SADC Water Division

The SADC Water Division provides a platform for its member countries to address transboundary water management issues and challenges.

The responsibilities and functions of the SADC Water Division include:

  • Develop and facilitate the implementation of the Regional Water Policy and Strategy (RWPS)
  • Develop short-term regional strategies and implementation plans
  • Monitor the implementation of the Revised Protocol on Shared Water-courses and the RWPS
  • Develop a monitoring and evaluation system of the regional water programme
  • Establish, coordinate and strengthen regional networks to carry forward water sector programmes
  • Mobilise or facilitate the mobilisation of financial and technical resources to carry out water sector programmes
  • Report to the SADC Council of Ministers through the Integrated Committee of Ministers (ICM) on the activities of the water sector
  • Develop and maintain a regional water database capturing all key information required in the management of water resources in the region

At the level of River Basin Organisations, the SADC Water Division’s role is to:

  • Ensure the implementation of the Treaty and Water Protocol
  • Identify and mobilise resources to support RBOs
  • Promote pilot/demonstration projects
  • Strengthen and capacitate RBOs
  • Develop and promote stakeholder participation strategy
  • Sustain political support


Institutional Strengthening within the Water Division

According to the Regional Water Strategy (RWS) (SADC 2007) the new governance structures within SADC do not establish clear or direct interaction of the SADC Water Division with the national water ministries. Other challenges identified by the RWS include limited capacity of the SADC Water Division to implement the tasks outlined in the Regional Strategic Action Plan (RSAP), mismatch between strategic priorities and available resources, and lack of institutional understanding on roles, responsibilities and procedures between the relevant stakeholders (SADC Secretariat, RBOs, national ministries of water).

To address these challenges, the Regional Water Policy outlined strategies for establishing and strengthening institutional frameworks for water resources management in the region. The strategic objective is:

“To establish a strong water secretariat with adequate human and financial resources to effectively coordinate, monitor and facilitate water resources development and management in the SADC Region” (SADC 2007).

SADC Water Division falls under the SADC Directorate for Infrastructure and Services. Source: Hatfield 2011


To achieve this strategic objective, the Regional Water Strategy emphasised Institutional strengthening activities to provide adequate technical and managerial support to the Water Division to implement the Regional Strategic Action Plan, and strengthening the institutional arrangements within the SADC water sector. Institutional strengthening activities include establishing a clear mandate for the Water Division, enabling policy and legal environment, planning and managerial skills, organisational, functional, financial resources, human and infrastructure resources, networks and associations, and stakeholder support (SADC 2007).

The Regional Water Strategy also promoted governance arrangements to enable close cooperation between the Water Division and the Ministries of Water in Member States. Given the highly specialised and technical nature of water management, a more direct mechanism for governance was outlined in the Regional Water Strategy to establish a formalised program of secondments from national departments to the Water Division (SADC 2007).

Current ongoing initiatives.

LIMCOM's current ongoing interventions being undertaken