Water experts discussing groundwater resource governance

22 Oct 2013 19:30pm
WINDHOEK, 22 OCT (NAMPA) – A number of water experts from Namibia, Botswana and South Africa are attending a three-day meeting on Groundwater Resource Governance in Trans-boundary Aquifers of the Stampriet-Kalahari/Karoo Aquifer Case Study in the capital.
Speaking at the event which commenced on Tuesday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Representative to Namibia, Damir Dijakovic said the meeting is the kick-off gathering of a more detailed action which responds directly not only to appeals from UNESCO member states, but also from a more general call for solutions to prevent and reverse the world-wide water crisis in the face of global and climate change.
“The Kalahari basin occupies a vast area of unconsolidated Aeolian sand, tertiary to recent in age, which potentially forms a huge primary aquifer resource. However, pockets of saline groundwater in the Kalahari have been reported from the more arid areas in Botswana and Namibia where this unit occurs extensively,” he noted.
The main goal of the project is to enhance co-operation on water security, reduce trans-boundary and water-use conflicts, and improve overall environmental sustainability.
It aims to reinforce the capacity of member states in managing groundwater resources; strengthen co-operation among stakeholders and countries in sharing the aquifer; and develop a long-term strategy for the monitoring and governance of the trans-boundary aquifer.
According to the agenda, delegates will discuss what information and knowledge gaps currently inhibit sustainable development and governance of groundwater resources in the Stampriet aquifer and what other gaps are impeding or obstructing sustainable development and governance of groundwater resources in the aquifer.
They will also look at what thematic maps are considered useful and feasible to construct to support groundwater governance; as well as which are the key capacities required in a multi-country team to successfully manage trans-boundary groundwater resources.
The objectives of the event are amongst others to formally launch the project and update all parties on the progress of its implementation; discuss and agree upon the roles, functions, and responsibilities of project stakeholders, the project’s Country Focal Points (CFPs) and other project partners; presenting a preliminary estimate of the current state of data availability and ownership; and to agree on the next steps and project milestones.
“Indeed, water is humanity’s most important natural resource. Sustaining livelihoods and ecosystems, water resources play a central role in maintaining the global ecosystem balance and for providing socio-economic benefits,” he noted.
The meeting ends Thursday.