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From a water resources perspective a river basin assessment consists basically of an appraisal of renewable water resources against current and expected water demand. A complete assessment towards IWRM may consider all of the following for the river basin study area (UNEP 2004):

  • Socio-economic trends
    • Economic – agriculture, energy, industry, transport, tourism, forestry; and
    • Social – population, employment, migration, poverty; financial incentives.
  • Natural resource management and the state of the river basin environment
    • Water resources – water balance, water availability and use, surface and groundwater quality, waste water;
    • Biodiversity – flora, fauna, protected areas, current threats;
    • Land resources – land uses, land degradation, soil erosion;
    • Forestresources – forest stands, logging;
    • Mineral resources; and
    • Wastes.
  • Environment and security – natural disasters, accident pollution.
Broad assessments collect data on various types of water related infrastructure.
Source: GTZ 2009
( click to enlarge )

A number of relevant assessments have been undertaken in the Kunene basin, in particular concerning planned and existing hydropower infrastructure. The environmental assessments and feasibility studies associated with the existing impoundments at Gove, Calueque, and Ruacana together with the studies prepared for the Baynes/Epupa dam sites (in planning) provide extensive analysis of the river basin within the respective study areas (Burmeister and Partners 1993 and 1998, ERM 2009).

These studies provide detailed local level baseline data that is helpful in putting together an overall picture of the Kunene basin. However, both the localised nature of the study areas, and the specific focus on benefits and impacts of impoundments, limits the extent to which these studies assist in the development of strategic basin wide IWRM concepts.

Assessment at Basin Level

A strategic overview of the Kunene River basin is provided by a study undertaken with Portuguese support (LNEC 1996). This study is documented through the following reports:

  • Vol. 1 – Synthesis /summary;
  • Vol. 2 – Initial characterisation of surface water resources;
  • Vol. 3 – Initial characterisation of groundwater resources;
  • Vol. 4 – Inventory of land with potential for irrigated agriculture;
  • Vol. 5 – State of the environment report;
  • Vol. 6 – Initial characterisation of the social ecology of the basin;
  • Vol. 7 – General characterisation of hydraulic infrastructure; and
  • Vol. 8 – Inventory of geographical information.

This study also includes an analysis of the Angolan and Namibian sections of the river basin and was followed by the development of an IWRM plan (Rocha (Ed.), 2001).

Additional useful data for Angola is provided by a study prepared for the Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER) in 2002. The study, entitled Water Supply in Rural Areas of Southwest Angola, proposes an IWRM approach at a local level. It provides information on water demand estimations (per capita and per head of livestock) in a number of municipalities of Huíla, Kunene and Namibe provinces, in addition to information on numbers of boreholes, dug wells (cacimbas) and small reservoirs (chimpacas) maintained in these municipalities (Angola Alliance Partners 2002).

An initial step towards the development of an IWRM strategy for the Kunene River basin will be to update and complete the basin-wide appraisal including a comprehensive ecological assessment as well as consideration of climate change impacts.

Assessment at Sub-basin Level

Extensive studies have been undertaken at sub-basin level in preparation for major hydroelectric (Epupa and Baynes) and other (Calueque) impoundments along the Kunene River. Most of the study results are available to the public. These studies provide a great deal of information and analysis that may be of relevance to decision-making on IWRM strategies on basin level. However, one needs to be aware that these studies are geographically limited and technically focussed on the feasibility and impacts of specific major impoundment projects.

Brief reviews and links are provided below.

Lower Kunene Hydropower Scheme - Epupa Project: The Environmental Assessment Study contains detailled baseline information, with a focus on both the biophysical environment and the human environment. It concludes limited impacts on terrestrial ecology, significant impacts on aquatic ecology and highly significant social impacts of the proposed scheme. The technical feasibility study contains a comprehensive chapter on the hydroelectric potential of the Kunene River.

Baynes Hydropower Project: The Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment (Final Scoping Report) effectively constitutes the Terms of Reference for a complete impact assessment, results of which are expected in early 2011. The objectives of the assessment are stated as follows:

  1. Present the ESHIA process and the relevant legislation that will be adhered to;
  2. Present a description of the proposed project and the relevant alternatives;
  3. Present the biophysical and socioeconomic conditions of the study area;
  4. Present the issues raised during the initial public consultation;
  5. Identify the environmental and social issues related with this project, on which the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Study shall be focused; and
  6. Present an outline of the Terms of Reference for the various specialist studies that will address the identified environmental and social issues.

This recent Baynes Scoping Report contains detailed, comprehensive and referenced analysis on the full range of legislative and regulatory issues affecting the proposed scheme, and the environmental and social issues potentially affected by the scheme.




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