History of WISA

WISA was officially formed in 1987, not as a body that had been spontaneously created at that time but as one that had evolved over more than half a century incurring several name changes on route. The first creative steps were taken at a meeting held at the Cydna Biochemical laboratory in Johannesburg on May 4. 1937, when the following resolutions were passed:

  • That it is unanimously agreed that an Association shall be, and is hereby formed, the objects of that Association being set forth in pages 13 to 15 of the Articles of Association of the (British) Institute of Sewage Purification.
  • That this Association shall forthwith take steps to become recognised as the South African Branch of the Institute of Sewage Purification.
  • That a temporary committee be elected to deal with local by-laws and necessary correspondence, the committee to consist of: Messrs H Clausen, JA McLachlan, BR Spencer and H Wilson.


Biennial conferences became routine and venues were rotated between the larger centres. The first Biennial Conference was held in 1963 and has been held every second year more or less since then. The involvement of other Southern African countries led to the name change to be the Southern African Branch of the Institute of Sewage Purification. By 1967 general consensus had been reached by the Parent Body to change the Institute`s name to the Institute of Water Pollution Control (IWPC) with expanded objectives of promoting the science and practice of wastewater management.

WISA was then formed in 1987 and was incorporated as an association not-for-gain in 2000, which is now known as a non-profit company. This means that WISA uses its funds and assets solely to further its stated aims and objectives, and no funds or assets are distributed to any other person or body.

WISA Coat of Arms and Logo

The WISA Coat of Arms was designed by Robert A Laing of Colington, Ygr. The Coat of Arms  was accepted and registered by the State Herald:
The IWPC Kingfisher has been retained as a dominant feature but has a fish in its mouth instead of a sword thus indicating a need for fresh water resources. This idea is further confirmed by the motto Aqua Vita Est, which means Water is Life. The black area of the design represents polluted water containing bubbles of rising gas. The bridge represents mans intervention leading to the production of clean water depicted by the wavy lines beneath the bridge. The design alludes to a Cape Dutch Gable thus reinforcing the South African sphere of operation.

In the WISA logo the shape symbolises dynamic motion and the colouring represents the transformation of polluted water (dark) to clear, `clean` water.