12.01.2021 Open end
Application Phase
Selection phase
Funding phase

Water Security in Africa (WASA)

Safe access to sustainable water is an essential element in improving living conditions in Africa. Compared with other areas of the world, the population of Sub-Saharan Africa currently has by far the lowest level of access to safely managed water supplies. Significant investments in the water sector can be expected. Innovative water technologies, adapted water infrastructure and forward-looking management concepts are urgently needed. As a result of the German Federal Government's round table on "Creating Perspectives in Africa" the long-term interministerial program "Water Security in Africa (WASA)" was launched with a focus on research and education. The program started in Southern Africa with 13 joint projects in the initial phase. Following the completion of the initial phase, the next step is the first main phase in Southern Africa.

The WASA program was developed in a joint consultation process with African and German experts from science and practice. It complements the national strategies of the participating countries in Southern Africa. For example, the Water Research Commission in South Africa has earmarked corresponding funding. On a transnational scale, WASA has been developed in collaboration with the African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW).

On the German side, the Federal Foreign Office (AA), the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV), the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK) and their subordinate institutions participated in the development of the program under the lead of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). WASA is part of the BMBF strategy "Research for Sustainable Development - FONA".

WASA stands for innovative forms of collaborative partnership with Africa, with a view to strengthening the research landscape, the economy, and civil society. WASA centers on issues that make a crucial contribution to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The initiative actively seeks to leverage the potential for synergy that can be found in activities that are jointly conceived– and more effectively coordinated – in the context of research cooperation, development cooperation, and economic development.

WASA will enable African stakeholders to make more effective use of the huge investments and funding previously directed into the water sector, substantially increasing their impact.

The WASA program started with an initial phase in Southern Africa. From a large number of proposals, 13 projects were selected that ran for 15 months enabling co-design at both project and program levels. On October 10, 2022, a stakeholder information session gave insights into the 13 projects in the WASA initial phase.

At the end of February 2023, a call for proposals was launched for the WASA main phase in Southern Africa, focusing on research and development activities. Specifically, it is aimed at generating and providing system and action knowledge.

WASA is structured into three thematic areas:

  • Sustainable Water Resources Management
  • Water Infrastructure and Water Technology
  • Hydrological Forecasts and Management of Hydrologic Extreme Events
Information about WASA initial phase projects is available here.

The call for proposals for the main phase of the WASA program was open until June 15, 2023.

An information webinar for potential applicants was held on April 5, 2023. The presentation is availabe for download.

In addition, the BMBF-funded TWAS-DFG Cooperation Visits Programme currently supports short-term (up to 3 months) interdisciplinary exchanges of African researchers to Germany. For further information, please refer to the program website.

Final Reports of the WASA Program Initial Phase Projects

  • Co-HYDIM-SA (Co-design of a Hydro-Meteorological Information System for Sustainable Water Resources Management in Southern Africa)
  • CoSMOS (Development of a Community-Based Sustainable Water Management and Observation System)
  • ECWASA (Innovative Water Infrastructure Management to Increase Water Security for Civilians, Economy & Agriculture in Southern Africa)
  • FIUWA (Frugal Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Water 4.0 in Africa)
  • KreATiw (Climate Resilience, Sanitation and Water Safety)
  • MAMDIWAS (Membrane-Based Decentralized Reclamation of Acid Mine Drainage for Improvement of Water Security and Mitigation of Environmental Impacts in Southern Africa)
  • MiWaSec (Mining and Water security: Development and Implementation of Innovative Strategies for the Prevention and Remediation of Mining-Related Damage to Critical Water Resources in Southern Africa)
  • MultiReWas (Multifunctional Strategies for Resilient Water Security in the Eastern Erongo Region)
  • NEU Water (Nature Engineered Urban Design for Water Recycling & Reuse); NEU Water Annex 1
  • OWASA (Open Science to Support Local Water Security in Southern Africa)
  • SusTraL (Sustainable Resource Management to Ensure Water Security in the Limpopo River Basin: An Initiative for a Transboundary Hydro-Economic Model)
  • WaMiNa (Sustainable and Climate Adapted Water Management in Mining Industry of Namibia and Neighbouring Countries)
  • WaReNam (Multi-Scale Water Reuse Strategy for Namibia)

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