I have been commissioned to participate in the 4th BRICS Academic Forum in New Delhi, India. The task given to me was to present a coherent paper on South Africa's strategic level dilemma in the water and food security space. This paper has been written in a non-technical way so that non-scientists can understand the issues involved. The most important thing to note is the Hydropolitical Risk Model that I developed some years ago and shown here in Figure 6. South Africa is transitioning to Structural Deficit beyond what can be thought of as Peak Water. Our national water statistics are presented in Tables 1 - 3 and our major challenges shown in Table 5. The concept of Water Crowding is illustrated in Figure 9 and Table 4. Figure 10 is a rendition of Malin Falkenmark's work showing how national water, food and energy security is linked. Note the use of Kings Demographic Trap as a core component of this model. Finally, Figure 12 shows my understanding of the challenges we face as population growth starts to exceed the environmental carrying capacity in parts of South Africa such as Limpopo. This is a Malthusian view that can be challenged by Cornucopians, but it is based on what I observe actually happening around me in my daily professional life. To download a PDF file click here. These ideas are all central to my work on the New Social Charter for Mining that I am deeply involved with.
One of the current areas of my professional focus is on the topic of Mine Closure. This is consistent with my life experience that to bring about change you need to embrace those with a different viewpoint who are causing the harm you seek to have remedied. What is surprising is that there is no mine in South Africa that I am aware of that has ever legally closed. This has left a legacy of derelict and abandoned mines, which is now coming back to haunt South Africa by undermining Investor Confidence and thus eroding our job-creation capacity. Insiders in the international investment and mining sectors are starting to regard South Africa as having significantly high Sovereign Risk. We can learn many lessons about Sovereign Risk from Australia. In my professional opinion this is arising from four drivers. Firstly, the inability of the ruling party to make consistent pronouncements about nationalization of the mining industry, with the Youth League saying that it will be nationalized when their President comes to power, at the same time as the Government says it will not be nationalized. This sends confusing signals and jittery markets do not like uncertainty. Who is actually running the country? The adults or the children? The nationally elected officials or the internally elected youth leaders? Responsible leaders or angry radicals? Are we a Kleptocracy or a real democracy? Then there is the recent listing of South Africa as a place where genocide is now in Phase 6 - Preparation. None of this is good for our Sovereign Risk rating, because it is easy to get into such a databse, but impossible to get out once in. Secondly, the Acid Mine Drainage issue is making media headlines across the globe for the wrong reasons. This is simply heightening the perception that the mining sector is too risky to invest into. Thirdly, the global financial crisis has caused a rethink about emerging markets, with South Africa starting to fall off the radar screen because we do not have our house in order. Finally, the absence of clear policies on the management of Mine Residue Areas (tailings dams and waste dumps in urban areas) and closure simply raises the Sovereign Risk even further. For these reasons I am now becoming deeply involved in mine closure planning and strategies to help mining companies and regulators navigate through this complex terrain. Western Australia (WA) has the most sophisticated formal policies on mine closure, yet even there there are around 12,000 derelict and ownerless mines. The WA government has been working with the mining sector to develop a coherent mine closure policy, but this remains a work in progress as these are only guidelines. I believe we need a similar approach in South Africa and I applaud the emergence of what are known as the Best Practice Guidelines for Mine Water Management, even if these are not formal policy. I also support the International Council on Mining and Metals approach to the development of toolkits for closure planning. I am currently working with a team of engineers and scientists to develop the first engineered aquifer as an element of mine closure. This relies on the fact that a mine void can be useful after it has been created at great expense, so the separation of waste rock at source and the careful sequencing of the placement of those waste rock streams over time, can result in something useful to society post-closure. This is based on Managed Aquifer Recharge, which is an emerging field of technical focus globally. The only difference is, instead of recharging a natural aquifer, we engineer an aquifer in the old mine void and transform that into an asset post-closure. This fundamentally changes the business plan for mining, removes a future headache for the regulators and also gives society strategic storage with minimal evaporative losses in areas where climate change will ravage future open water storage in surface dams. I believe this to be an eloquent solution and so I invest heavily of my time and efforts into making this a reality.
I was invited to speak at TEDx Cape Town on 16 April 2011 where I delivered a talk called "Reinventing Uncivilization". For more details click here.
As a founding member of the South African Water and Energy Forum (SAWEF), I hope to apply my knowledge about negotiation in areas of high contestation to the water and energy field in South Africa. To download the booklet that explains how we hope to do this click here.
