Postgraduate Diploma in Water Management for 2024

Why study a Postgraduate Diploma in Water Management?

The Postgraduate Diploma in Water Management (PGDip in Water Management) offered at IIE MSA is a two-year qualification designed to strengthen and deepen the interdisciplinary skills and knowledge of working professionals in the water sector.

This water management qualification will enable these professionals to appreciate the relatively new and unique interdisciplinary approach to managing water resources, water supply and sanitation services, wastewater treatment and urban water infrastructure projects. Programme participants will be nurtured to become effective managers equipped to understand complex water challenges and to develop interdisciplinary, practical solutions to water and sanitation problems.

What are the subjects offered as PGDip in Water Management modules

The programme comprises eight (8) core modules of 15 credits each and no elective modules (thus 120 total credits). Students wanting to complete the programme will need to complete eight (8) modules in a in a 24-month period.

Module 1: Project Management for Water Managers

This module introduces students to issues relating to water management project planning, design and management. Through these module students will understand the principles of project management in a water related context and learn the skills necessary to professionally design and manage water projects in development contexts. Key topics include: problem analysis and scoping; project design; capacity building; impact assessment; and participatory approaches, monitoring and evaluation.

Module 2: Collaborative Water Planning

There is currently a consensus that water is in crisis, with the crisis appearing to be more a crisis of social organisation and political structures than a crisis of resources. The challenge facing water management practitioners is to be able to establish and maintain effective planning systems that are responsive to this crisis. In this module, students will be introduced to water planning frameworks at the global/international, national, regional/basin, transboundary and local levels. Students will consider current themes influencing water planning and policy including sustainable development, collaborative management, water rights and access, and equity for marginal groups. Water planning as a key governance mechanism at regional and basin levels will be explored in both developing and developed country contexts.

Module 3: Urban Water Design

Cities are in transition. Global forces such as rapid urbanisation and population growth are transforming cities into water dependent areas. Cities are now viewed as a major component of the hydrological cycle. This module seeks to introduce an alternative paradigm for exploring the linkages between the hydrological cycle and the urban landscape. It provides students with deep insights into how these linkages support liveable, sustainable, productive and resilient cities.

Module 4: Water and Sanitation

This module provides students with an understanding of the engineering and socio-economic principles and tools for designing and operating domestic water supply and sanitation systems that are sustainable, appropriate and affordable for poor communities in developing countries. Key topics include the environmental health basis of work in this sector; key principles, approaches and technologies for environmental sanitation, including simplified sewerage and solid waste management techniques; principles of water supply including water quality, quantity affordability and sustainability; simple water treatment process technologies; water lifting and distribution; and operation and maintenance of water supply and sanitation infrastructure. Due attention is given to the non-engineering aspects of water supply and sanitation systems, including tools for demand creation and management and cost-benefit analysis of options.

Module 5: Catchment and Aquatic Ecosystem Health

This module considers river catchments and aquatic ecosystems as complex systems. It applies appropriate theories and tools to the management of these complex systems. Students learn about the basic physical and chemical properties of water and the processes that affect these systems. The module introduces concepts that underlie the basic hydrology of catchments and the rationale for determining environmental flow requirements. It identifies and describes appropriate tools for water management by way of evaluating the interdependence of social and ecological resilience.



Students at IIE MSA will complete the programme in 2 years part-time.


Accredited by the CHE. Registration: NQF Level 8, SAQA ID 97819

Programme code


Discuss your study options with a Student Advisor

First Semester (February)

Each module runs for ten (10) weeks and begins with a scheduled contact session on campus followed by further continuous study and assignment submissions via the Learning Management System (LMS). Contact sessions will occur on Saturdays.

Programme Introduction

The programme has compulsory Programme Introduction sessions. Students will be notified of the Programme Introduction dates, which will take place the week before the module starts.

Application Closing Date

IIE MSA must receive your application at least two weeks before the start of the intake.

