Transboundary Rivers in Southern Africa: The Water Access Issues

J.R. Atlhopheng (Botswana)


Transboundary Rivers, MDGs, semi-arid climate.


The river is a source of water –thus sustains life in semi arid terrains. Most of the rivers, traverse basins that cut across country borders – hence shared or transboundary rivers. In addition, several districts or zones within the same country have populations depending on the same river. Thus there is need to work in line with the dynamics of natural river systems for long-term sustenance, low operational costs and retention of the river aesthetics. Rivers are useful as political borders, ecological resources, flood control and offer suitable sites for damming. Waters in rivers call for a regional basin management to avoid conflict, as demand outstrips supply in the semi-arid region of Botswana and southern Africa in general. This has implications for Millennium Development Goals, especially target 10 on adequate quality water provision and sanitary issues – that the water transfers across river basins and borders should necessarily uplift the poor. The water demand management schemes for governing waters do not benefit the poor and the rich equitably, with the former losing in major water schemes.

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