Southern Africa: Evolving Regional Water Law and Politics

  • Pieter van der Zaag

This chapter considers the governance of transboundary water resources in southern Africa. The emerging regional water law as well as trends in water sector reforms are described, illustrating the interplay of persisting customary practices, the inherited colonial law, and post-colonial legal reforms. The establishment of the Southern African Development Community is a landmark development that created an enabling environment for transboundary water cooperation to flourish. The development of regional water law in the Community's Protocol on Shared Watercourses is described in some detail. Experiments with basin-wide and catchment-specific institutional innovations are assessed, whereby national water sector reforms are linked to the establishment of river basin organizations. The chapter ends with a discussion on key aspects of transboundary river basin management, namely the interplay between institutions and hydraulic infrastructure, stakeholder involvement, environmental flows, interbasin transfers, and the monitoring of agreements.


Conflict cooperationnvironmental flows interbasin transfers river basin organization 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pieter van der Zaag
    • 1
  1. 1.UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water EducationDelft University of TechnologyThe Netherlands

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