Mitchell Center hosts talk on South Africa’s water-related challenges, April 15

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    ORONO — The Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine will host a talk, “Doing Research with Society – Addressing complex water-related challenges in South Africa,” on Monday, April 15, at 3 p.m.

    South Africa is confronted by complex water challenges, including declining water quality and quantity, habitat degradation, biodiversity loss, infrastructural decay and systemic governance failures. Responding to these challenges requires a departure from traditional disciplinary research and scholarship, as well as drawing on diverse knowledge systems, actors and stakeholders. 

    During his talk, professor Nelson Odume, director of the Institute for Water Research at Rhodes University, will provide case studies of participatory research that addresses the contestations of water quality use and management in a highly urbanized and developed river basin; the complex interactions between equity, efficiency and sustainability in the water-land-agricultural nexus in an agriculturally dominated landscape; and the collective development of a sustainability vision to address the water crisis within the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

    Through these case studies, Odume will reflect on the principles and lessons based on the knowledge co-production process; the relevance of engaged, collaborative and participatory research approaches to complex challenges; the obstacles at personal, institutional and structural levels; and some perspectives on how to advance this kind of research and the value added. 

    All talks in the Mitchell Center’s Sustainability Talks series are free and are offered both remotely via Zoom and in person at 107 Norman Smith Hall on the UMaine campus in Orono.

    Registration is required to attend remotely. To register and receive connection information, visit the event webpage. To request a reasonable accommodation, contact Ruth Hallsworth, 207.581.3196;


    About Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions: The Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine aspires to be a leader and valued partner in understanding and solving problems related to the growing challenge of improving human well-being while protecting the environment. We collaborate with diverse stakeholders and bring together faculty and students from many different fields. By connecting knowledge with action, we seek to create a brighter environmental, social and economic future in and beyond Maine.

    About the University of Maine: As Maine’s only public research university and a Carnegie R1 top-tier research institution, the University of Maine advances learning and discovery through excellence and innovation. Founded in 1865 in Orono, UMaine is the state’s land, sea and space grant university with a regional campus at the University of Maine at Machias. Our students come from all over the world and work with faculty conducting fieldwork around the globe — from the North Atlantic to the Antarctic. Located on Marsh Island in the homeland of the Penobscot Nation with UMaine Machias located in the homeland of the Passamaquoddy Nation, UMaine’s statewide mission is to foster an environment that creates tomorrow’s leaders. As the state’s flagship institution, UMaine offers nearly 200 degree programs through which students can earn bachelor’s, master’s, professional master’s and doctoral degrees as well as graduate certificates. For more information about UMaine and UMaine Machias, visit 

    Event Date: 

    Mon, 04/15/2024 - 3:00pm

    Event Location: 

    107 Norman Smith Hall and Zoom


    107 Norman Smith Hall
    University of Maine
    Orono, ME 04669
    United States