Media Release

(Pretoria/Colombo, 8 April 2021) ­– The five Partner States of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) have joined forces with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) to manage groundwater resources spanning an area larger than Austria and Germany.

Photo: Xueliang Cai / IWMI

Groundwater and aquifers are increasingly playing a role in supplying reliable water supplies to dispersed communities and wildlife in the KAZA TFCA.

Spanning Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, IWMI’s KAZA-GROW project highlights the importance of a transboundary approach for providing resilience in dry spells, sustaining ecosystems, wildlife and local communities.

Climate change, coupled with a growing population and economic growth, is putting pressure on natural resources, resulting in fragile ecosystems. The conservation area’s ecosystems are crucial, not only for locals, but for tourists drawn to the wetlands, savannah, and the region’s incredible wildlife. And as drought risk rises, groundwater is vital to provide water for local communities and support these diverse ecosystems.

Dr. Karen Villholth, Principal Researcher at IWMI and Project Lead for KAZA GROW said: “The KAZA TFCA counts on at least five transboundary aquifers (TBAs). These are deeper and larger water- bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated geological formations underlying and shared between two or more states. Relatively little is known about them, even though they may form the future backbone of water supplies. By joining forces, these five countries aim to create positive change and improve water security while protecting the resource.”

Executive Director of the KAZA TFCA Secretariat Dr. Nyambe Nyambe said: “In 2018, the Conservation Working Group of KAZA TFCA, on behalf of the Partner States, directed the Secretariat to pay particular attention to the management and development of water resources in KAZA. There has been a number of developments since then, one being the signing of an MoU with OKACOM – the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission responsible for overseeing one of the two river basins sharing the KAZA TFCA.”

The KAZA GROW project is led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in collaboration with the KAZA TFCA Secretariat, supported by Peace Parks Foundation. It is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Resilient Waters Program for southern Africa.

The KAZA TFCA was formally established in 2011, mandated by the five Partner States, with a mission to sustainably manage the Kavango Zambezi ecoregion through best conservation and tourism models and harmonization of policies, strategies and practices for the socio-economic well-being of the communities in and around the ecoregion.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Toby Johnson, Head Global Communications and Knowledge Management, IWMI
e-mail: t.johnson@cgiar.org
tel +94 (0)779425984

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