Wastewater management plan developed in Botswana using an integrated approach

Posted: 2011-12-30

While pollution problems have long been acknowledged in the Okavango Delta, it was the Botswana IWRM-WE Plan project (facilitated by GWP Botswana, led by Botswana's Department of Water Affairs, and funded by UNDP GEF) which brought stakeholders and institutions together to act on the issue. This contrasted with the isolated, ad hoc project and departmental actions that had gone before.

It is significant that an integrated approach was adopted. This catered well to the 3E's in IWRM: economic efficiency (tourism industry), social equity (livelihood dependence), and environmental sustainability (protection of the ecosystem at this ecologically sensitive Ramsar site).

It is also important to appreciate the potential of local, integrated interventions for scaling up to national and international transboundary levels, when the right institutions are involved, and when they understand the value of (and thus own) integrated, multi-level IWRM actions. The national IWRM-WE planning process purposely emphasised local interventions to demonstrate the benefits of IWRM.

Although this was just one local action in Botswana's part of the Okavango basin, it influenced changes to national legislation. It also had an impact at the international basin level: two other basin initiatives (the GEF-funded Biokavango and the USAID-funded Southern African Regional Environmental Programme) and their cooperating Partners were brought in and supported development in the basin context. This has had implications for the upstream riparian states, Angola and Namibia.

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