Monday, September 2, 2013

Southern Africa shows the way with water

John Fraser in IPS: Water remains a key component in development policy. And, as the Southern African Development Community discusses how best to develop the region, the effective management of watercourses will be key, says Professor Anthony Turton, one of the foremost experts on water policy in southern Africa and a trustee of the Water Stewardship Council of Southern Africa.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has an ambitious 500-billion dollar regional development plan that aims to develop the region’s roads, rails, and ports. The generation of power, and establishment of communication lines and meteorological systems have also been outlined as important to the region’s development.

Turton told IPS in an interview that the SADC Water Protocol, which outlines the practical implementation of management, protection and use of the shared watercourses in the region, is regarded globally as a model example of regional water integration. Currently, about 70 percent of the region’s water is shared between two or more countries.

“Energy is a national developmental constraint for many countries, but if the hydro potential of SADC is fully realised then regional energy security will replace national deficiencies,” Turton said.

“To do this we need regional [cooperation] over water, which is why the SADC Water Protocol was the first signed after South Africa joined the grouping. The private sector is now starting to come to the party, most notably in the mining and agribusiness sectors, where water and energy constraints are being recognised.”...

Flamingo migration on Botswana's  Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, shot by ed glickman, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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