Teaching wise water use, from Africa to Tajikistan.

Story from the Water Institute newsletter, March 2012. Republished with permission. Photo by Faculty of Environment.

Larry Swatuk

Larry Swatuk is an associate professor and director of the International Development Program in Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment.

Prior to coming to Waterloo in the fall of 2008, Larry spent 13 years in Africa, the last 11 at the University of Botswana – seven on the main campus in Gaborone and four at the Okavango Research Institute in Maun, where he was Associate Professor of Natural Resource Governance.

He has published extensively on issues pertaining to the ‘wise use’ of the resources of the Okavango River basin. For three weeks during each Canadian summer he teaches a modular course on Water and Security at the University of Western Cape in South Africa – a course he initially developed 11 years ago for the Southern African Development Community region multi-university MSc in integrated water resources management.

Partly due to his training in political science and international relations, Larry specializes not only in decision-making around the use of water resources, but in the training of decision makers for dispute resolution and negotiation on these same resources.

In 2008 he produced a training manual based on his experiences for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-sponsored Cap-Net (available free online in 3 languages), and continues to facilitate short courses, most recently for the UNDP/Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Dushanbe, Tajikistan and in Delft, The Netherlands through UNESCO’s From Potential Conflict to Cooperation Potential program.

Larry was instrumental in recently establishing a new Master of Development Practice (MDP) program through Waterloo’s School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED). The program aims to produce graduates with a set of practical skills and functional forms of knowledge in the interrelated areas of management, social science, physical science, and health as they relate to the practice of international development.

The program is part of an international network of 25 universities put together by the MacArthur Foundation that strives to fill the serious practical and multi-disciplinary gaps in existing international development studies programs that do not match the needs and aspirations of young people today. As part of this program, the MDP at Waterloo will offer a series of four water courses (three online) for those wishing to pursue water resource management as their area of concentration.

Larry continues to research and educate on opportunities and challenges of implementing integrated water resources management in Southern Africa.