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Integrated Water Resources Management within SADC  

The SADC Regional Water Policy and Regional Strategy (RWSP) are founded on the principle of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). One of the strategic goals of the RWPS is to promote regional economic integration through IWRM. According to SADC (2007), this can be achieved through promoting integrated development and management of shared watercourses in accordance with internationally recognised principles of IWRM.

SADC promotes joint planning at the basin-level and promotes the development of River Basin Management Plans that allow for benefit sharing, competitive advantage and equitable use (SADC 2007). The River Basin Management Plans should be based on economic, environmental and social analysis, and attempt to balance economic development amongst member states (SADC 2007).

Integrated Water Resource Management in SADC.
Source: Adapted from SADC 2007
( click to enlarge )

Challenges of IWRM Within SADC

The Regional Water Strategy outlines several challenges to implementing IWRM (SADC 2007):

  • Highly variable rainfall across the region
  • Uneven distribution of water resources, water availability and water demand across the region
  • Governance challenges arising because most of the region’s water resources are from transboundary sources
  • Widespread poverty with many lacking access to water for basic human needs, household purposes and water for productive uses
  • Low levels of safe access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation
  • Impact of HIV/AIDS on water requirements and capacity
  • Inadequate water infrastructure to meet the growing demands for development and services
  • Uneven development of infrastructure across the region, resulting in uneven water allocation and accrued benefits
  • Inadequate and inconsistent information management related to water resources
  • Weak and poorly enforced legal, policy and regulatory framework
  • Inadequate institutional capacity and unclear mandates at the national, basin and regional levels
  • Weak inter-sectoral linkages and coordination preventing integrated development
  • Lack of awareness, education and training in regional IWRM
  • Limited stakeholder participation in water resources, particularly as it relates to women and marginalised people
  • Inadequate resources, capacity and institutions to undertake research



Explore the sub-basins of the Limpopo River

Explore the history, agreement and structure behind LIMCOM

Explore the principles of Integrated Water Resource Management applied to the Limpopo

Tour video scenes along the Limpopo related to Water Governance