Implementation of conjunctive water management requires objective research to enhance technical capacity and build relevant institutions. The Shire Conjunctive Water Management Project (Shire ConWat) focuses on the Shire River-Aquifer system, a transboundary water management area shared between Malawi and Mozambique.The Shire ConWat is part of the SADC-GMI ongoing project (The Sustainable Groundwater Management in SADC Member States), funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Multi-Donor Trust Fund Cooperation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA) through the World Bank.
The Shire System was identified as an ideal research area to investigate the conjunctive management of water resources because of the close coincidence between the geographic boundaries of the transboundary surface water and aquifer systems. The project recognizes that optimal transboundary water management results from taking conjunctive approaches that optimise water use across a diversity of water resources and scales. Supporting conjunctive cross-border water management in the Shire will be pursued through three key task areas: a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA), a Joint Strategic Action Plan (JSAP) and Knowledge Management of Research Results. The choice of the Shire Basin was approved by the SADC Member States as part of the SADC-GMI’s work plan that went through its extra-ordinary Steering Committee meeting in June 2017.
The work is framed within ZAMCOM (Zambezi Watercourse Commission) and other existing national and international organizations with a key role in managing water resources sustainably in the Shire Basin.These include the ARA Zambeze and the National Directorate of Water Resources Management (DNGRH) in Mozambique, and the Shire River Basin Management Program and the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development in Malawi.The project will establish an extended network to enable discussion and dissemination of findings. This network will include SADC, AMCOW, the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), and the African Network of Basin Organizations (ANBO).