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Geography:

Basins of Southern Africa

   

There are 15 recognised transboundary river basins in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. They range in size from the large Congo River Basin (3 730 470 km²) in the northern part of SADC, to Umbeluzi River Basin (5 500 km²) in the southeast. The Zambezi River Basin (1 390 000 km²) covers eight SADC member states. It is estimated that about 70 % of the water resources in the SADC region are shared by more than one country. Thus one of the characteristic features in the region, is shared watercourse systems, with complex water rights and potential conflicts over utilisation of the shared resources (SADC 2005).

The table below lists the river basins, selected river charateristcs (basin area, river length and mean annual runoff [MAR]) and the riparian states that they include.

Transboundary River Basins in SADC.

River

Basin Area (km²)

RiverLength (km)

MAR
(Mm³)

Riparian States

Buzi

31 000

250

2,5

Zimbabwe, Mozambique

Congo

3 730 470

4 700

1 260 000

Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Central African Republic, Tanzania, Congo,
Cameroon, DR Congo, Zambia

Cuvelai

100 000

430

Ephemeral

Angola, Namibia

Incomati

49 965

480

3,5

South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique

Kunene

106 500

1 050

5,5

Angola, Namibia

Limpopo

408 000

1 750

5,5

Botswana, South Africa,
Zimbabwe, Mozambique

Maputo-Usutu-Pongola

32 000

380

2,5

South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique

Nile

3 254 555

6 700

86

Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda,
Kenya, Uganda, D R Congo,
Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt

Okavango

530 000

1 100

11

Angola, Namibia,
Zimbabwe, Botswana

Orange-Senqu

721 000

2 300

11,5

Lesotho, South Africa,
Bostwana, Namibia

Pungwe

32 500

300

3

Zimbabwe, Mozambique

Ruvuma

155 500

800

15

Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique

Save/Sabi

106 420

740

7

Zimbabwe, Mozambique

Umbeluzi

5 500

200

0,6

Swaziland, Mozambique

Zambezi

1 390 000

2 650

94

Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi,
Tanzania, Mozambique

Adapted SADC 2010

The map below shows the distribution of transboundary river basins in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

The International Basins of Southern Africa.
Source:Hatfield, 2010
( click to enlarge )

 

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