History of LIMCOM

Cooperation between the Limpopo River basin states can be traced back to a number of regional initiatives, agreements and institutions which help to promote a cooperative spirit within the basin. These include:

  • Tripartite Permanent Technical Committee (TPTC) one of the first attempts at a regional water agreement. It was established in 1983 when Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland formalised it with the goal of making recommendations on the management of the water shortages being experienced in the Limpopo, Incomati and Maputo Rivers at that time (Van der Zaag and Savenije 1999).
  • Limpopo Basin Permanent Technical Committee (LBPTC) between Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe was established in 1986 (SADC 2003a).
  • Joint Permanent Technical Commission (JPTC) between Botswana and South Africa on the Limpopo, Molopo and Nossob Rivers was formalised in 1987 (SADC 2003a). One of the key outputs of the JPTC was the Joint Upper Limpopo Basin Study (JULBS),which was made to investigate a range of issues including evaluate the most successful and cost effective way of exploiting and regulating the main stream (Amaral and Rubik 2004).
  • Joint Permanent Commission for Co-operation (JPCC) was a joint agreement between Botswana and South Africa was established in 1997 to deal with a variety of issues, including the transfer of water from the Molatedi Dam on the Marico River (SADC 2003a).

In 1986, the “Agreement on the Limpopo Basin Permanent Technical Committee” was signed by representatives from Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe (UN-HABITAT/UNEP 2007). This agreement provided the legal framework for the Limpopo Basin Permanent Technical Committee (LBPTC). The mandate of the LBPTC was to advise the parties on transboundary issues related to the management and utilisation of the Limpopo (SADC 2003a). The LBPTC addressed issues, such as (UN-HABITAT/UNEP 2007):

  • Division of flows
  • Aspects related to droughts
  • Floods and pollution
  • Programmes and activities that jointly benefit all the riparians

The organisation became dormant in the mid-1990s, but was reactivated following political changes in South Africa in 1995. The LBPTC helped to ensure that dialogue and negotiation occurred between the riparian countries leading to the establishment of the Limpopo Watercourse Commission (LIMCOM).

In 2005, the LBPTC produced a LIMCOM Action Plan in conjunction with the SADC Water Sector Unit (Amaral and Summerhalder 2004). In 2010, the LBPTC conducted a comprehensive Joint Limpopo Basin Study.

Phalaborwa Barrage, South Africa. Source: Mac 2008


Current ongoing initiatives.

LIMCOM's current ongoing interventions being undertaken