The Orange Case Study
Case Study Leaders
Caroline Sullivan, Oxford University Centre for the Environment (OUCE); email: caroline.sullivan[AT]ouce.ox.ac.uk
Chris Dickens, Institute of Natural Resources (INR); email: DickensC[AT]ukzn.ac.za
If you are looking for more information on the case study in the Orange Basin, you are very welcome to contact the case study leaders.
The Orange River Basin
The Orange River flows through four countries - South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and Botswana. There is a pressing need for the river to be managed equitably as a whole system. This project will contribute to a better understanding of how transboundary basins can be more effectively managed.
More Information about the Orange basin and NeWater research conducted therein:
- Flyer "Wetland research in the NeWater Orange Basin Case Study"
- Booklet "Keeping the benefits flowing ang growing. Quantifying the benefits from wetlands in the upper Orange/Senq basin"
- Report "Water for the future. Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in the Orange-Senqu River Basin"
Main challenges to water management in the Orange River Basin
- Surface water sources are subject to high variability of flow and seasonal shortages
- Groundwater sources are often overused, leading to local depletion and a shortfall in supply - also problems due to inadequate development of the distribution network
- Pollution and institutional and management constraints are very significant and there may be conflict between development and sustainable use of the resource
- The basin houses the major economic hub in southern Africa and movements of population into the rapidly-growing cities and peri-urban areas has led to rapidly increasing water demand which is often not being met
- Inadequate tariff structures (although they have been reviewed recently) result in inability to fund water infrastructure and carry out routine maintenance
- Inter-catchments transfers have brought about river habitat changes and potential impacts on ecological integrity
Themes for the Orange Case Study
Theme 1: Enhancing Orange basin management by building preparedness for possible future basin scenarios
NeWater is investigating issues of IWRM and the ability to practice adaptive management when faced with an uncertain future. The Theme aims to pull the global and wide ranging aspects of NeWater into a cohesive unit that will be of immediate value to stakeholders in the basin. In order to do this it brings together those partners in the project who are working at a global or basin-wide level, together with the needs of local stakeholders, to produce a product that will be of use in the Orange. The products envisaged from Theme 1 are:
- A user friendly book of scenarios: it is critical that stakeholders appreciate the seriousness of the future water situation as it will be affected by climate change and also political and social changes. It is intended that this scenario product will provide a simple but hard-hitting look into the future in the hope that this will provide an incentive to present and future water managers to take the best possible path into the future.
- Research Reports: a great number of research reports are being produced by the NeWater project. This product will do whatever possible to feed this information into the Orange Basin.
- Greater Capacity in Water Resource Managers: the ultimate aim of this project is that the stakeholders in the Orange Basin should become better equipped to manage water resources into the future. Both of the above products are in service of this aim, but NeWater will also provide extensive training and capacity building initiatives. Much of this will emanate from Europe but will be made available to stakeholders in the Orange. This will be done via a comprehensive training and dissemination plan.
The following NeWater Workpackages will be involved in this Theme:
- WP 1.3 - Transboundary Regimes
- WP 2.2 - Understanding the consequences of climate hazards and climate change
- WP 2.4 - Social Dimensions of IWRM: poverty, gender and health
- WP 2.6 - Scenarios and Future Trends in Driving Forces for IWRM
- WP 3.1 - Coordination and Stakeholder Support
- WP 3.8 - The Orange Basin Case Study
- WP 4.1 - Compendium of Best Practices from Case Studies
- WP 4.2 - Tool Development
- WP 4.3 - Guidance and Training, Dissemination
Theme 2: Developing a motivation and framework for incentive-based wetland management in the Orange basin
Two of the key issues faced by the people living in the Orange Basin are the degradation of the water resource in general together with extremes of poverty in some areas. The Theme focused on some aspects of these two issues in the hope that NeWater could have a substantial impact on the lives of the people in the Basin.
The theme of work that has been chosen for a more “hands on” approach, after extensive stakeholder consultation in the basin, was the wetland resource in the Lesotho Highlands linked together with the people who are directly associated with those wetlands. These people are reliant for their very livelihoods on the condition of the wetlands, from which they obtain many benefits.
This Theme worked to develop an incentive-based framework for water managers in the Basin to manage the wetlands in the Lesotho Highlands, not only for the benefit of the people and the local environment, but also for the benefit of the entire downstream basin. It was anticipated that the product from Theme 2 could be used not only in the Lesotho Highlands but also in the other countries that form the Orange Basin.
In order to do this, NeWater was teaming up with the best minds and wetland management practitioners in Southern Africa. This includes people from the Working for Wetlands Project, the Mondi Wetlands Project (and WWF) as well as various wetland experts. Included were academics from Lesotho as well as the Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Project. NeWater experts from a variety of disciplines also contributed skills ranging from vulnerability assessments, to poverty to economics to wetland ecosystems.
The following NeWater Workpackages were involved in this Theme:
WP 2.1 – Vulnerability and exposure to shocks and stresses.
WP 2.4 – Social dimensions of IWRM; poverty, gender and health.
WP 3.1 – Coordination and stakeholder support.
WP 3.8 – Payment scheme for wetland services.
WP 4.1 – Compendium of best practice from case studies.
WP 4.3 – Guidance and training, dissemination.