A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF TRANSBOUNDARY WATER MANAGEMENT IN SADC: CASE OF THE LIMPOPO BASIN
MATARUSE, PROLIFIC S.
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In this study the focus was on the importance of identifying the drivers, processes and outcomes of transboundary water management in Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and to establish the relationship with regional integration in SADC. It aimed to present a dimension to a basic typology of regional integration by studying the Limpopo basin transboundary water management in a SADC context. Transboundary water management was taken as a sector approach adopted in SADC regional integration. The objectives of the study were to analyse transboundary water management in SADC through the Limpopo Agreement of 2003; to establish the relationship of the Limpopo Basin’s transboundary water management and regional integration in SADC; to analyse the influence of international forces on regional water governance trends; and to investigate the impact of river basin organizations on regional peace, security and sustainable development. The hypothesis in this study was that transboundary water management in the Limpopo Basin is an opportunity to understand regional integration in SADC. The methodology of study evolved on an issues based approach framed in defining driving forces and pressures (rational) and outlining impacts on states and the responses which have been manifest through various interstate agreements. It traces the movement from bilateral to multilateral cooperation usually in the form of river basin organisations. However, it is noted that bilateral agreements between states continue to be relevant in defining context specific solutions. The research hinged on locating governance and socio economic factors. Governance was about its architecture, river basin organisation resilience and water legislation. Socio economic indicators are linked to economic interdependency, societal well-being and vulnerability. The study enables the identification and explanation of principles, concepts and instruments in the Limpopo basin agreements and SADC regional water sector. Subsequently, state sovereignty has been challenged in SADC through transboundary water management. Comparative approaches are taken from the historical legacies of commission operation of the Permanent Indus Commission, the Niger River Authority and the International Commission for the Protection of the River Elbe. Apparently the major lessons arrived at are that transboundary water management is useful in consensus building and presents opportunities for cooperation, development and integration rather than to conflict. It is concluded that the immense value of Limpopo Watercourse Commission (LIMCOM) is still futuristic although it represents efforts and growth towards regional integration. It is recommended that SADC and LIMCOM can play an important role in securing and maintaining a commitment to best practices, cost-effective management, democracy and stability from which greater regional co-operation and thus global integration can be launched. The stability of the region is seen as critical to the success of its own transition.