Transregional Comparative Lessons in Pursuit of Sustainable Development
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Werner Scholtz and Jonathan Verschuuren
Chapter 4: Sustainable development of SADC’s watercourses: the IncoMaputo River Basin Agreement of 2002
Historically, global water demands have increased steadily with population growth and the subsequent rise of various types of human activities, which include but are not restricted to agriculture and energy generation. In order to mitigate the potential impacts of the increasing demands on water posed by a variety of anthropogenic activities, a sustainable approach to water management is a necessity. Sustainable water management refers to water management systems capable of meeting the water requirements of the current generation without neglecting to consider the water needs of future generations. Furthermore, these sustainable water management systems should be reflective of the fact that increased water dependence is born out of both ecological demands on water and the need for socio-economic development. It is clear that the water management systems which include the environmental, social and economic dimensions of water needs will be those most likely to be capable of contributing to the promotion of sustainable development. Factors which should be considered in developing sustainable water management systems include water requirements for agricultural production and energy generation, and increasing anthropogenic water contamination, especially in developing countries. The foregoing factors and other related issues such as climate change, when considered together, indicate that water requirements in the arid and semi-arid areas will continue to increase steadily in the foreseeable future. The reasons for the increased water needs in arid and semi-arid regions (of which SADC is one) are varied.
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