Policies and Strategies

There have been a number of important regional and international policies and strategies to further the development of a comprehensive Joint Limpopo River Basin Strategy. The Revised SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses, as discussed in the Goverance theme, focuses on regional integrated water resources development, utilisation and management on the basis of balance, equity and mutual benefit of the riparian states. All four basin states have ratified the Protocol. However, the rate at which the countries have reformed their national policy and legal frameworks to align them with the policy objectives has differed (LBPTC 2010). As a result, the implementation of integrated water resource management is at different stages in each riparian country.

Policy development processes have not occurred in a harmonised fashion among the four countries (LBPTC 2010). For example, in South Africa and Zimbabwe strong stakeholder participation has driven policies, whilst in Mozambique the processes have been largely Government driven. Botswana also has had limited stakeholder consultation. In addition, some policies have evolved quite quickly, as was the case in Zimbabwe, however, in South Africa and Mozambique policy reform has been much more of a lengthy process. Mozambique has had a Draft Water Law since 2005. Botswana's main Water Law dates back to 1968.



A review of the Botswana National Water Master Plan (1992) was completed in 2006 and recommendations were made for reform. These recommendations were implemented by the government of Botswana between 2006 and 2008 (Republic of Botswana 2009).

The major objectives of the original plan remain valid goals in water demand management:

  • Estimate water demands throughout the country from 1990 to 2021
  • Determine present availability and development potential of all water resources in the country
  • Determine sustainable water resource development policies and programs and identify funding requirements, environmental and social impacts, legal requirements and requirement institutional support (WHO 2000)

In addition to the Master Plan, Botswana has a National Water Conservation Policy and Strategy Framework document (1999) and has established a water conservation unit within its Department of Water Affairs (DWA). Water Demand Management is part of its strategy, with an overall goal of reducing water consumption and developing of alternative water resources from the existing conventional sources. The strategy focuses on three main actions and incentives: “pricing and other economic instruments, technical measures, and public education/awareness initiatives” (Sandstrom and Singh 2000).

Key Documents
  • Water Works Act (1962)
  • National Water Master Plan for water (1992)
  • National Water Conservation Policy and Strategy Framework document (1999)
  • Draft Water Bill (2005)
  • Policy Brief on Botswana's Water Management (2006)


Unlike the other riparian countries, policy development in Mozambique has been largely Government–driven (LBPTC 2010). The Direcçao Nacional de Águas (National Directorate for Water) (DNA) is responsible for managing water resources within the country. DNA provides guidance and technical support to the regional water authority responsible for the lower Limpopo River - ARA-Sul (Murwira et al. 2007).

Under the Water Act, created in 1991, a National Water Commission (CNA) was created to ensure integrated water resource management. The Water Act has been harmonised with SADC's Revised Protocol on Shared Watercourses.

In 1999 the Disaster Management Policy was adopted to promote community participation and encourages development of alternative mitigation measures to ensure preparedness (Murwira et al. 2007). A law to implement this policy had not yet been approved in 2007.

Key Documents:
  • Water Law 16/1991
  • National Water Policy (2007)
  • National Water Resources Management Strategy - DRAFT (2007)
  • Water Tariff Policy (1998)


South Africa

To meet urban, industrial and agricultural irrigation requirements, South Africa depends heavily on surface water resources, supplied via extensive water management infrastructure (dams, transfers and canals, etc.). These resources are increasingly strained, and some basins are reaching "closure": the point at which there is little or no more water to supply. With “future options for further augmentation of water supply by the development of physical infrastructure being limited” (DWAF 2004), Water Conservation and Water Demand Management are increasingly important in South Africa. The National Water Resources Strategy (DWAF 2004), proposes a mix of water supply and demand-side measures to ease the strain on resources.

South African policies have developed as a result of strong stakeholder participation and consultation (LBPTC 2010). The Department of Water Affairs (DWA) is responsible for guiding the development and implementation of Water Demand Management measures. South Africa approved a revised Water Services Act in 1997 (WSA) and a National Water Act in 1998 (NWA). Although these Acts enabled Water Demand Management they were not designed specifically to address the issue. Subsequently, a draft Water Conservation and Water Demand Management National Strategy Framework (WC/ WDM) were produced (DWAF 1999).

The Following Sections presents the South African National Strategy Framework by describing the Objectives and Goals

Objective A: Create a culture of WC/DM within all water management and water services institutions

Objective B: Support water management and water services institutions to implement water WC/DM

Objective C: Create a culture of WC/DM for all consumers and users

Objective D: Promote international co-operation and participate with other Southern African countries, particularly basin sharing countries, in developing joint WC/DM strategies

Objective E: Enable water management and water services institutions to adopt integrated resource planning (IRP)

Objective F: To promote social development and equity

Objective G: Contribute to the protection of the environment, ecology and water resources

Objective H: Contribute the parameters of water economics to development planning processes

Source: DWAF 1999

National Water Resource Strategy

Chapter 2 of the National Water Resource Strategy (2004) includes an assessment of South Africa’s Water Situation and Strategies to Balance Supply and Demand. Chapter 3, Part 2 deals with Water Conservation and Water Demand Management. This document provides a comprehensive overview of the water resources of South Africa and a series of options for meeting water requirements, including Water Conservation and Water Demand Management and sectoral approaches, which address the major water use groups.

Key Documents:
  • Water Services Act in 1997
  • National Water Act in 1998
  • Water Demand Management National Strategy Framework (1999)
  • National Water Resource Strategy (2004)



Zimbabwe's policies have developed as a result of strong stakeholder participation and consultation (LBPTC 2010). Zimbabwe's gains have, however, been eroded by economic challenges during the last decade. There is no single Policy paper in Zimbabwe, but various pronouncements dating from 1980 to 1990; the Decade for Drinking Water and Sanitation.The Water Act and Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) Act embody integrated water resource management principles and catchment based planning. The Water Resources Management Strategy sets out principles such as equitable access, assessment and access to data for quantity/quality, user/polluter pays, and consumer participation in pricing (LBPTC 2010). Under the Strategy, seven Catchment Management Units were formed working with Catchment Managers in conjunction with Catchment Councils. Within the Limpopo River basin, Mzingwane is one such catchment.

Key Documents:
  • Water Act (1998)
  • Zimbabwe National Water Authority Act (1998)
  • Water Resources Management Strategy (2000)
  • Environment Management Act (2002)
Current ongoing initiatives.

LIMCOM's current ongoing interventions being undertaken