Water scarcity already poses the greatest threat to the livelihoods, economies and ecosystems of the Limpopo River Basin (LRB). Climate change — mostly felt in the LRB in terms of rising temperatures and an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme events — will further reduce water availability, while continued growth and development will increase water demand. A future in which current and projected economic growth scenarios, together with the expected impacts of climate change, can only accelerate water scarcity (as well as biodiversity loss) in a basin that has already reached scientific closure (meaning there is no water left to allocate to new users). Protecting the high altitude catchments is one way of keeping the LRB water flows open – a strategy that could yield high returns across the basin, including returns for downstream countries. Reversing land degradation and ensuring water quality are also important means of securing and protecting this vital resource. Basin-level and national decisions are urgently required in managing the future of the LRB System (LRBS) and action must be taken to build resilience. Decision making processes should increasingly also occur at a transboundary level, informed by planning across sectors and disciplines, rather than on a country-by-country basis.
To see more on the Resilience in the Limpopo River Basin (RESILIM) program and access the policy brief click here.