare.

The Market for Water (381815): Concentrates on the economic management of domestic water.

Economic Management of Water Resources (381816): Explores how can we use the tools from economics to manage the resources in an efficient and just way at the basin level.


For more information please contact:

Ms Brenda Swanson at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or on 27-21-959-2685 or

Ms Simone Noemdoe at E-mail or Tel: 27-21-959-2026 or Fax: 27-21-959-1436

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