ACT4SSAWS : Using IWRM best practices to develop Appropriate Capacity and Training for the benefit of Sub-Saharan Africa Water Security

Project identifier 63-ACT4SSAWS
Project Status finished
Start date 2012-12-21
End date 2016-12-20
Roadmap Theme
  • Sustainable intensification: Soil, water, land and input management
  • Type of Project Institutional capacity building project
    Keyword water management; water security
    Location Botswana; Malawi; Mozambique; Senegal; South Africa; Zambia
    Budget 937 469
    Main Funder African Union Commission (AURG 1)
    Coordinator Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
  • University of Botswana
  • Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar (UCAD)
  • Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM)
  • University of Malawi
  • University of Zambia
  • University of Western Cape
  • Project Web Site
  • ACT4SSAWS Research plan
  • AURG projects phase 1 booklet
  • Description


    Access to sufficient and safe water is one of the major challenges Africa faces which has resulted in the continent’s underdevelopment and increasing economic decline. International development policy makers are recognizing climate change and desertification as fundamental obstacles to the social economic development in the third world. Sub-Saharan Africa has been severely affected since the early 70’s by the compounding effects of drought, deforestation and desertification. Climate change predictions suggest decreased rainfall, runoff and recharge, especially in large river. Predicted climate variability with its associated prolonged drought periods will have major implications on the sustainability and availability of water (resources). The overall aim is improving awareness of and access to knowledge that can provide more adequate water quantity of suitable quality throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

    Approach of the Project

    The project framework consist of six primary research activities using three Umbrella themes with four cross-cutting and closely linked sub-project issues.

    Activity 1: Understanding how transdisciplinary approaches achieve better water quantity, quality and more wise use;

    Activity 2: Work with pilot area communities and water managers to scope locally pertinent and feasible alternative and practical solutions to specific water and waste stream management issues, identify capacity gaps and fill needs;

    Activity 3: Create toolkits broadly applicable to Sub-Saharan Africa from existing and new knowledge gained;

    Activity 4: Develop courses and material to help educate and train at higher education and community levels;

    Activity 5: Update web-based portals by sharing IWRM knowledge gained especially applicable for Africa;

    Activity 6: Identify implementation means and potential funding sources for pilot areas’ agreed-to solutions.

    Project Umbrella Themes:

    U1: Water security in the context of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM);

    U2: Effective Knowledge Sharing /Dissemination;

    U3: Capacity Building (Society/ Water managers).

    Cross-Cutting Sub-Project Issues:

    SP1:Value of water; SP2: Water Quality

    SP3: Water Quantity SP4: Climate Change

    Major Results Achieved

    In South Africa, hydrochemical and hydrograph analyses confirmed that the upper Berg River remains a groundwater dependent system. In Botswana, the need for new strategies to prevent excessive water diversions into small upstream dams, thereby improving flows into Gaborone dam, was evident. Livelihoods of local communities in the Senegal Delta are negatively impacted by invasive aquatic plant species (Typha sp.) which link to diminishing fish numbers and waterborne disease. A hydrometric monitoring network was installed in Malawi to help monitor rainfall, runoff to Lake Malombe and river water quality and quantity in an area of changing climate and resources stress. In Zambia, while water quality data suggests no acid drainage is occurring near the Munali Nickel mine, groundwater resources are not likely reliable to sustain future anticipated increased mining activities. The socio-economic value of water in Mozambique’s Sabie area of the Inkomati River is being assessed looking at society’s willingness to pay for water. Water policies are being analysed and recommendations from communities and other stakeholder are being used as key inputs to promote more logical and efficient water uses.

    Expected Impact

    New knowledge, policy briefs and agreed-to feasible technical interventions are being developed for and by stakeholders for each Pilot area. Governments and local communities can co-share the benefits. Transdisciplinarity is proving useful to get buy-in for solutiondriven results. IWRM principles/best practices, aligned to stakeholder key inputs, seem to increase awareness of the need to act to increase their water security locally. This approach and engagement processes may help solve similar water security issues occurring elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa.