Human Impacts, Water Resources and Ecosystem Maintenance in the Okavango Delta

C. Vanderpost and S. Ringrose (Botswana)


Human impacts, water resources, ecosystem services


The paper considers fresh water use in the Okavango Delta in two categories: abstractive and non-abstractive fresh water use. For each category the main uses and their issues are discussed and an assessment is made regarding the manner in which the Okavango Delta Management Plan (ODMP) addresses these issues. From the perspective of fresh water use and the ecosystem services required to support it, the paper critiques aspects of the ODMP. Human impacts relevant to water resource management are examined with particular attention to population growth and distribution, land transformation and human access. Water resources are examined from the perspectives of increasing household needs and other livelihood related needs vis-à-vis ecological needs in a protected area. It is argued that if the purpose of water resource management is to ensure long-term future fresh water availability as well as the maintenance of other important wetland ecosystem services that support people’s livelihoods, then it needs to be incorporated into broader wetland ecosystem management objectives as contained in the ODMP. Integrated implementation of the plan is the major challenge for the Okavango Ramsar site.

Important Links:

Go Back