Buzi, Pungwe, and Save Watercourses Commission launched to oversee the management of water resources within the shared basins

The Buzi, Pungwe, and Save Watercourses Commission (BUPUSACOM) was launched in Beira, Mozambique, on 19 July 2023, following the signing of the BUPUSA Water Courses Commission Establishment Agreement in Harare, Zimbabwe on 17 May 2023.

The tri-basin institution will have oversight on the planning, development, and management of the water resources within the Buzi, Pungwe, and Save (BUPUSA) River Basins, which are exclusively shared by Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

The SADC Secretariat congratulated the governments of Mozambique and Zimbabwe on the successful signing and launching of the BUPUSACOM, the first tri-basin institution in the region.

“The SADC Secretariat views transboundary water management cooperation as a critical element in all forms of sustainable development and welcomes the BUPUSACOM to the family of shared watercourse institutions in the region”, Dr. Patrice Kabeya, Senior Programme Officer - Water in the SADC Secretariat

In launching the commission, Hon. Cecilia Chamutota, Deputy Minister of Public Works, Housing, and Water Resources - Mozambique, reiterated the strategic importance of the Buzi, Pungwe, and Save (BUPUSA) basins to Mozambique.


Hon. Cecilia Chamutota, Deputy Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources, Mozambique launches BUPUSACOM

“The Chicamba Hydroelectric Dam, the Mavuzi, Muda Nhaurire, Gorongosa, Chitundo and the Mavonde Dams were bult along the BUPUSA Basins”, said Hon. Chamutota. “The dams are vital for the economic development of Mozambique, due to their contribution to water supply to the population, agricultural production, industry, electricity generation, and environmental preservation”.

The launch of the Commission was commended by the Government of Zimbabwe, which vowed its commitment to support the realisation of the roadmap for the Commission.

Hon. Davis Mharapira, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development – Zimbabwe said, “As stipulated in the BUPUSA Hosting and Establishment Agreements, the Zimbabwean Government is committed to supporting the Commission in its work within the basins”.

In that regard the Government nominated Mr. Elisha Madamombe as the interim executive secretary during the transition of the Commission into a fully-fledged River Basin Organisation. Mr. Madamombe is the Regional Coordinator for the BUPUSA Project.

He emphasised the need for joint infrastructure development by the two countries to counter the challenges in the basins, which are dominated by cyclical floods and droughts.


“The Government of Zimbabwe welcomes the BUPUSA Watercourses commission and commits to supporting the Commission in implementing its roadmap”, said Hon. Davis Mharapira, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development – Zimbabwe

Recognising the need for joint management and development of shared watercourses, the SADC Secretariat developed and adopted instruments, including the Revised SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses (2000), the Regional Water Policy (2005), and the Regional Water Strategy (2006).

Realising the benefits of cooperation, and in line with the SADC Protocol, the Governments of Mozambique and Zimbabwe established a Joint Water commission (JWC) in 2002. The JWC, the cooperative instrument between the riparian states, acts as a technical advisor to the parties on all technical matters relating to the development and utilisation of water resources of common interest.

In parallel to the technical work, the JWC has made remarkable progress on negotiations and elaboration of the following transboundary Agreements.

  • Cooperation on the Development, Management, and Sustainable Utilisation of the Water Resources of the Pungwe Watercourse (signed in July 2016),
  • Cooperation on the Development, Management, and Sustainable Utilisation of the Water Resources of the Buzi Watercourse (signed in July 2019),
  • Cooperation on the Development, Management, and Sustainable Utilisation of the Water Resources of the Save Watercourse (signed in May 2023),
  • The Establishment of the Buzi, Pungwe, and Save Watercourses Commission (BUPUSA COMMISSION) – (signed in May 2023), and
  • The Hosting of the BUPUSA Commission Secretariat (signed in May 2023).


Overview of the BUPUSA transboundary water cooperation 2001-2023

 The above milestones were achieved through support from the following agencies:

 GWPSA supported the finalisation of the negotiation process that led to the signing of the Buzi agreements through the Buzi, Pungwe, Save Tri-Basin Project under the  SADC-GIZ Transboundary Water Management in SADC (GIZ-TWM) Programme –implemented on behalf of the SADC Secretariat. Support has also been provided during the last phase of the negotiations for the Save Water Sharing Agreement and the BUPUSA Establishment and Hosting Agreements as part of the deliverables of the GEF - Funded USD 6 million project being implemented in the three basins by IUCN with GWPSA as the regional executing Partner supporting the two governments.

The four- year project focuses on strengthening water-related risk management through the reinforcement of monitoring, and enhancing ecosystem services through quantitative water management, including operationalisation of environmental flows. Moreover, the project is developing a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis and the Strategic Action Plan (SAP) for the basins.

“Through the Continental Africa Water Investment Programme, the Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWPSA) commits to support the commission’s resource mobilisation efforts and development of the BUPUSA Water Investment Programme, which will include and align with the basins’ SAP”, said Mr. Alex Simalabwi, Executive Secretary - GWPSA.

Since 2012 IUCN has been working together with other partners and has been supporting the governments of Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and their water management agencies in the river basins and this support continues until 2025.

“IUCN feels honoured to be here especially at this point, as we have been part of the journey in supporting water cooperation in BUPUSA”, said Mr. Mauricio Xerinda, Country Representative – Mozambique International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)”. “We pledge continuation of our support to the commission beyond the tenure of the programme in the basins.

The launch of the Commission coincides with the launch of the Commission’s website which will be used  to communicate developments within the 3 basins and progress on the implementation of any projects within the basins.

The BUPUSA Tri-Basin consists of the following shared river basins: the Buzi River Basin; the Pungwe River Basin, and the Save River Basin. The Buzi River originates in the Eastern Highlands on the border of Mozambique and Zimbabwe and flows eastward through Manica and Sofala provinces of Mozambique. The Pungwe River originates in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe and flows in a general easterly direction through Mozambique into the Indian Ocean. The Save River runs from Zimbabwe and discharges into the Indian Ocean in Mozambique.


Land cover map of the Pungwe, Buzi, and Save basins

Photos of the launch are found on Flickr.