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    22 Jan, 2021

    Joint water projects improve availability of potable water and increase regional co-operation in SADC

    The Kunene Transboundary Water Supply Project (KTWSP), a joint project between Angola and Namibia, has resulted in reduced water system losses in the water transfer from Angola into Namibia.

    This project is one of the many projects across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region which are aimed at improving access to clean and potable water to the people of the region and increasing regional co-operation. Similar projects have been implemented or are at various stages of implementation between Lesotho and Botswana; Eswatini and Mozambique; Zambia and Tanzania; and Zambia and Zimbabwe;

    The KTWSP is aimed at increasing the supply of water for drinking, agriculture and industrial development for the communities and towns of southern Angola and northern Namibia. The project has two major components which are the Calueque-Oshakati trans-border pipeline and canal repair works, and water supply system to the Calueque Village in Angola; and the Angolan town of Santa Clara’s water supply system construction works.

    A new water distribution network for Calueque village has resulted in over 330 households provided with clean and reliable water supply. The water transfer canal and pipeline repair works have ensured reduced system losses for the water being transferred across the border into Namibia. The project has also ensured the provision of improved assurance of potable water supply to the Santa Clara community in this Angolan border town and is serving over 200,000 inhabitants overall when considering the different components of the KTWSP.

    Through increased regional cooperation, SADC has also facilitated the joint cross-border water supply project between Mozambique and Eswatini at the Lomahasha and Namaacha project. This US$14 million project involves development of joint water scheme to allow potable water supply from Eswatini to be used by residents of Namaacha on the Mozambican side of the border. Future plans are to develop dam infrastructure on the Mozambican side to meet increasing demand for water, and this phase will also realise a reverse-transfer of water from the Mozambican side for use by the communities of Lomahasha on the Eswatini side. 

    The Chirundu cross-border water supply project between Zambia and Zimbabwe is another ongoing project located at one of the most important strategic developmental nodes in the region. It will ensure provision of clean and sustainable drinking water and sanitation services to both the Zambian and Zimbabwean border towns in Chirundu that experience huge volumes of traffic with the enhanced movement of traffic and people through this point.

    The transboundary water infrastructure project between Tanzania and Zambia seeks to improve cross-border water supply and sanitation in the border towns of Nakonde (Zambia) and Tunduma (Tanzania). A feasibility study has been carried out for the project, and is also used for mobilising funds for implementation of the cross-border water supply and sanitation scheme.

    The Lesotho-Botswana Water Transfer Scheme will supply water to Botswana from the Makhaleng Dam in Lesotho through a 700km pipeline.  The regional project is facilitated by the SADC Secretariat and the Orange-Senqu Watercourse Commission, and feasibility studies have been commissioned. In addition to these projects, groundwater continues to be relevant and important for alleviating poverty through improving human well beings, livelihoods, food production, ecosystems, industries and growing cities in the SADC region.

    It is estimated that over 70% of the 250 million people living in the SADC region rely on groundwater as their primary source of water. In this regard, the SADC Secretariat continues to implement groundwater management programmes through SADC-Groundwater Management Institution (SADC-GMI). 

    As part of the regional capacity building programme for groundwater development and management, 51 young professionals from the SADC Member States have gone through internship programmes relating to data collection and management as well as the expansion of the SADC Groundwater Information Portal.

    The Secretariat is also implementing small sub-grant groundwater infrastructure projects in Member States under a project funded through support from the World Bank. So far, out of the target of 15 sub-grant pilot projects to be implemented in the SADC Member States, two projects were completed in Malawi and Botswana.

    Three other projects in Zimbabwe, Zambia and in Eswatini are more than 80% complete. Seven additional projects in Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe are at various stages of completion. Seven additional projects in Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe are at less than 50% completion rate mainly due to implementation delays caused by lengthy government procurement processes.

    The target of 3000 direct beneficiaries from the sub-grant projects by December 2020 has already been exceeded as an estimated 25 300 beneficiaries have been recorded to date and 33 people have learned applied skills from the demonstration groundwater pilot projects out of the targeted 60 people by December 2020.

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