As much of Southern Africa relies on agriculture for its subsistence, water is of special concern for SADC. Many watercourses in the region are shared among several Member States, a situation that demands their development in an environmentally sound manner. To this end, SADC initially passed its Protocol on Shared Watercourses in the Southern African Development Community on 28th August 1995, which was revised on 7th August 2000.
The Protocol aims to foster closer cooperation among Member States for protection, management, and use of shared watercourses in the region. Member States agree to cooperate on projects and exchange information on shared watercourses, consulting with each other and collaborating on initiatives that balance development of watercourses with conservation of the environment. The Protocol also contains an institutional framework that sets out a Water Sector Organ, its committees and units, and its duties for joint protection and development of shared watercourses in Southern Africa.