Joint German-South African water management project

The Middle Olifants South Africa (MOSA) programme, funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), is a consortium of water science and management institutions from Germany and South Africa developing integrated water resource management options within the “Middle Olifants” catchment area. 

Olifants River in the Kruger National Park, South Africa Enlarge image Olifants River in the Kruger National Park, South Africa (© picture alliance/Arco Images GmbH) Located in the northeast of Pretoria, this region is characterized by a large number of water users with high consumption patterns, such as large scale irrigation farms, mining companies and fast growing human settlements. 

Due to its proximity to the famous Kruger National Park the ecological status of the Olifants River is of particular economic significance.

German and South African partners work closely together on this project. The first project phase was implemented from 2006-2010 focusing on the development of an integrated water resource management (IWRM) including a water resource module (WRM), water intervention module (WIM) as well as a water allocation module (WAM).

Currently, the MOSA Project is in its second phase, which was launched in 2012, and is funded until 2015 with the objective to increase the valuation of all water-related activities and to secure the value increase in a sustainable manner.

Their bilateral co-operation has extended during Phase II to the lower Olifants, in particular to the Kruger National Park, where a variety of applied works have taken place including using a mobile water quality laboratory to undertake spatial snapshot sampling of the lower Olifants and Ga-Selati.

Workshop participants in May 2015 Enlarge image Workshop participants in May 2015 (© IWRM) One of the key interventions in the current second project phase was the establishment of a pilot wastewater treatment plant in the project region. This pilot plant will be used as a model for the improvement of existing wastewater treatment plants and the construction of additional ones.

Several workshops have furthermore been conducted to facilitate the exchange of ideas and to build local human capacity in the water sector. 

The latest took place in May 2015 when MOSA and the Kruger National Park joined forces to provide outreach to both schools and neighbouring institutions in the Phalaborwa region. Pupils of more than 10 local schools were invited to the event and received training in the field on aquatic bio-monitoring from SANParks and SAEON scientists and were then able to play the “DHI Middle Olifants Water Game”. This game is based on a simplified simulation of water management systems and thereby helps to foster public awareness regarding water related challenges.

In May 2015, MOSA and the Kruger National Park reached out to schools in the Phalaborwa Region Enlarge image In May 2015, MOSA and the Kruger National Park reached out to schools in the Phalaborwa Region (© IWRM) The workshop moreover brought together significant stakeholders from the local municipalities, mining companies as well as the provincial operations office of the Department of Water & Sanitation to discuss sustainable operations and maintenance of waste water treatment works, hydrological modelling and new decision support technologies that can be used to analyse and map hydrological risk at a catchment scale.

More information on MOSA 

Play the Water Game

Middle Olifants South Africa Programme


Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Education and research are the foundations for our future. The promotion of education, science and research by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research represents an important contribution to securing our country's prosperity.

BMBF delegation visits water resource management project

Mobile laboratory used by MOSA

As part of the second phase of the Middle Olifants South Africa (MOSA) project, which should establish a pilot wastewater treatment plant in the region of the Middle Olifants river, a delegation of the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) visited South Africa from October 20 – 25 for a status workshop, project site visit and to discuss further cooperation in the field of water resource management with South African partners.