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Strategic Decision Making on River Basin Management  

In recent years, the Government of Angola (GoA) passed a Water Law (2002) and put in place a Strategic Water Resources Plan (2004). These key documents prioritise equitable access to water, sustainable water use, an integrated approach to water resources management and a river basin planning approach. Water resources planning in the Kunene basin will be guided by this framework.

The water-related needs, opportunities and constraints of the Kunene basin need to be researched further in basin-specific assessments. The study form 2001 referred to above (Rocha 2001) follows the path towards this goal, and uses baseline assessment information and analyses from the late 1990s to present a series of alternative water resources management approaches. These are based on hydrological models of the Kunene River basin and a series of possible development scenarios on both sides of the border.

SEA provides information on best practise for rural drinking water supply.
Source: AHT GROUP AG 2009
( click to enlarge )

Further work needs to be undertaken to update existing studies. Steps towards strategic decision-making on river basin management are likely to reflect those described in the Rocha study, as follows:

  • Updating baseline river basin assessment, to include collation of hydrological, hydrogeological, ecological and land use data, and data on current water use;
  • Development of hydrological and hydraulic models for the river basin to facilitate analysis of sustainable abstraction, aquifer recharge and hydroelectric potential. Hydraulic modelling will also permit development of flood prediction maps;
  • Consideration of medium and long-term changes to the river basin under predictions of climate change impacts on precipitation and temperature;
  • Development of models for water demand in the river basin under a series of development scenarios in Angola and Namibia, and
  • On the basis of this analysis, development of local policies and plans for sustainable water use, incorporating the needs of aquatic ecosystems.

Strategic Environmental Assessment

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a tool used to positively influence high-level decision-making, to ensure that sensitive environmental and social factors are considered during the development of policies, plans and programmes. Its use is mandated under GoA laws on environmental assessment (GoA 1998b, GoA 2004). In Namibia the Southern African Institute for Environmental Assessment conducted various workshops on SEA. Namibia adopted SEA as strategic tool for its Second National Development Plan (International Institute for Environment and Development 2005).

Through consideration of likely environmental and social impacts for a number of reasonable alternatives to plans and programmes, SEA helps to identify the best alternative from an environmental and social perspective. Use of SEA is recommended for basin-wide planning, just as Environmental Impact Assessment is used for individual schemes such as hydroelectric dams.




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