On Demand, Development and Dependence: A Review of Current and Future Implications of Socioeconomic Changes for Integrated Water Resource Management in the Okavango Catchment of Southern Africa

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"Water is both a key and limited resource in the Okavango Catchment of Southern Africa. It is vital for the ecosystem and the three riparian states Angola, Botswana and Namibia who use the water of the catchment for multiple purposes including pastoralism, farming and tourism. Socioeconomic changes, primarily strong population growth and increasing development demands pose significant challenges for the Okavango Catchment and its Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM). In this paper, we first review the socioeconomic background and the current and projected water situation. Against this background, we analyze the dependence of the riparian states and the local livelihoods on the Okavango Catchment. Third, we discuss the implications of socioeconomic changes and increased water demand for the IWRM in the catchment. We review the scientific literature and relevant reports. Further we utilize (geo-spatial) analysis of socioeconomic, livelihood and hydrological data, supplemented by a field visit to Namibia and Botswana. Our findings suggest that strong population growth and the stabilization of Angola are likely to increase the pressure to develop the region along the Okavango. The central challenge for IWRM is hence to enable Angola to meet its development needs without limiting livelihood and economic prospects in Botswana and Namibia."



water management, livelihoods, economic development, population growth