"I am convinced that we will run out of water long before we run out of fuel", says Peter Brabeck-Letmanthe, Chairman of Nestle. Paul Krugman, the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science laureate, makes a compelling case for the need to deal with negative externalities such as acid rain and water pollution if our global economy is to sustain itself (click here). The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility advises investors about water-related risks in the food processing and beverage industries (click here). Coca-Cola, a major user of water globally, makes the formal commitment to reduce its overall water use by 20% in 2012 when compared to a baseline of 2004, including 100% effluent return flow at a quality that will sustain aquatic life (click here). A report by JP Morgan Chase indicates that a shutdown of Texas Instruments or Intel Corporation semiconductor chip plant due to temporary water unavailability could translate into a revenue loss of around $200 million in a given quarter. Coca-Cola loses its water licence in Kerala, India after public action relating to deteriorating water availability becomes apparent. Nike has decided to monitor the toxicity of manufacturing emissions to water across its value-chain in order to prevent a similar fate. Unilever produces personal care products that contain phosphates and thus potentially contribute to Eutrophication across the entire planet, exposing them to reputational risk if this is not fully understood and managed. SAB Miller announces that it takes 155 litres of water to produce one liter of beer in South Africa, compared with just 45 litres of water to produce one litre of beer in the Czech Republic, but if the effluent stream is also taken into consideration, then the South African conversion ratio escalates to 346 litres of water per liter of beer. The gold and coal mines in South Africa cause Acid Mine Drainage that affects large segments of the economy as well as human health. In 2009 water supply to Midrand fails, impacting on the Boulders Shopping Centre by causing an undisclosed loss of revenues for retail outlets and hotels in the vicinity. Of the 850 sewage works recently surveyed in South Africa, only 32 are found to be functioning within acceptable technical specifications for human health, imposing risk on a wide range of other water users (click here for details). The Centre for Development and Enterprise publishes a report entitled Water: A Looming Crisis?, that gives an insight into the South African situation (click here). The Norwegian Government announces that in future the 1,100 publically listed companies that are held in their pension fund portfolio, representing 33 billion Euro in value, will be required to meet certain defined minimum standards of water risk reporting if they wish to stay in that portfolio. All of these are examples of water as a business risk, yet JP Morgan says that, "Corporate disclosure of water-related risks is seriously inadequate and is typically included in environmental statements prepared for public relations purposes rather than in regulatory filings on which most investors rely". I have recently been commissioned by various financial institutions to help them understand Water as a Business Risk or Water as a Financial Risk. These briefings have helped me to understand how the major fund managers see the world, and I am now starting to grow this professional offering to assist any manager, director, investor or analyst in understanding Water as a Corporate Risk. This helps my client to develop strategies that mitigate those risks. This is a new field internationally and I am actively interfacing with other professionals offering this unique service. For some recent offerings in this direction from the USA and Europe click here and here and here and here and here and here. For a South African case study refer to the SAB Miller report by clicking here. To see how the accounting profession is starting to respond in Europe click here. Some authors deny that water is a business risk in South Africa (click here). There are also new training courses in this field. For details of the University of East Anglia offering click here.
This is a recent interview by Creamers Engineering News in which they asked me my views about the future of desalination technology in South Africa. To open the link click here.
I do a fair amount of education and awareness work using various forms of media. This TV documentary entitled Too Many Degrees: Human Security and Climate Change was produced by One World as part of the Regional Climate Change Program (RCCP). It will be shown in Copenhagen as part of the negotitations on a future climate change regime. To access some of the clips from this documentary click here and then follow the instructions on the RCCP website.
I was commissioned by the Catholic Bishop Parliamentarty Office to do a briefing to a Parliamentary Round Table in Cape Town on 30 March 2010. My PowerPoint presentation is entitled "From and Extractive to a Beneficiation Economy: The Vital Role of Water" and can be downloaded if you click here.
As a thought leader I do a number of professional presentations in which I deliver a specific message in the hope that it is understood and carried further by members of the audience. This is an example of a specific message - the need to link our national water, energy and food security strategies - being picked up by a specilaist journalist from Creamer's Engineering News and then passed on to the engineering fraternity. To view the article click here.
I was commissioned by the Swedish Trade Mission in South Africa to do a formal presentation to a delegation to the SADC region under the leadership of the Swedish Prime Minister. The objective of the event was to increase trade links between Sweden and the SADC region through the SymbioCity concept of effciency and recycling. My presentation was entitled Overcoming Energy Limitations to Future Economic Development and it presents Ten Facts that any person needs to understand if they are to make an informed decision about our Water, Energy and Food Security future. This presentsation contains useful maps that show the distribution of coal and water in South Africa, giving a better understanding of why it is water that is a limitation to our energy resource and not coal. We will ultimately make a trade-off between cheap electricity today versus loss of agricultural land and highly polluted water in the future if we continue on our current policy trajectory. To link to the SymbioCity website click here and here and to download a PDF of the PPT itself click here. The SymbioCity Approach encapsulates my view of Managing Water and Energy as a Flux, which is the core concept of TouchStone Resources.
