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Water & Vulnerability: Global Environmental Change and the Southern African Region Anton Earle & Anthony Turton African Water Issues Research Unit (AWIRU) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Water

Water Vulnerability Global Environmental
Change and the Southern African RegionAnton
Earle Anthony TurtonAfrican Water Issues
Research Unit (AWIRU)University of
PretoriaPaper presented at the SAVI Workshop
Maputo June 19-21, 2003.
Variables Impacting Water Resources
Variables Impacting Water Resources
Precipitation produces little runoff in southern
African river basins
Natural Climatic Variability
  • Typically only 10 of MAP available as MAR in Sn
    African river basins.
  • Fluctuations in rainfall have a
    disproportionately large impact on river flow
    rates. eg a 10 drop in rainfall can lead to a
    20 30 drop in stream flow.
  • Droughts and floods often follow each other
    consecutively each presenting different
  • Evapotranspiration is 2 to 10 X MAP.

Annual Inflows at Mohembo Okavango River
Responses to variability
  • Large-scale intra inter basin transfer schemes
  • RSA at 539 large dams is ranked 11th in the world
    Zimbabwe 20th with 213 (World Commission on
  • 50 of dams in Africa are for irrigation.
  • 20 for water supply.
  • 1 for flood control.

Ecosystems Under Pressure
  • Large-scale dams water transfers pose a threat
    to eco-systems.
  • Communities dependant on the ecosystem services
    are most at risk.

Population Dynamics
Population Dynamics
Severe water scarcity
Pop. Growth rates adjusted for country HIV / AIDS
prevalence in 2000
Population Dynamics
  • Water demand is likely to increase even if
    population growth is low or zero.
  • Communities previously without water need to be
  • Waste pollution is likely to increase, placing
    stress on water quality.
  • HIV / AIDS reduces the ability of households to
    pay for water services.

Population Dynamics
  • Marginalised people resort to cultivating land
    unsuitable for agriculture possibly causing
    erosion, eg Lesotho.
  • Large-scale de-vegetation could possibly lead to
    a change in the local climate as reflectance
  • Refugees frequently settle on riverbanks facing
    the risk of floods, eg Jukskei River in

Social Adaptive Capacity
  • A scarcity of a first-order resource (water) can
    be mitigated by the presence of second-order
    (social) resources.
  • Water resources can be used in the most
    productive activity, frequently industry.
  • Staple foods, such as grain can be imported
    saving 1000 tonnes of local water for every tonne
    imported (virtual water imports).

Social Adaptive Capacity
  • A scarcity of a first-order resource (water) can
    be mitigated by the presence of second-order
    (social) resources.

Social Adaptive Capacity
Cereal production reliance in RSA, Nam, Bot
Zim FAO, 2003)
Transboundary Waters
  • No evidence of countries going to war over water
    over the past century.
  • 70 of interactions over water between states
    have been in the realm of cooperation
    (agreements, regimes, data-sharing, treaties
  • Potential for conflict over water increases as
    scale decreases.

Sn Africa Shared Rivers
  • 261 shared river basins in the world.
  • 17 deemed to be at risk of conflict by 2012.
  • Six in Sn Africa Orange, Okavango, Cunene,
    Incomati, Zambezi, Limpopo.
  • (see Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database,

Impact of Non-Cooperation
  • Destabilisation of the region resulting from a
    negative peace.
  • No development takes place as the various
    riparian states cannot agree on equitable sharing
    of water resources.
  • Development which does take place is
    uncoordinated, with a dubious legal standing.

Benefit Sharing
  • Most water law based on the concept of fair
    equitable share.
  • The aim should be to move away from water sharing
    towards benefit sharing (water included).
  • Needs a high degree of trust cooperation
    between states, as well as social adaptive
    capacity within states.

The Okavango River Basin -Where Are We Now?
What is the Place of Policy?
Human factors slow to change or hard to influence
Fast-acting human pressures
  • Treaties conventions
  • Population growth demography
  • Perceptions values
  • Spontaneous human activities
  • Pressure groups
  • Vested interests
  • Demands
  • for jobs, schools, etc.
  • Epidemics HIV/AIDS

Todays Capacity to Cope
The Okavango River extends from the highlands of
Angola, flows through Namibias Caprivi region
ends in the sands of the Kalahari Desert.
OKACOM Basin Management
3 National Governments Programmes policies
There are various natural and human pressures
influencing decision-making policy formulation
within the Okavango Basin. Some of these are
fast-acting, with a direct impact on the
governments of the riparian states, while others
are very slow-acting with almost no human control
possible these present opportunities and
challenges to the populations of the states. The
ability of a state to adapt to its situation is
dictated by factors such as economic development,
institutional environment education levels and
health of the population. OKACOM as the
institution responsible for the sustainable
management of the Basin - faces the challenge of
accommodating the different view points, values,
goals, needs and desires of the various
stakeholders as they formulate and implement
policy. Where We Are Now is a collaborative
effort of delegates attending the Green Cross
International, Water for Peace, Okavango
Projects second workshop in Gobabeb, Namibia.
The delegates included OKACOM Commissioners from
each of the riparian states, NGOs, local
government representatives, academics and
researchers. For further information
visit www.up.ac.za/academic/libarts/polsci/awiru
or www.gci.ch Project was made possible through
the kind funding from Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Department of Development Cooperation,
The Netherlands and Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
  • Climate variability oscillations
  • The annual flood pulse
  • Tectonic activity
  • Soil types topography
  • Climate change
  • Droughts
  • Floods
  • Epidemics

Ecology of Okavango River Basin
its ecosystem services
Fast-acting natural pressures
Natural factors no human control
Produced by AWIRU for the 3rd World Water Forum,
Kyoto Japan, March 2003
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