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Navigating the Hydropolitics of the Zambezi River Basin Justin Baker Transboundary Waters Spring 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Navigating the Hydropolitics of the Zambezi River Basin Justin Baker Transboundary Waters Spring 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Navigating the Hydropolitics of the Zambezi River Basin Justin Baker Transboundary Waters Spring 2012

2 Why is the Zambezi important? Basin at Risk Historical Context – colonialism/independence Poverty – Climate variability and vulnerability – Population Pressure – Food Security – Natural Disasters Mining

3 Navigation through Presentation Physical and Human Aspects of Basin Historical Context -> ‘Hydropolitics’ International Management Future Developments? Discussion Questions

4 The Zambezi Basin

5 Hydrography Arid to Semi-arid (600 to 1200 mm annual rainfall) Runoff of 7070 cmps into Indian Ocean (Amazon ) Natural, cyclical flooding Lake Malawi Two very large Dams – Kariba/Cahora Bassa

6 Climate Change and Variability Hotter, drier summers and winters Drought is most crucial natural disaster in the basin ->affects power production, agriculture More variable river flow -> more uncertainty

7 People and Places Angola $ % 1.8% Namibia $ % 0.4% Botswana $ % 0.1% Zimbabwe $ % 25.4% Mozambique $ % 8.7% Zambia $ % 25.3% Tanzania $ % 4.1% Malawi $ % 34.3% % Basin Area % Basin Population

8 People and Places Rural Poverty - 70% of basin Population Pressure – 2.9% annual growth Subsistence Agriculture – Rain fed, mostly maize Poor agricultural practices -> Land degradation Wildlife/Scenery -> Tourism Mining

9 Hydropolitics Colonial Politics Geography Treaties Infrastructure Separate Management South Africa Apartheid SADC Regional power center Electrical Power Interconnected grid SA power requirements Mining

10 A Tale of Two Dams Kariba Dam Completed under Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1959 Managed by ZRA Hydropower -> Joint project Displacement of people Dispute over past debt (Rhodesia/Zambia) Cahora Bassa Dam Completed in 1974 by Portuguese Guaranteed Power to South Africa Majority stake Portuguese until recently Dispute over past debt Poor environmental planning

11 International Agreements 1.ZACPLAN – Established by SADC in 1987 with help of UNEP – 19 ambitious ‘projects’ – Largely unsuccessful 2.Zambezi River Authority 3.ZAMCOM

12 Zambezi River Authority “To be the premier organ for harnessing and managing the Zambezi waters for economic and social development” Founded in 1987 out of CAPCO Zimbabwe/Zambia Kariba Dam Some success – information sharing, cooperation between states Limited Mission

13 ZAMCOM Zambezi Watercourse Commission Signed in July 2004 Only ratified by 6 of 8 countries in 2011 Neither signed nor ratified by Zambia Success is hard to judge, but framework is positive Must incorporate more stakeholder input, avoid becoming an ineffective bureaucracy Can engage outside help (World Bank, UNEP, etc) From the 2004 Agreement: “A Member State planning any programme, project or activity with regard to the Zambezi Watercourse or which may adversely affect the Watercourse or any other Member State shall forthwith notify the Secretariat thereof and provide the Commission with all available data and information with regard thereto.”

14 Future Development? Proposals: – Pipelines (Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa) – New Dams/HEP Projects 30 sites Hydroelectric power (Eskom, South Africa) Environmental Impacts Funding? How many projects can be sustained? (Victoria Falls)

15 Questions 1) What is the role of bilateral agreements in river basins such as the Zambezi? Should they be integrated into a basin-wide agreement, run alongside such an agreement, or neither? 2) The Zambezi Watercourse Commission, ZAMCOM, took over two decades to finalize. Is it best to have a thorough, best-case treaty after 30 years or a less effective treaty immediately? How does the aspect of time play into river basin management?

16 3) In a region characterized by poverty and other more important priorities, how can international water management be emphasized? Are there solutions that can work towards both ends (i.e. poverty alleviation and water management)? 4) In a region characterized by different - and often competing - interests, is a ‘carrot’ or ‘stick’ approach more appropriate? Questions

17 Selected References Chenje, M. (2003). Hydropolitics and the quest of the Zambezi River-Basin Organization. In M. Nakayama, International Waters in Southern Africa (pp ). Tokyo: United Nations University Press. Mutembwa, A. (1998). Water and the Potential for Resource Conflicts in Southern Africa. Cambridge: University of Cambridge, Global Security Fellows Initiative. Tumbare, M. J. (2004). The Zambezi River: Its Threats and Opportunities. Brisbane, Australia: 7th River Symposium.


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