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Cooperation needed for effective water resources management

Andrew Tanner

Andrew Tanner

4 December 2012 - At the recent International Conference on Freshwater Governance for Sustainable Development, Andrew Tanner, Specialist Consultant - Water Resources Management at Aurecon, spoke about how Integrated Water and Resource Management (IWRM) plans are one of the important foundations for cooperative governance of shared river basins.

“The management of water resources presents an increasing challenge for governments wanting to achieve sustainable social and economic development of water resources for the benefit of all,” said Tanner.

At the conference Tanner presented a case study of the Incomati and Maputo river basins, which cover an area stretching across South Africa, Swaziland, and Mozambique.

“Environmental, social and economic development objectives need to be accepted by a wide range of government departments in each country so that each accepts their responsibilities for the implementation of the IWRM,” he said.

On the recent project to develop IWRM strategies and plans, Aurecon assembled, integrated and correlated baseline information from the three countries to give agreed data sets and maps. This included hydrology, land use, water use, demographics, environmental status, economic development and water resource infrastructure development plans for each basin.

Tanner said that the baseline and scoping reports enabled the officials of the three countries to share a common understanding of the water resources, the challenges and limitations that the finite available resource places on future developments.

“The integrated development scenarios, combining environmental water requirements, proposed socio-economic developments and their associated water use, with future water resource management and infrastructure development plans for each basin, irrespective of the international boundaries, provided an agreed and shared view and achievable plan for the future,” he said.

The IWRM strategies and plans that were prepared for each basin provide the authorities in each country with an agreed framework for a wide range of water resource management and development activities which will support the joint management of the river basins to achieve sustainable social and economic development in the basins to benefit the local communities.

Aurecon has assisted the Tripartite Technical Committee (TPTC) of the three countries in delivering the first phase of the Progressive Realisation of the IncoMaputo Agreement (PRIMA) through its leading role on two of the 11 Implementation Activities and Action Plans (IAAPs) and its support to the management team of the PRIMA in creating synergies between the other IAAPs. The PRIMA aims to create an enabling environment for cooperative governance of the Incomati and Maputo river basins, as well as to facilitate the establishment of a River Basin Organisation.

The conference, run by the South African Water Research Commission, brought together government and the wider water industry to discuss new ideas to address the increasing pressure across the globe on freshwater resources.

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