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Visiting Adjunct Professor, School of Governance, University of the Witwatersrand

Mike Muller is a registered professional civil engineer with extensive experience in strategic public and development management. As Director General of the South African Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (1997-2005), Mike led the development and implementation of new policies, legislation and programmes in water resources and water services at national and municipal level. He now undertakes research and works on an advisory basis to promote the contribution of water services and resource management to broader development, from local to global level. He was a Commissioner of South Africa’s first National Planning Commission (2010-2015) and chaired the World Economic Forum Agenda Council on Water Security from 2012 to 2014. He co-chaired a UN Water World Water Assessment Programme Expert Group on Indicators, Monitoring and Databases, was a member of the Global Water Partnership’s Technical Advisory Committee from 2005 to 2011 and is a member of the Strategic Advisory Group to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme on SDG6.

Since 2006, Mike has been a visiting Adjunct Professor at the Witwatersrand University Graduate School of Governance where he supervises Masters students, teaches occasional courses and undertakes research. A current research focus is on the role of water resource development and management in regional integration in Africa in the context of climate variability and change, with a particular focus on hydropower. He also has a continued interest in the planning, development, management and governance of water and energy. He writes extensively and has published many peer reviewed academic papers, book chapters, reports, policy briefs and conference papers (which are available on and Researchgate as well as Google Scholar.)

Among the projects that Mike has undertaken since 2005 are:-
- Transboundary water management and regional integration (Programme for AfDB)
- Water as a driver of regional development in SADC (WRC)
- Strategic advice to Hidroelectrica Cahora Bassa (SARL)
- Improving institutional accountability in the water sector (World Bank)
- Approaches to financing water resource management (OECD)
- Advice on establishment of a water sector programme (Gates Foundation)
- Diagnostic study of Angolan WS&S sector (GoA/European Commission).
- Initiation of Siyenza Manje municipal support programme (Treasury/DBSA)
- Regulation of management capacity in the water services sector (WRC)
- International Perspectives on Development Planning (SA Presidency)
- Administered prices in the water sector (NEDLAC)
- Bottom-up perspectives on service delivery challenges (Presidency)
- Stakeholder initiation of Catchment Management Agencies (WRC)
- Review of water policy in the Netherlands (OECD)
- Strategic advice and evaluations of WS&S programmes in Mozambique (AusAID)
- Facilitation: Bulk water supply devolution to Kenya’s new Counties (World Bank)
- 'Money down the Drain' - A review of corruption in the South AFrican water sector (CorruptionWatch and Water Integrity Network)

Mike has served on the Boards of national public utilities and led the implementation of major projects, including the restructuring and corporatisation of water and forestry enterprises. He co-chaired water-sharing negotiations with Mozambique and Swaziland which produced the “IncoMaputo Treaty”, led the South African side in the on-going Lesotho Highlands Water Project and guided a range of major projects implemented using limited recourse project finance by TCTA, on whose board he served from 1998 to 2006.

At the Development Bank of Southern Africa between 1988 and 1994, he managed infrastructure investment and policy programmes and was a co-founder of the Mvula Trust, a successful WS&S NGO. From 1979 to 1988, he worked for the Mozambican government managing WS&S programmes and utilities, coordinating a large number of separate donor-funded projects as well as an innovative urban sanitation programme.


  • –present
    Visiting Adjunct Professor, University of the Witwatersrand
  • 1997–2005
    Director General, Dept Water Affairs and Forestry


  • 1979 
    City University London, BSc (Hons) Civ Eng

Professional Memberships

  • SA Institution of Civil Engineers - Honorary Fellow
  • South African Academy of Engineering - Fellow