SADC-GMI Signs Meranda of Understanding with Komati water Basin Authority (KOBWA) and Incomati and Maputo Watercourse Commission
Wednesday 04 October 2023 marked a remarkable day when the SADC Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI) signed Memoranda of Understanding with two River Basin Organizations in the SADC region. The MoUs were signed with (Komati Water Basin Authority) formed by the two Riparian Member States and Eswatini and South Africa and the Incomati and Maputo Watercourse Commission, formed by the three Riparian Member States of Eswatini, Mozambique and South Africa. The signed MOUs are significant because they outline broad terms and conditions of cooperation between the SADC Groundwater Management Institutes and the two River Basin Organizations respectively. The MoUs also serve as a foundation of building trust, clarifying expectations, and establishing a roadmap for future collaborations.
Since its inception, SADC-GMI has signed MoUs with various River Basin Organizations and other key strategic partners in the region as a strategy to ensure that SADC-GMI is able to fulfil its mandate through partnerships.
Both Chief Executive Officer of KOBWA, Mr. Trevor Shongwe and the Executive Secretary of INMACOM, Mr. Edward Mswane, expressed their pleasure at the signing of the MoUs and assured SADC-GMI that this milestone was just the beginning and they hoped that this will result in impactful initiatives which will benefit all their riparian Member States.
Eng. James Sauramba, the SADC-GMI Executive Director echoed the same sentiments shared by the two Executives. “I believe that through partnerships we can achieve more, in promoting the sustainable development of conjunctive water resources in the SADC region, particularly in riparian Member States that form these river basins”, continued Eng. Sauramba.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by more than 100 participants who were part of the 10th SADC River Basin Organizations / Shared Watercourse Institutions (RBOs/SWIs) Workshop which was held in Maputo from the 2nd – 4th October 2023.
Since the Southern African Development Community is home to about thirty (30) transboundary aquifers (TBAs) and numerous national strategic aquifers that support the primary water needs and livelihoods of a significant portion of the region’s population, it is important that SADC-GMI plays a significant role in driving the narrative about the sustainable management of TBAs. Consequently, SADC-GMI convened a Special Session during the 10th SADC RBO/SWI workshop. The session focused on enhancing inclusive groundwater governance and management in Transboundary Aquifers in the SADC region. The session was chaired by Mr. Gerald Mundondwa, SADC-GMI Senior Groundwater Specialist and the following presentations were delivered to dissect and unpack the topic:
- Eng. James Sauramba presented on inculcating transboundary aquifers governance in the SADC region. In his presentation, he used the SADC-GMI experience, highlighting some of the work SADC-GMI has completed in this regard, i.e. the Tuli Karoo TBA shared between Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, Shire River Basin and Aquifer Systems shared between Malawi and Mozambique, and the Kakhea/Bray TBA and Ramotswa TBA respectively shared between Botswana and South Africa as well as the Stampriet TBA shared between Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.
- Why do we need to care about transboundary aquifers and how do we solve their issues? Was the topic of Dr. Kevin Pietersen’s presentation which highlighted the importance of transboundary aquifers in improving socio-economic development and improve livelihoods. He said it is important that countries work cooperatively to ensure the sustainable management of transboundary aquifers in the region.
- “It is imperative that an enabling environment is continuously created for the sustainable management of groundwater in the SADC region”, was the key message from Ms. Batanayi Gwangwawa’s presentation which unpacked the work that SADC-GMI is currently undertaking to achieve this objective. Some of the work includes national gap analyses reports, a regional gap analysis report, the development of roadmaps, and the implementation of Policy, Legal and Institutional Quick-win interventions in selected SADC Member States, and at SADC regional level.
- Mr. Gerald Mundondwa’s presentation highlighted the progress that has been achieved implementing initiatives aimed at advancing the knowledge of strategic aquifers in the SADC region.
Sharing and disseminating groundwater knowledge, information, and creating awareness is one of the core business activities for SADC-GMI. As such SADC-GMI participated in the exhibition to showcase our projects and other key information to strategic partners and raise awareness about the SADC-GMI brand.