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The Sustainable groundwater management in the SADC Member States

The Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) received funding from the World Bank to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Programme in the SADC member states.  The primary objective of the programme is to set up the SADC Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI) to lead the implementation of the programme.

The World Bank-driven project to strengthen groundwater management in the SADC region became effective on 30 June 2015, with the objective of the project being met by the establishment and operation of SADC-GMI.  The project is jointly funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the multi-donor trust fund Cooperation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA); and is being strategically managed by SADC Secretariat’s Water Division in Gaborone, Botswana.  The SADC-GMI is hosted by the Institute for Groundwater Studies (University of the Free State) in Bloemfontein, South Africa on behalf of the SADC Secretariat.

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Groundwater plays a significant role in the SADC region, supporting about 70% of the 250 million people that live in the region.  Some member states actively integrate groundwater into their water resource management policies and laws; but generally groundwater does not feature prominently in institutional frameworks to manage water at both national and transboundary levels.  The World Bank acknowledges that regional approaches to the management of shared waters can provide improved water security and more sustainable management.  The many challenges that face the region – particularly in the water sector – are best addressed through cooperation and integration at the regional level.  Strengthening regional initiatives and institutions can also contribute to ending poverty and promoting shared prosperity

The objective of the project to support the sustainable management of groundwater at national and transboundary levels across SADC member states.  This is to be achieved through the establishment of the SADC-GMI, intended to be a centre of excellence for the region.  Establishment and operation of the SADC-GMI is being financed by two grants  totalling US$ 10.2 million over a five year period, where after the institute is to be self-sustaining.  The money is to be spent on four components:

  • Operationalising the SADC-GMI – US$2.8 million
  • Strengthening institutional capacity – US$1.5 million
  • Advancing knowledge on transboundary and national groundwater – US$3.0 million
  • Promoting groundwater infrastructure management and development – US$2.9 million