Dr Sabine Stuart-Hill

Dr Sabine Stuart-Hill

Tel: +49 (0)261 287 2277

Email: Dr Sabine Stuart-Hill


Based full-time at the University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany
Physical Geography, Campus Koblenz, Universitätsstraße 1




From 2008 until 2020 I have been a lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a senior researcher at the later on established Centre of Water Resources Research. Since October 2020 I am employed at the University of Koblenz-Landau as a senior researcher and lecturer and based on the campus in Koblenz within the Institute for Integrated Natural Sciences. A specific focus of my research is mainstreaming, decision making and participatory processes relating to sustainable development and climate change adaptation. My research domain is therefore ‘Sustainable Transformations’ within which my interest lies with practices and tools within water and natural resource management and governance. Such practices range from technical (modeling) to participatory (citizen science) and may assist – or not – in horizontal and vertical integration. My mission is to contextualize such practices and tools in order to find ‘the right mix’ for sustainable and inclusive development. Therefore, most of my research endeavors rest on mixed methods and transdisciplinary approaches working in co-production modes with government, society and industry. I am fortunate to have built an international network of collaborators that enable me to partake in international research projects and gain insights beyond the boarders of South Africa.

Since 2012 I have presented at more than 12 national and international conferences within and outside of South Africa including Europe on topics of adaptation, vulnerability, IWRM, co-design, mainstreaming, and governance. My publications are mix of journal articles, and more public orientated handbooks and briefs. The latter I hope will be more accessible for decision-makers and practitioners.

Due to the aim to support South Africa’s sustainable development trajectory and create change for social-wellbeing, I have been engaging in manifold leadership roles with in the South African water sector over the past years.  My currently most active roles are the co-chair of the Research Sub-Committee of the Umgeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership, founding member and organiser of the uMngeni School of Water Governance Research, my memberships in the Upper Mgeni Catchment Management Forum and the Msunduzi Catchment Management Forum. Further, I am also a member of the ‘Reference Group for governance arrangements for decentralised water resource management’, co-hosted by the Water Research Commission and the National Minister for Water and Sanitation.


It needs to be noted that before joining the University of KwaZulu-Natal, I worked as a professional in diverse capacities that have influenced her critical thinking and facilitating abilities: After 2 years at an Engineering Office for Environmental Management in Cologne, I joined the German IRMA-Secretariat. IRMA was a European funded programme on preventive flood management jointly designed by the EU member states France, Luxembourg, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, and with a special status Switzerland. I monitored evaluated more than 35 transnational German projects and negotiated for them on the European level. Based on my broad knowledge of national and international environmental law I was assigned as an expert member to several working groups of the International Commission for the Protection of the River Rhine, consulting the International Commission for the Protection of the River Elbe and as a member of the ‘European expert group on flood management of the United Nations, Economic Council of Europe’.



  • MSc Degree in Geography (Diplom-Geografin) with her majors being Soil Sciences and Meteorology, Rheinische Friedrich- Wilhelms University, Bonn, Germany. (Thesis “An analysis of the high water levels on the river Rhine in the years 1993 and 1995. Computation of flood maps for the cities of Cologne and Bonn based on self-developed digital elevation models“ Sep 1997).

Current Research Projects

  1. Project leader and principal researcher: “A national assessment of potential climate change impacts on the hydrological yield of different hydro-climate zones of South Africa”; Water Research Commission; 2018-2022
  2. Researcher: “Socio-economic Benefits of Ecological Infrastructure (EI)“; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark; 2018-2020
  3. Researcher: “Exploring the Evidence of Water-Energy-Food-Nexus Linkages to Sustainable Local Livelihoods and Wellbeing in South Africa”; Water Research Commission; 2017-2020
  4. Researcher: “Erhöhung der STEuerungskompetenz zur ERreichung der Ziele eines integrierten Wassermanagements (STEER)”; Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF); 2017-2020
  5. Researcher: “Demonstration of how healthy ecological infrastructure can be utilized to secure water for the benefit of society and the green economy through a programmatic research approach based on selected landscapes”; Water Research Commission; 2014-2020
  6. Researcher: “Uncertainty reduction in Models For Understanding deveLopment Applications (UMFULA)”; Department for International Development (DFID) and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC); 2019-2021


