South Africa Set to Import Millions of Cubic Meters of Water from Zimbabwe in Historic Agreement

March 12, 2024
Anxious Masuka and Senzo Mchunu | Report Focus News
Anxious Masuka and Senzo Mchunu

In a significant development poised to bolster regional cooperation and address persistent water scarcity, South Africa’s Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, alongside Dr. Anxious Jongwe Masuka, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, and Rural Development, are slated to sign a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) this Thursday. This MOU will pave the way for the transfer of an estimated 15 million cubic meters of treated water annually from Zimbabwe’s Beitbridge Treatment Works directly to the Musina Local Municipality in Limpopo, South Africa.

Musina, a municipality with a population of 132,009, sprawls across 192 villages and includes the town of Musina itself. Situated in a predominantly arid region, the community has historically depended on groundwater to meet its water needs. This new bilateral agreement marks a crucial step forward in securing a more sustainable water supply for the area.

The collaboration stems from the broader framework of the 2015 bilateral agreement on Cooperation on Water Resources Management and the Establishment and Functioning of the Joint Water Commission (JWC) between South Africa and Zimbabwe. It signifies a deepened commitment to managing shared water resources effectively and with mutual benefit.

Moreover, Minister Mchunu is set to further regional water cooperation through the signing of the amended Limpopo Watercourse Commission (LIMCOM) Agreement alongside representatives from Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Mozambique. The LIMCOM Agreement is essential for promoting transboundary collaboration over the shared resources of the Limpopo River basin, which is crucial for agriculture, tourism, energy generation, and domestic use across these nations.

In a statement, the Department of Water and Sanitation highlighted the significance of these agreements in strengthening South Africa’s relationships with its riparian neighbors and enhancing socio-economic activities through sustainable water use.

To directly address the water supply challenges in Musina, Mchunu, his deputies, and Freda Nkondo, the Mayor of Vhembe District Municipality, will meet with the local community at Musina Showgrounds on Friday. This engagement aims to provide updates on the progress made towards alleviating the water scarcity issues plaguing the area.

These initiatives are part of South Africa’s observance of National Water Month, an extension of World Water Day, focusing on the management and sustainability of freshwater resources. Through these concerted efforts, South Africa and its neighboring states are laying the groundwork for a future where water scarcity is a challenge of the past, demonstrating the power of cooperation in tackling shared environmental challenges.