Applied research is a practical problem-solving process that applies innovation to existing water resources and environment challenges faced by both the country and the region. By generating evidence through applied research, the Water Management sub program will articulate its contribution to the national development through enhancing Natural Resources, Environment, Climate Change, Land and Water Management to sustainably increase household incomes and quality of life of all people.

The Water Resources Institute (WRI) coordinates the planning, implementation and application of applied research, by supporting the use of innovative knowledge and technologies in the creation of useful evidence, products, services and processes for water resources development and environment management.

At the WRI, applied research is central to development and delivery of capacity building through Applied Training, Dialogues, and Outreach, leading to a more formalized process of knowledge generation and evidence-based decisions in policy formulation and review.

WRI harness the strength of applied research to: increase the prioritization of research; putting research into use; coordination with the Natural Resources, Environment, Climate Change, Land and Water Management program where fragmentation and lack of harmonization exist; undertake cross sectoral/program approach research; increase innovations in water and environment management; provide opportunity to test new approaches where existing ones are being overtaken by modernisation. Applied also is being used to tackle challenges within the Natural Resources, Environment, Climate Change, Land and Water Management program that limit effective action and response to emerging issues and information needs of the various stakeholders.


Applied research is being undertaken following a systematic process:

  1. Determine emerging issues and challenges that inform research needs for the program.
  2. Prioritise needs and set a research agenda for the Water Management Sub Program and the program at large.
  3. Establish a sub program research fund to supportdesigning of innovation and action learning projects in relation to the research agenda.
  4. Conduct and monitor applied research projects.
  5. Design new approaches and strategies for the programafter policy dialogue and building necessary capacity.

Implementation of Applied Research  

The Water Resources Institute uses a phased approach to implementation of applied research as indicated below:  

The WRI focuses on understanding and defining the current research needs relating to water resources and environmental management and sustainability. Several research interventions are currently ongoing or undertaken by different institutions including donors and Civil Society Organisations (CSO). Based on an inventory of the available applied research, the Institute plays a key role in harmonizing the process by setting up a research agenda that feeds directly into the National Development Plan III with the goal to improve policy and practice.

The Institute focuses on a few selected areas that directly relate to topical program challenges that include water quality, sustainable ground water management, climate change impacts, and economic value of water and environmental resources on national economy.

It is planned that the Institute will evolve into a wider research institute for water resources development, environment management and sustainability. The institute will integrate modelling as part of the applied research covering specific regions or the whole country in order to develop scenarios for planning purposes.

Applied research also focuses on sustainable production and appropriate technological solutions, skills and approaches. The Institute is providing cutting edge skills in areas such as water reuse/recycling, waste management, water security and facilitate the development and scaling up of appropriate technology efficient tools for water and environment resources use.

The WRI will establish a research fund to support sector professionals in designing and implementing applied research that supports innovative ideas to address contemporary challenges in the sector.

The Institute will collaborate with research and academic institutions to promote joint proposal writing for researches and utilise the professionals in the universities and retired professionals to participate in research and outreach activities.

The results will be packaged and used to inform policy dialogue, training and awareness raising, development of information materials and policies.