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Water security in a Southern African context

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The approaches taken to water security by the countries of the Southern African region reflect their particular contexts. There are two overarching challenges that are common to all these countries. The first is the ongoing requirement to ensure that all citizens have access to safe and reliable water supplies, particularly in rural areas. The second is to ensure greater resilience to climate variability, since drought regularly disrupts subsistence agricultural production, on which a substantial population still depends. While floods have a significant local impact, they are a second-order challenge affecting a relatively small proportion of the regional population. In this context, the principal barriers to achieving water security are economic status and institutional capacity. The variability and relative scarcity of the water resource is, in itself, not the dominant determinant of water security, since there is evidence that the natural resource challenges have been overcome where there are competent institutions, able to access adequate financial resources. There are also opportunities to mitigate some of the impacts of drought at a regional scale, but political barriers make it difficult to implement cooperative approaches for this purpose.




Muller, M. (2018). Water security in a Southern African context. In Water Resources Development and Management (pp. 165–184). Springer.

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