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Home The River Basin People and the River Governance Resource Management
The Limpopo River Basin
Climate and Weather
 Principles of Climate and Weather
 Climate of the Limpopo Basin
 The Regional Climate
 Climatic Patterns
 Climatic Variability
 Climatic Classification
Water Scarcity
 Climate Change
Water Quality
Ecology and Biodiversity
Sub-basin Summaries



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Climate of the Limpopo River Basin: Water Scarcity  

The issue of water scarcity is not isolated to drylands. Physical water scarcity means that water demand or withdrawals exceed or are close to exceeding water availability. Economic water scarcity means that even though water may be naturally present, human, institutional, and financial issues have limited access to clean water.

According to a UNEP Assessment of Water Scarcity, conducted in 2009, the majority of the Limpopo River basin is considered to be in a state of Physical Water Scarcity (McMullen and Jabbour 2009).

While a significant portion of southern Africa is physically water scarce, water scarcity in the region is primarily an economic factor, stemming from inadequate financial and human capital to tackle the problem and the governance structures necessary to support sustainable water resources development (Earle et al. 2006).

The map below is comes from a course scale assessment of global water scarcity (McMullen and Jabbour 2009).   Therefore boundaries of the zones are likely not accurate at this scale.

Water scarcity assessment for the Limpopo River basin.
Source: McMullen and Jabbour 2009
( click to enlarge )

A discussion of water scarcity in the context of climate change is presented in the Climate Change section of this chapter.

The map below, generated from preliminary data collected during the Joint Limpopo River Basin Study Scoping Phase project (LBPTC 2010), shows estimated general water balance for the Limpopo River basin.  It shows water stress in terms of run-off as a ratio of water use.

Estimated general water balance for the Limpopo River basin.
Source: LBPTC 2010
( click to enlarge )



Explore the sub-basins of the Limpopo River

Explore the interactions of living organisms in aquatic environments

Examine how the hydrologic cycle moves water through and around the earth

Tour video scenes along the Limpopo related to The River Basin Theme