The Limpopo Watercourse Commission was established between the Republics of Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe through the LIMCOM Agreement signed in November 2003 in Maputo, Mozambique.


Article 3.1 of the LIMCOM Agreement, (Agreement 2003).stipulates that the objective of the Commission is to

“advise the Contracting Parties and provide recommendations on the uses of the Limpopo, its tributaries and its waters for purposes and measures of protection, preservation and management of the Limpopo”

Article 7 of the agreement further elaborates that the advice to the Contracting Parties is focused on:

  • Measures and arrangements to determine the long term safe yield of water available from the Limpopo;
  • The equitable and reasonable utilisation of the Limpopo to support sustainable development in the territory of each contracting Party and the harmonisation of their policies related thereto;
  • The extent to which the inhabitants in the territory of each contracting parties concerned shall participate in the planning, utilization, sustainable development, protection and conservation of the Limpopo and the possible impacts on social and cultural heritage matters;
  • All aspects related to the efficient and effective collection, processing and dissemination of data and information with regard to the Limpopo;
  • Contingency plans and measures for preventing and respond to harmful conditions whether resulting from natural causes such as droughts or human conduct as well as emergency situations that result suddenly from natural causes such as floods or human conduct such as industrial accidents
  • Investigations and studies, separately or jointly, by the Contracting Parties with regard to the development of the Limpopo including the construction, operations and maintenance of any water works;
  • Measures with the view to arriving at settlement of a dispute between two or more Contracting Parties; and
  • Any other matter affecting the implementation of the Protocol
Organisational structures

With respect to the Commission’s institutional arrangements to deliver its mandate, the 2003 Agreement under Article 4 stipulates that, the principal organ of the Commission is the Council composed by not more than 3 delegates per country, with the mandate to establish the Secretariat and any other organ as may be necessary.

Making use of its powers, the Council subsequently, established the Permanent Secretariat in 2014 lead by a substantive Executive Secretary and the following operational organs:

  • The Commissioners – made of three Senior Officials from each of the riparian states
  • The Technical Task Team – made of three Senior Technical Officials within the water sector per country
  • The Flood Forecasting Task Team – with two experts per riparian states
  • The Legal Task Team – composed of two legal experts per riparian states, and
  • The Limpopo Groundwater Committee (LGC) – made of two experts working closely with the SADC -Ground Water Management Institute (SADC-GMI)

The Commission recognized that the Article 4 of the LIMCOM Agreement does not include the Council of Ministers as the principal organ of decision making and instructed the Legal Team to amend the LIMCOM Agreement to include the Council of Ministers.

Work done so far

Since its establishment in 2003, LIMCOM has undertaken a number of interventions in the LimpopoRiver Basin (LRB) that among others include:

  • Development of Limpopo River Basin Awareness Kit (Limpopo RAK);
  • Basin stakeholder’s dialogue and Road Map;
  • Implementation of pilot projects at community and catchment levels
  • Evidence based research on key vulnerability issues;
  • Development of conceptual framework for Limpopo Management Information System (LIMIS)
  • Development of the Limpopo River Basin Monograph;
  • Development of a LIMCOM IWRM plan (2011 – 2015);
  • Limpopo River Basin Atlas “Change, Challenges and Opportunities”
Current ongoing initiatives.

LIMCOM's current ongoing interventions being undertaken