WINDHOEK - THE Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC) member states have been urged to invest in trans-boundary water projects to address persistent shortage of the basic commodity.
The call came as member states sent representatives for a meeting held under the aegis of the eighth SADC River Basin Organisations (RBOs) workshop held in Windhoek, Namibia under the theme, “Securing Strategic Investments to Realise the Benefits of Trans-boundary Water Cooperation.”
Established in 2006, the SADC RBOs series of workshops are organised every two years with the aim of strengthening regional integration and cooperation.
Percy Misika, Namibia’s permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, while officiating at the event, called for stronger trans-boundary water cooperation in the region.
He pointed out all SADC members shared one or more river basins, with exemption of oceanic member states.
“These are resources available to us to transform our economies to the level of industrialised and developed nations. It however requires financial commitments if we are top realise such dreams,” Misika said.
He said investing in extensive water supply infrastructure was vital to ensure industrialisation and economic development.
“The only decisive tool to reduce poverty is investment in infrastructure development and the diversification of economies through manufacturing,”
Namibia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry hosted the RBOs workshop, convened by the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission in collaboration with the SADC Secretariat, Global Water Partnership
Southern Africa (GWPSA).
Abraham Nehemiah, undersecretary in the ministry, said securing investments in trans-boundary water infrastructure had become crucial for water scarce countries like Namibia.
He said to alleviate water shortages, Namibia was evaluating all possible conventional and non-conventional methods to provide water for domestic and industrial development.
“Most of the options available for us are pointing at tapping the shared water courses, which mostly are lying at our borders and are shared with riparian states,” Nehemiah said.
Riparian water rights refer to a system for allocating water among those who possess land along its path.
“SADC member states must develop strategies and much needed actions in mobilizing required resources to accelerate the pace of implementation of our national and trans-boundary water projects,” Nehemiah said.
SADC consists of Angola, Botswana, democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland,
Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Phera Ramoeli from the SADC Directorate for Infrastructure Water Division,
benefits of trans-boundary water cooperation had not been communicated well in the region and empirical evidence to support the extensive existing literature on the benefits were lacking.
“There is need, therefore, to take further steps of ensuring that the benefits are not only understood but are also realised within the region,”
– CAJ News