Find Out More

+27 11 950 4009

Programme Coordinator

Ms Linda Downsborough
+27 11 950 4130

Contact us

011 950 4009 enquiries@iiemsa.co.za

From outside South Africa

+27 11 950 4009

Module 6: GIS and Water Resources Mapping

This module introduces Geographical Information Systems (GIS) as an integral component of water planning and management. It provides an overview of the basic principles, techniques and applications of GIS in the field of water management in developing and developed contexts. It examines and reviews specific applications where GIS is a useful tool. Subject areas covered include basics of GIS, spatial data sources, spatial data quality, spatial data analysis and decision support systems. It also includes the basic principles of remote sensing and the use of satellite imagery. Case studies and hands-on practices allow students to gain experience of the use of GIS and apply this to water management problems.

Module 7: Community Water Development

Community participation has become a key concept in government and international agency policy on sustainability and water management. A critical perspective on participation in water management focuses on policies and processes of involving ‘the community’ in water management decision making. ‘Community’ and community organisations have been increasingly engaged by state agencies in processes of consultation, collaboration and environmental decision-making and management. This often is because communities represent the ‘local’ where people and groups experience the most tangible and direct relationship with the environment and environmental problems. This module argues that achieving sustainability in water management requires attention to inherently political processes of community engagement, participation and mobilization, dialogue and deliberation, social learning, networking, conflict management, poverty, livelihoods and gender.

Module 8: Climate Change and Water Resources

This module introduces students to the science and politics of climate change. Students explore current global debates about the causes of climate change and the required policy and management interventions.

Postgraduate Diploma in Water Management Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this PGDip in Water Management it is expected that graduates will be able to:

  1. Appraise the basic principles of catchment management and aquatic ecosystem health, collaborative water planning, and project management.
  2. Analyse the key concepts, definitions and practices of water supply and sanitation systems.
  3. Examine the nature and substance of community water development.
  4. Analyse the theory and practice of urban water design.
  5. Evaluate the relationship between climate change and water resources.
  6. Appreciate the basic principles and techniques of Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

Postgraduate Diploma in Water Management Programme Information

Mode of Delivery

The PGDip in Water Management is designed for the working professional and uses flexible teaching methods. These include compulsory face-to-face contact sessions (five Saturday sessions per module), online resources and interactions supported by our Learning Management System, and varied assessments that help you demonstrate your learning in practice.


Continuous assessment is used, through challenging and innovative individual projects, case studies and assignments in each module as well as online exercises to be completed in the LMS.

Site of Delivery

The PGDip in Water Management is offered at the IIE MSA campus in Ruimsig, Johannesburg.

Minimum Admission Requirements
An appropriate HEQSF Level 7 Bachelor’s degree; OR An appropriate Advanced Diploma; OR An equivalent NQF Level 7 qualification.

The qualification must include water, engineering, or environmental science modules at the 3rd-year level, or the applicant must have a minimum of 5 years' experience in the water sector.

International Students

A SAQA Evaluation Certificate with NQF L7 equivalence in an appropriate field of water, engineering or environmental science modules

Please note, requirements for entry to this qualification are correct at the time of publication. However, these may change.


The Postgraduate Diploma in Water Management is awarded by The IIE.

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What is a Postgraduate Diploma in Water Management?

The Postgraduate Diploma in Water Management (PGDip in Water Management) is a two-year qualification which will enable professionals to understand the unique, interdisciplinary approach to managing water resources.

Students in the water management program are nurtured to become effective managers equipped to understand complex water challenges and to develop interdisciplinary, practical solutions to water and sanitation problems.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Water Management is designed for water professionals in South Africa and the broader southern African region who are already working in lower to middle-level management positions, those who are working in related technical fields such as river basin management, groundwater management, water supply and sanitation, water resource planning, water resource economics and water treatment. It will also provide an important starting point particularly for water professionals who have or intend to exercise managerial responsibilities in their respective workplaces and will serve as a conducive factor in their career growth.