Acheampong, Ernest

Decoupling Economic Growth from Water Consumption and Degradation:
A Transition towards Sustainable Water Resource Management and Planning.


The proposed research explores the policy implications of an integrated water-resource management approach and the principles of decoupling within the context of economic growth and water-use in sub-Saharan Africa.

The region is faced with the challenge of redressing the economic, social and environmental imbalances in water supply and management over the past number of years. The average adult in South Africa needs roughly 1 million litres of water per annum to maintain her or his current lifestyle. Population, economic growth and climate change are regarded as the primary determinants of future water requirements and availability. The current water problems are complex and persistent because they are characterised by structural uncertainty, high stakes for a diversity of stakeholders involved and governance problems.

This research engages multiple theoretical foundations of integrated water-resource management and decoupling that correspond with the multi-disciplinary nature of sustainable water-resource management. This engages more holistically with how multiple stakes may shape efficient water supply and demand productivity by fostering a broader process of learning and problem solving with co-operation between different parts of society and science in order to meet the complex challenges of society.

The principles and process of transdisciplinary approaches will guide this research. Through a literature review, key expert consultation and stakeholder workshops, and case studies from Kenya and Ghana, the research will undertake an in-depth content analysis of the successes and failures (and their contributing factors) in the various water-use sectors, agencies and institutions in their bid to implement integrated water-resources management policies and strategies for water-resource decoupling in the economy and environment. The research will further attempt to design a modelling framework for the decoupling of economic growth from water uses and water pollution at the national level.

Supervisor: Prof Mark Swilling, Programme Co-ordinator: Sustainable Development; School of Public Leadership; Faculty of Economic & Management Sciences, Stellenbosch University.

Disciplinary history: Natural Resource Management, Land and Water Management, Sustainable Agricultural Development, Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation.

Faculty/department of registration: Faculty of Economics & Management Sciences; School of Public Leadership, SU (2013)


  • Comment Added:
    | By:
    Gaise Kopa
    bonjour, je suis très intéressé par cette thématique de la recherche, qui s’intéresse à l'eau sans laquelle personne ne peut vivre, il est donc nécessaire de penser à y réfléchir car si on ne fait pas très attention on risquera de connaitre un sérieux problème d'eau au continental que mondial à cause de la mauvaise utilisation et d'une manière irrationnelle.