The Comparative Dynamics of Water Sharing of Transboundary Waterways: Lessons from the Nile, Lesotho Highlands Water Project and the Okavango River Basin

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Isaac Mazonde


The current global climate change patterns seem set to usher in progressively drier climates in mostdeveloping countries, especially in Africa. This, coupled with population explosion in developing countries, is bound to cause increasing water shortages in countries such as Botswana. Reliance of countries on shared transboundary waters increases as water becomes scarcer, usually leading to tensions among the riparian states as the concerned states experience growing inadequacy of water. A lot has been written about transboundary waters. What has not been highlighted is a comparison of successful and unsuccessful transboundary water resource agreements. This paper presents the Basin of the Nile River as a case where problems have been experienced in the sharing of transboundary waters on the one hand, the water project based in Lesotho Highlands, as a case of a successful treaty governing the sharing of Transboundary waters signed between the governments of South Africa and Lesotho on the other, and finally the Okavango River Basin as a case study with more positive results in the sharing of a major regional water resource. The Okavango in Botswana, given its strategic regional planning and management committee, is projected as a case where the use of a common resource unites rather than divides the riparian states. Hence, the case is put forward as a model that the continent can use.

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