A significant portion of my professional time is given pro bono to support causes that I consider to be worthy. This is the PowerPoint presentation from the Environment and Conservation Association launch, which contains details of my thinking of Water as a Flux rather than a stock. It is this element of water resource management that contains the solution to the South African water scarcity problematuique that constrains our economic development and social wellbeing. To access this presentation please click here:
I was commissioned by the University of Pretoria to be a motivational speaker at the Internal Audit Student Conference held at Gold Reef City on 15 May 2009. My talk was entitled South Africa's Own Inconvenient Truth and it was supported by a PPT presentation. This gives a lot of data on water quality in South Africa, specifically drawing attention to a coming EIA that will see Acid Mine Drainge be treated and potentially sold as drinking water to 11 million citizens, most of whom are unaware that this is about to occur. The PPT is too large for the server so it has been converted to a PDF, losing the animations. Click here to download the PDF version:
I am increasingly being asked by the business sector to advise on water as a business risk. This has resulted in a PowerPoint presentation called The Coming Age of Water that I use as a foundation for my talks, which I then "tweak" to meet the specific needs of my audience. Click here to download the talk entitled The Coming Age of Water:
One of my speciality skills is working in areas of high conflict with a view to laying the foundation on which peace can be built - seeking convergence of ideas in an environment where opinions naturally diverge. I usually do this as a Facilitator, often as a member of a larger team of professionals sourced from the global water sector. During 2008 I was contracted by the World Bank to facilitate an intervention of theirs in the Himalaya and Hindu Kush mountains via a local NGO known as ICIMOD. This was hosted by the Abu Dhabi Forum. These mountains are very significant for a variety of reasons. Firstly they represent the largest volume of ice outside of the poles and this ice is melting rapidly. Secondly they are the headwaters of major transboundary river systems on which hundreds of millions of people rely for their livelihoods. This will all change once the glaciers have melted, so it is an area of increasing Environmental Insecurity, which might exacerbate existing tensions or trigger new conflicts not yet manifest. Thirdly, the region is characterised by political tension with three nuclear powers (China, India and Pakistan) co-existing alongside many smaller states (Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar) and failed states with a history of exporting fundamentalist-styled international terrorism and narcotrafficking (Afganistan). The idea is to use the common threat of reduced water security driven by global warming as a new area of focus for Environmental Peacebuilding. Being an outsider, but with direct experience in the ending of protracted conflict in Southern Africa, my role is to show that such things are possible. This is the simple PowerPoint presentation that I use to introduce the idea that cooperation is possible over the management of transboundary river basins even if there are deeply entrenched issues driving conflict between the riparian states. To download the PDF file click here:
As a Keynote Speaker I am often commissioned by professional bodies to set a specific theme for one of their national or international symposia or conferences. I usually do this with a written paper (available in the My Scientific Papers section of thie website) that enters the official proceedings, supported by a PowerPoint presentation in which I emphasise specific points made in the paper. In this case I was invited by SANCIAHS, the professional association of hydrologists in South Africa, to present the Des Midgeley Memorial Lecture, where I used the opportunity to explain that our fledgling democratic South Africa will need a new form of professional hydrology based on a challenging set of realities such as a Constitution with a Bill of Rights and a national water resource that is stretched to its absolute limit: To download the PDF file click here:
When I work as a Technical Specialist with a foreign audience, I have learned that flexibility is the key. I have also learned that a sense of humour is culture-bound, so I tend not to use humour to illustrate a point with such audiences. Under these circumstances I use a very simple PowerPoint format, often based extensively on images and/or maps, but hardly any text. This allows me to judge my audience at the time of the presentation and adapt accordingly, using the images to illustrate the point I wish to make. This flexibility gives me a wider latitude than a pre-worded PowerPoint presentation. This example comes from a presentation commissioned by the Swedish Foreign Ministry given to the Mekong River Commission in Chiang Rai Thailand. To download the presentation click here:
Sometimes I am commissioned to present new ideas to workshops, conferences or seminars, with the intention to shift the debate in a specific direction. This is the PowerPoint presentation on Benefit-Sharing as an issue of scale that was made on invitation from the African Development Bank at the African Water Week held in Tunisia in 2008. It is the issue of scale that provides the solution to complex problems manifesting at the level of the water-stressed river basin. To download the presentation click here:
Given my past involvement with the security forces during our transition to democracy I have been retained as a Specialist Instuctor by the South African National Defence College. In this capacity my role is to train senior officers on a promotion course from Colonel to Brigadier General. This level of training is designed to shift the thinking of the candidate from that of tactical command and control to strategic command and control. I have had the priviledge of training more than 100 senior officers from a number of Armies, Navies and Air Forces geographically as widely dispersed as South America, Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Indian sub-Continent. Central to this training is the consideration that military formations have the capacity to engage in Environmental Peacebuilding as a foundation for post-conflict reconstruction. This PowerPoint presentation is an example of such training, and is sourced from the Executive National Security Program offered by the SANDF in 2009:
To be uploaded later .....
Since the founding of the Universities Partnership for Tranboundary Waters I have been deeply involved in training mid-career water sector professionals. One of the vehicles for this training is the International Transboundary Water Resource Management Programfunded by SIDA. I was a member of the team involved in the development of this program from the initial concept phase and now work as a Specialist Trainer. To date I have had the priviledge of having trained over 200 mid-career professionals from geographically disperse areas as China, Laos, Bhutan, Pakistan, various countries in Africa, and a large number of countries in Central and South America. This PowerPoint program is an example of my input to that larger course, in this case presented specifically to water management professionals from the Middle East. To download the PDF file click here:
This is the PowerPoint Presentation that was made in Helsinki in 2005 on the topic of shared river basins in the SADC region. It provides some data from Aaron Wolf and his team's Basins at Risk project that is the subject of a formal paper (refer to My Scientific Papers section). To download the presentation click here: