Publication: Managing Water for Sustainable Growth and Poverty Reduction : A Country Water Resources Assistance Strategy for Zambia

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The country water resources assistance strategy for Zambia provides an analysis of the role of water in the economy and identifies the specific challenges, development opportunities and policies which inform an agreed framework for priority areas of assistance. Zambia lies entirely within the catchments of the Zambezi and Congo rivers and all internal runoff is shared by downstream and parallel riparian countries. This strategic geographic position in the upper reaches of both these catchments provides an important context for any water resources development. Zambia has played an important role in development of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) revised protocol on shared water courses (2000) and is engaged in the process of developing co-operative mechanisms with riparian states. However, the existing legal framework explicitly excludes any provisions for addressing issues on shared waters in the Zambezi and Luapula rivers, along with that portion of the Luangwa River which constitutes the boundary between Zambia and Mozambique. These account for more than 60 percent of Zambia's water resources. Economic development is undermined by physical scarcity of water. Despite the relative abundance, the uneven distribution of water resources across the country, high climatic variability (resulting in frequent floods and droughts) and degradation of water quality increasingly results in localized issues of scarcity. Despite continuing efforts to reduce pollution flow into the Kafue River, severe water quality issues persist in the Copper belt, posing serious health risks to the population and limiting the availability of water for productive purposes. The high dependency on hydropower, with 96 percent of the installed capacity produced within a 300km radius in the Kafue/Zambezi complex, will further increase vulnerability of the national economy to impacts associated with changing climatic conditions.
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World Bank. 2009. Managing Water for Sustainable Growth and Poverty Reduction : A Country Water Resources Assistance Strategy for Zambia. © World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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