Mr. Bill Charley of the Hydrologic Engineering Center joined Dr. Jerad Bales (Chief Scientist for Water) of USGS in supporting a South African-led workshop on water data and drought. It was hosted by the South African Water Research Commission (WRC) on June 27 and 28 in Johannesburg. There were about 75 attendees who represented various stakeholders, including the South African government (Department of Science and technology, Department of Water and Sanitation, Environmental Affairs and others), various universities, and public and private stakeholders.
The meeting was designed to assist in South Africa’s long-term need to rebuild its hydrologic analysis and data capabilities. Mr. Charley is Technical Coordinator for development of the Corps Water Management System (CWMS) software. CWMS is the automated information system used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to support its water control management mission.
Specifically, the workshop covered the need for creation of a Hydrology and Data Center, along with other concerns in South Africa, such as planning for climate change and and insufficient number of hydrologists and technicians. There were also discussions as to the availability of hydrologic data and whether users should be charged and/or restricted with such data.
Subsequent meetings with South African government departments such as the Council for Geoscience and the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) were held as well. In addition to supporting development of the Hydrology Center, participants discussed the need to map out existing bilateral partnerships and agreements and to create new partnerships as appropriate.