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Lower Kafue Basin Health Report Card (BHRC)

The Kafue River is the largest tributary of the Zambezi River. It runs from north to south across Zambia for approximately 1,576 km in length. Its basin area of 156,000 km2 produces an annual average flow rate of 350 m3 /s. It is estimated that more than half of Zambia’s population inhabits the Kafue River basin area with about 44% of water used for domestic & industrial purposes in Lusaka sourced from the Kafue River (WWF Z., 2016).

The Lower Kafue River basin is an economic hub that contributes significantly to Zambia’s economy. Along the length of the Lower Kafue River, the Kafue Flats wetland is of both local and international importance, hosting two national parks and high diversity and abundance of flora and fauna, both of which draw tourists from around the world. The Kafue Flats wetland is also designated as a wetland of international importance through the Ramsar Convention. Because of continued economic and population growth, the demand for water resources from the Kafue River has increased over the years.

The construction of Itezhi-Tezhi and Kafue gorge dams and pollution from anthropogenic activities such as agriculture, manufacturing industries, wastewater discharge, sugar production and agricultural practices have significantly altered the hydrological regime, habitat, and water quality of the Lower Kafue River. These pressures combined with climate change threaten water security in the Kafue River basin.

The Basin Health Report Card (BHRC) was jointly developed by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF Zambia), Zambia Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA), World Wildlife Fund (WWF US) and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences, with funding from World Wide Fund for Nature Netherlands (WWF NL). The aims of the report card were to assess the condition of the Lower Kafue River basin through analyzing the performance of social, economic and ecological indicators. This would then will enable tracking of changes caused by anthropogenic activities and climate change impacts on these indicators overtime, gather recommendations on how best to can improve and/or maintain the status of each indicator and use the report card as a framework for WARMA’s Lower Kafue River Basin Management Plan.

Various stakeholders were consulted during the formation of the report card. These include; the University of Zambia (UNZA), Zambia Sugar PLC, Water Resource Management Authority (WARMA), Dairy Association of Zambia, The Nature Conservation (TNC), Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC), World Vision, Kalahari GeoEnergy, Zambia Land Alliance, Zambia National Farmers Union, Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA), Meteorological Department, Southern Water and Sewerage Company (SWASCO), Department of Water Resource Development (DWRD), Kafue Flats Fishers' Association, Community Resources Board Association, Daily Mail News, National Heritage Conservation Council (NHCC), Birdwatch Zambia, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), Ministry of Tourism and Arts, National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO), Ministry of Health, Forestry Department, Central Statistics Office, International Crane Foundation, BirdWatch Zambia, Zambia Electricity Supply Company (ZESCO) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The aforementioned stakeholders were consulted, and engaged in a rigorous process of defining basin values, threats, proposing and validating of indicators, thresholds and findings for the Lower Kafue River Basin.

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Lower Kafue Basin Health Report Card (BHRC)