National Perspectives

A recent study, funded by InWEnt, has seen the development of a Roadmap for Stakeholder Participation in the Limpopo River basin. This roadmap is a precursor to the development of a strategy for stakeholder participation. It examines the institutional and capacity landscape in each of the riparian states, comprising an examination of the socio-economic setting, a breakdown of the institutional arrangements for stakeholder participation in water management, assessments of each of the institutions active in water management in the country, followed by a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis and a series of conclusions. The study also includes a discussion note on the legal and institutional framework for stakeholder participation in the Limpopo River basin. The document is included in the Document Library.

One of the challenges within the Limpopo River basin is that similar institutions for stakeholder participation do not exist from one country to the other. All of the riparians have different institutions with varying mandates, memberships and institutional structures, which pose constraints for basin-wide stakeholder participation. The following institutions exist at the basin level in each country:

  • Catchment Councils in Zimbabwe
  • Catchment Management Agencies in South Africa
  • Regional Water Administrations in Mozambique
  • Botswana has the least developed stakeholder-based organisations.



In Botswana, the Water Act, provides the framework for stake-holder participation in water resources management although mechanisms are not institutionalised (GTZ 2005). According to an assessment of stakeholder involvement within the basin conducted by GTZ (2005), Botswana has “not taken meaningful steps to assist in the setting up of stakeholder based institutions to partner with the state in water management”. The assessment concludes that stakeholder participation needs to be formalised and institutionalised within Botswana before the benefits of increased involvement will be realised.



Mozambique’s National Water Act provides a mechanism for stakeholder involvement through Regional Water Administrations (RWA), which have been designated as the management structure within Mozambique’s five catchment regions. The membership of the Regional Water Administrations is intended to be civil society and government. Below these organisations are River Basin Management Units (RBMU), followed by Water Committees at the local level (GTZ 2005). The Water Committees are locally-based and are intended to perform the day-to-day management of water resources. It is important to note that the institutional structures and framework for stakeholder involvement have been articulated, but have not yet been put into practice in Mozambique (GTZ 2005).


South Africa

In South Africa, community-based Catchment Management Agencies (CMAs) are being established to administer and implement catchment management strategies. The catchment management strategies are intended to be formulated with extensive stakeholder consultation, through the establishment of non-statutory bodies such as Catchment Management Fora or Catchment Steering Committees (ORASECOM 2007c). The principal objective is to devolve water management responsibilities to a regional level through the stakeholder participation process which is integral to their establishment.

The National Water Act also provides for Water User Associations to be set up as localised bodies, defined as “associations of individual water users that undertake water related activities for mutual benefit”, and are statutory bodies. There are two types of Water User Associations: a) sector-based, comprising members with similar water uses; and b) multi-sectoral, acting in the interests of members with a number of different water uses. South Africa has made limited progress in establishing the Catchment Management Agencies (CMAs).



The 1998 Water Act in Zimbabwe introduced Catchment and Sub-catchment Councils and abolished the previous Water Development Advisory Councils and Riverboards (GTZ 2005). The membership of Catchment Councils consists of local authorities, mining industry representatives; commercial farmers, and other relevant government institutions. Catchment Councils members are intended to be nominated by the sub-catchment councils. The institutional framework exists for stakeholder participation in Zimbabwe, but has not yet been put into practice in a meaningful way.

Current ongoing initiatives.

LIMCOM's current ongoing interventions being undertaken