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Europe, South Africa look to water conservation

Water resources are coming under increasing pressure as the world's population grows and its climate becomes more unpredictable. Now more than ever, we need to make sure every last drop counts.
Europe, South Africa look to water conservation
The effects of a lack of safe drinking water have been felt on the African continent like nowhere else on Earth. Avoiding human suffering at such scales in the future will require more rational use of this limited natural resource.

In recent years, considerable progress has been made on the integrated water resources management (IWRM) front. With the aid of EU funding, IWRM experts from the EU combined forces with their counterparts in South Africa to improve the outlook for both water resources and their users in the region.

The project, titled 'Towards effective involvement of local government in (…) IWRM in river basins of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region' (LOGO WATER), sought to educate and empower local government in the SADC. The first step involved collecting and disseminating information about best IWRM practices to government representatives.

By meeting and speaking directly with people from local agencies, the LOGO WATER team obtained a better understanding of the obstacles to proper water resource management. For example, the regulatory framework is not ideal. It is also necessary to decide whether management will be implemented by region or by river basins, which often span several regions. Financial aspects must also be taken into account when responsibilities are transferred from the state to regional authorities.

Based on the findings, the LOGO WATER team developed IWRM strategies targeted to the SADC. The hope is that the local governments will be able to transform these strategies into concrete action plans in the near future. The strategies and other reports can be found on the project website.

Finally, collaborations such as LOGO WATER are also contributing toward achieving the Millennium Goals related to water.

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