Freshwater Program

Zambezi freshwater program

The Zambezi river basin is the fourth largest river basin in Africa in terms of surface and catchment area. The basin spreads over 1.3 million km2 across eight countries with more than 40% situated within Zambian borders. The river travels over 3000 kilometers through Zambia, Angola, Botswana, and Namibia, plunging over the famous Victoria Falls and continuing along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, before branching off through Mozambique to the delta, where it drains into the Indian Ocean.

Numerous developments have taken place on this river basin over the past decades. Two of the most famous ones are Kariba and Cahora Bassa dams, which were constructed to respond to the electricity demand in the region. Apart from dam construction, the river basin is faced with other competing demands such as agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing, mining, tourism and domestic water supply. Demands on the river, modification of its flow and stresses arising from climate change, increase the likelihood that populations will face water scarcity in the near future.

Freshwater Management as a Critical Priority for WWF

WWF has been involved in freshwater and wetland conservation at various levels and scales on this basin for almost 30 years. Our work evolved along the years to meet changing water challenges, adapt to changing policies and legislations, as well as carve strategic partnerships with relevant actors.

In light of the catchment countries’ ever increasing dependence on the Zambezi River for their national development agenda, WWF continues to identify Freshwater Management as one of the critical priorities.

To address this programmatic priority, WWF developed a Freshwater Program that focuses on the Zambezi River Basin. The program is regional in scope and focuses in two thematic areas: Integrated Flow Management and Water Stewardship