Water History Conference



Water History in Delft, June 24-26 2020 CANCELLED

Long time friend of the IWHA, Maurits Ertsen writes:

As we all know, the serious, worldwide concern about the COVID-19 virus has already forced many to take measures concerning meetings. I am afraid that our upcoming water history meeting is not different from these other meetings. Although the Dutch government and Delft University of Technology have so far only ruled out meetings until June 1, it is by no means certain that after that date meetings will be allowed. Organizing one now is rather difficult too. Furthermore, many people are still restricted in arranging their travel.
Therefore, I have to announce that the water history meeting 2020 in Delft will be cancelled. I sincerely apologize, but I do not see how any other decision could be possible.

Given the continuing global and local uncertainties, there are no plans to postpone the meeting to the fall. In addition, there will be the regular IWHA water history meeting in July 2021 to look forward to as well. This obviously means that the registration fee for those that have registered will be reimbursed. I will arrange the necessary steps for that.

We were all looking forward to meeting each other in person and attending many conference presentations. The program committee has discussed what we could still do with the scholarship and the energy of you all, and we would like to propose a few activities.

1.We plan to have a virtual session on water heritage and museums, in a cooperative effort of the water resources group of Delft University, the LDE Centre for Global Heritage and Development, and IHE-Water Institute in Delft. Information about the event will be shared with you later, but it is planned to take place on Wednesday June 24.

2.Both myself and Ellen Arnold, editors of Water History, the journal, would like to invite you to submit your conference paper as a short regular article (we have been looking for shorter pieces at the advice of our journal manager) or for possible inclusion as a special issue that will serve as a forum for short papers (2000 words, likely due in June). We haven’t worked out all the details about length and submission process for that yet, but are starting to see who might be interested in such a forum. Would you be interested? Please let us know soon!

3.What I would like to organize is a series of shorter virtual meetings in the fall, perhaps building up to the WH issue that will include the short papers. Obviously, online meeting is not the same as meeting in a physical place, but we all know that it makes sense to enlarge our meeting options that do not depend on travelling too much. We might take this unfortunate moment to start a regular series of virtual meetings on water history. Please let me know if you would be interested in presenting at such a meeting.

If you have any questions concerning your possible contribution or other issues, please do not hesitate to approach me on waterhistory2020@tudelft.nl. I am sure we will meet in person in a future setting to share our joined interest in water history.

Kind regards,

Maurits Ertsen

Back to top



IWHA goes to South Africa in 2021

The IWHA Executive is pleased to announce that the 2021 meeting of the International Water History Association will be hosted by Stellenbosch University’s Water Institute (SUWI).  The theme of the conference is, “Water’s ‘Day Zero’ alerts and responses: Pasts, presents and futures,” and the meeting is scheduled for 29 June to 2 July 2021.

The local organising committee is comprised of Prof. Wessel Visser (History), Dr. Willem de Clercq (SUWI), and Prof. Johann Tempelhoff (North West University). They write:

In light of Cape Town’s recent three year drought, prolonging drought in the north-western interior of South Africa and rising temperatures due to climate change, it became imperative to specifically focus the attention of international water research also on the drier regions of the globe and Southern Africa in particular. Hitherto, the IWHA’s conference papers predominantly focussed on water issues in the northern hemisphere. After Cape Town’s near-missed “Day Zero” scenario, where the city’s water mains were on the brink of literary running dry, the idea was contemplated by the local organising committee to host an international conference where the focus will be on actual water crises in those parts of the globe where the threat of desiccation is quite imminent. Therefore it was decided that the conference theme should be “Water’s ‘Day Zero’ alerts and responses: Pasts, presents and futures”. Due to the importance of this conference in the light of the serious deteriorating world climate scenario, the Stellenbosch conference shall not pertain to academics in the social sciences alone, but on the widest field possible of researchers and scientists including hydraulic engineers and natural scientists engaged in the water sector.

The local organising committee was professionally assisted in their bid by INNOVUS and Wesgrow, the official Tourism, Trade & Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape.  

For more information about this Water History Conference, please contact your IWHA Executive

Back to top