Selected Recent Publications

Journal Articles

  • S. J. E. Midgle, K. J. Esler, P. B. Holden, A. J. Rebelo, S. I. Stuart-Hill, J. D. S. Cullis, N. Methner (in print) Typologies of collaborative governance for scalable nature-based solutions in two strategic South African river systems. Ambio Special Issue “Planning and Governing Nature-based Solutions in River Landscapes”.
  • Neto, S., Camkin, J., Fenemor, A., Tan, P.-L., Melo Baptista, J., Ribeiro, M., Schulze, R., Stuart-Hill, S., Spray, C. and Elfithri, R. (2018) OECD Principles on Water Governance in practice: an assessment of existing frameworks in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and South America. Water International, 43:1, 60-89.
  • Stuart-Hill, S., and Schulze, R. (2017) Reflections on the framework of water governance in South Africa. New Water Policy and Practice, 3(1):46-65.
  • Ziervogel, G., New, M., Archer van Garderen, E., Midgley, G., Hamann, R., Taylor, A., Stuart-Hill, S., Warburton, M. and J. Myers (2014) Climate change impacts and adaptation in South Africa: current approaches and future challenges. WIREs Climate Change, 5:605-620.
  • Ngcobo, S., Jewitt, GPW, Stuart-Hill, SI and M.L. Warburton (2013) Impacts of global change on southern African water resources systems. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 5:655–666.
  • Stuart-Hill, S.I. and R.E. Schulze (2010) Does South Africa’s water law and policy allow for climate change adaptation? Climate and Development 2: 128–144. doi:10.3763/cdev.2010.0035


  • Meissner, R., Stuart-Hill, S. and Nakhooda, Z. (2017). The establishment of catchment management agencies in South Africa with reference to the Flussgebietsgemeinschaft Elbe: Some practical considerations. In, Karar, E. (ed.), Freshwater governance for the 21st Century. Dordrecht: Springer.

Research Reports

  • Jewitt, G.P.W., Sutherland, C., Browne, M., Stuart-Hill, S., Risko, S., Martel, P., Taylor, J. and M. Varghese (in print) Enhancing Water Security through Restoration and Maintenance of Ecological Infrastructure:  Lessons from the Umngeni Catchment, South Africa; Vol I: Final Report. WRC Report No K5/2354. Pp . 147.
  • Stuart-Hill, S.I. and R. Meissner (Eds.) (2018) Lessons learnt from the Establishment of Catchment Management Agencies in South Africa. Water Research Commission, Pretoria, RSA, WRC Report No. 2320/1/18, ISBN 978-1-4312-981-1, pp 171.
  • Stuart-Hill, S.I. and R.E. Schulze (Eds.) (2015) Developing Water Related Climate Change Adaptation Options to Support Implementation of Policy and Strategies for ‘Water For Growth And Development’. Water Research Commission, Pretoria, RSA, WRC Report No. 1965/1/15 ISBN 978-1-4312-0636-0, pp 308.
  • Stuart-Hill, S.I. and R.E. Schulze (Eds.) (2012) An Evaluation of the Sensitivity of Socio-Economic Activities to Climate Change in Climatically Divergent South African Catchments. Water Research Commission, Pretoria, RSA, WRC Report No. 1843/1/12, ISBN 978-1-4312-0267-6, pp 195.
  • Stuart-Hill, S.I., Schulze, R.E. and J. Colvin (2012) Handbook on Adaptive Management Strategies and Options for the Water Sector in South Africa under Climate Change. Water Research Commission, Pretoria, RSA, WRC Report No. 1843/2/12, ISBN 978-1-4312-0269-0, pp. 103.


  • Stuart-Hill, S., Lukat, E., Pahl-Wostl, C. and Pringle, C. 2020. Coordination Beyond the State to Solve Complex Water Problems – Insights from South Africa. Briefing Paper 2020(21), https://doi.org/10.23661/bp21.2020.
  • Jewitt, G., Sutherland, C., Stuart-Hill,S., Taylor, J., Risko, S., Martell, P. and Browne, M. (2021) Enhancing Water Security through Restoration and Maintenance of Ecological Infrastructure: Lessons From the uMngeni River Basin, South Africa. EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11537, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-11537
  • Stuart-Hill, S.I. (2018) Establishing CMAs: A complex affair that cannot be rushed. Fieldnote for the Water Information Network – South Africa (WIN-SA). Water Research Commission, Pretoria.
  • Lötter, D., Davies, C., Archer, E., Vincent, K., Pardoe, J., Tadross, M., Landman, W., Stuart-Hill, S. and Jewitt, G. (2018) Climate information needs in Southern Africa: a review. Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy Working Paper No. 335, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Paper No. 300, United Kingdom.
  • Sutherland, C., Jewitt, G., Rsiko, S., Hay, D., Stuart-Hill, S. and M. Browne (2017) Understanding catchment dynamics through a Space-Society-Water trialectic. Proceedings from the 19th EGU General Assembly, 23-28 April, 2017, Vienna, Austria, p. 11957.
  • Herrfahrdt-Pähle, E. and S.I. Stuart-Hill (2010) African developments: Adapting to climate change – A governance challenge. Briefing Paper 16, German Development Institute. Bonn, Germany.