By Eric Nyasha Mhunduru
THE European Union and the Permanent Okavango River Water Commission last week signed a €1.65 million grant to support the transboundary water management in the Cubango-Okavango River Basin.
The €1.65 million grant signed between the EU and the OKACOM is part of a €6 million Programme.
The grant, was signed in Botswana by the EU Ambassador to Botswana and SADC, Alexander Baum, and the Chair of the OKACOM from Botswana which is the host country of OKACOM Secretariat, Thatayaone Dedede, also Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services in Botswana.
Ambassador Baum said the EU, Namibia, Angola, Botswana and the OKACOM Secretariat have been working hard to ensure that the four partners can work together in the next three years to ensure a sound management of the Okavango river basin.
He said this regional project is one among many others that EU is supporting adding that the EU is a long-standing supporter of regional integration and cooperation and is committed to remain so. Ambassador Baum further said this Grant marks the beginning of a cooperation with OKACOM that he hoped meant the beginning of many fructiferous years to come.
The Cubango-Okavango river system, rising in Angola and flowing through Namibia to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, is one of the world’s few remaining naturally clean water resources.
The river’s presence in the dry sands of the Kalahari is highly valued by the three countries, which established the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM) in 1994 to advise the member states on how best to share and manage this unique resource.
The three riparian countries have different but legitimate perspectives of the same river system: while Angola, where most of the water originates, benefits from the most reliable and highest rainfalls, Namibia and Botswana are two of the driest countries of Southern Africa; which makes water resources available in this region highly valuable. Botswana is the final recipient of the water, and therefore abundance of water, the timing of the flow and
nutrients gives the Okavango Delta its highly biodiverse habitats and wildlife, making it a worldwide tourist destination considered by many one of the most beautiful regions in the world.
However, future development plans, especially in the agricultural sector, could have a negative impact on the quantity and quality of the waters in the basin, thus strongly affecting the future environment and other associated uses such as tourism and overall status of the ecosystem goods and services.
This can be avoided through proper management of the resources in a collaborative and joint manner. In order to help the three countries achieve this ideal, the European Union is funding a Programme in excess of €6 million to enable the OKACOM to acquire the tools and the capacity to collect and manage data related to surface and ground water resources, water quality and sedimentation.
The Programme will provide the tools, including monitoring stations, and build the capacity of the institutions for monitoring.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015