01 Nov Thomas Gyedu-Ababio
Dr Thomas Gyedu-Ababio has 20 years’ work experience in water resources and aquatic biodiversity management. Thomas has worked for Rand Water Board and Kruger National Park as water resources manager. Currently CEO of the IUCMA, he also takes time to do research/academic work in the field of water.
Rivers and streams run across municipal, provincial, regional and international boundaries in the Inco-Maputo basin. The Inco-Maputo Basin involves three countries; South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland. The socio-economic and political dynamics of the countries involved contribute, immensely to the management of the resource in the Inco-Maputo transboundary basin.
There are various challenges in the management of water resources in the Inco-Maputo basin. They include; variability and seasonality (time and space); deterioration in water availability as supply contracts and demand escalates due to growth, urbanization, inefficient use, degradation of wetlands, water losses and the negative impacts of climate change; Little Storage infrastructure in the feeder catchments; rainfall and demand spatially disparate; evaporation is higher than precipitation; meeting international obligations; ensuring universal access to sanitation; protecting and restoring ecological infrastructure; water resource pollution, especially from sewage leaking/spilling into the water resources, causes a serious health risk; and differences in technical and financial capacity between neighbouring or sharing states.
The co-ordination of the different stakeholders and or role players in the three countries involved becomes very important, but the allocation of roles and responsibilities in this international basin becomes a challenge as the legislations and levels of capacity are different in the sharing countries. Climate change is compounding the water problems in the Inco-Maputo Basin. Droughts and floods are becoming very regular in the basin.
Currently, studies are ongoing in the basin to realise the current status of water resources. Governance structures are being reviewed to ensure effective management and inclusion of all parties.
It is recommended that in order to avoid unforeseen future transboundary disputes innovative system of presenting and sharing information started by the IUCMA should be explored and applied.