Liapeng Raliengoane

LESOTHO, Maseru – The Integrated Water Resources Management study tour which is set to see representatives from the East African Community and Southern Africa Development Communities (SADC) regions exchange knowledge for effective transboundary water resources management and climate risks informed approaches when managing water Kick started in Maseru Lesotho yesterday.

This tour is expected to go on until Friday and will have delegates visit the ReNOKA watershed rehabilitation through livelihoods and eco-system-based approaches project in the lowlands and Katse Dam in the highlands.  

Katse Dam in Lesotho

The Ministry of Natural Resources Principal Secretary, Habofanoe Makopela welcomed all delegates to the integrated water resources management study tour in the SADC region.

“I wish to extend a very special and warm welcome to delegates of LVBC, EAC all delegates and participants from beyond the SADC region, we are humbled and grateful to host the IWRM study tour,” he said while opening the event.

SADC Water Division, Senior Programme Officer Dr. Patrice Kabeya stated that after the Covid- 19 pandemic, the landscape has changed and that within the water management paradigm, water resources are shared unequally among regions. “This is where the SADC protocol comes in to guide Member States to manage transboundary water management.”

Anne-Marie Ran, representative of KFW, the German Development Bank, based in Nairobi, Kenya stated that the Lake Victoria Basin Commission Integrated Water Resources Management Programme is a KFW supported programme, financed by the German Federal Government and the European Union.

“It is possible to transform a polluted system to a healthy one and it doesn’t take long. Shared water resources management is key to manage this impact. The EU countries have a common goal and interest,” she added. 

ORASECOM Executive Secretary Mr. Lenka Thamae informed participants that this is an opportunity to inform audiences who are not water experts about water management.

“In 2000 SADC countries adopted a framework working together and cooperating on the management of water shared by more than one country. Entities such as ORASECOM were established as a result of the implementation of the SADC protocol for shared water resources. We have a lot of things in common in Africa, best practices in southern Africa and also all the Lake Victoria countries are also part of the Nile Basin,” he said.

Thamae went on to state how SADC has learned how to empower women in decision making platforms in water cooperation from the Nile Basin. “We have copied the model laid out by the Women in Water Diplomacy Network on the river Nile. However, more work needs to be done on gender mainstreaming. How to empower women and mainstream gender more effectively is of key importance. We are formulating a strategy guide for women in the water diplomacy network.”

Lake Victoria is the second largest freshwater body in the world so has great economic importance, the Lake Victoria Basin Commission was created to sustainably manage the lake.

The Lake Victoria Integrated Water Resources Management Programme (LVB IWRMP) is a regional programme coordinated by the Lake Victoria Basin Commission and implemented in the five Partner States of the East African Community.

This Programme is funded to the tune of EUR 44.3 million and aims to improve water quality and availability through the strategic and sustainable management of the Lake Victoria Basin.

Integrated Water Resource Management and Development (IWRM&D) in the Lake Victoria Basin aims to promote and facilitate the implementation of sustainable development, management and equitable utilization of water resources.

To achieve this goal, the Lake Victoria Basin Commission has embarked on the implementation of different strategic interventions among which: (i) supporting the preparation and implementation of IWRM investments (including water supply and sanitation); (ii) coordinating and facilitating basin-wide water data and information generation and dissemination; and (iii) strengthening the capacity of the relevant institutions (Water Resources Management Authorities, Water utilities, National Environmental Management Authorities) on water resources management, operation and maintenance of water infrastructure.