Freshwater | WWF Zambia

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Our impact under Freshwater

© Blackbean Production/WWF

What is the issue?

Freshwater habitats such as lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands and aquifers house an incredible proportion of the world’s biodiversity: more than 10% of all known animals and about 50% of all known fish species. Yet despite the massive role water plays for people and nature, it is a surprisingly finite resource. Less than 1% of the world's water is fresh and accessible.
 
It’s also threatened. Climate change, population growth and changing consumption patterns are just a few of the myriad forces putting freshwater systems increasingly at risk. Freshwater species are declining at an alarming rate of 76% much faster than terrestrial or marine species and freshwater habitats are in worse condition than those of forests, grassland or coastal systems.

What are we doing?

WWF partners with governments, businesses,  financial institutions and communities to ensure healthy freshwater systems exist to provide a sustainable future for all. Together, we can create a water-secure future. 

 

How do we do this?


Working with partners, we;

Advocate for river flows in the Lower Kafue and Luangwa catchments needed to secure freshwater ecosystem functioning and provide international public goods are secured in water allocation plans and restored in regulated river reaches.

Ensure that endangered species like the Kafue Lechwe in the Kafue Flats are protected.

Advocate that key international public goods and ecosystem functions are secured with the application of environmental and social safeguards.

Engage financial institutions to integrate water/environmental risks cost in lending practices to large scale agriculture, energy and mining businesses.

Work with the private sector to ensure that agricultural production potential in the Lower Kafue is not limited further by alterations in the system health.

What are the big wins?

  1. In 2017, WWF and partners petitioned government to declare the Luangwa River as a Water Resource Protection Area and protect it from threats such as a proposed dam, unsustainable agriculture and deforestation. Close to 200,000 people worldwide signed the petition. So far, plans to construct the dam have been halted and WWF has started the formal process of securing its protection.
  2. WWF has been conducting ongoing research with partners such as the Water Resources Management Authority and ABInBev on the water situational analysis of the Lower Kafue River Basin. Results of this research has strengthened the partnership of the Kafue Flats Joint Action Group, who are private sector organisations all benefiting from the Kafue Flats, working together with WWF to ensure the water is managed sustainably.
  3. WWF is officially recognized as backstopping partner on environmental flows by the national water regulator and private sector.
  4. WWF has worked with partners to develop a Hydroatlas showcasing Water Resource Protection Areas in Zambia.
  5. We worked with civil society organisations to prevent the construction of Lusemfwa dam which would have had detrimental impacts downstream on farmers, Game Management Areas and the currently existing hydropower generating dam, on the river.
  6. Through working with the department of National Parks and Wildlife, and the International Crane Foundation, we have cleared over 1000 hectares of the invasive Mimosa Pigra, thereby restoring the habitat of the endemic Kafue Lechwe.