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Water Use and Allocation

Surface water is, by far, the largest source of water for major development schemes in the Limpopo River basin (LBPTC 2010). The demand for water throughout the Limpopo River basin is high and unevenly spread (Ashton et al. 2001a). In particular, water demands by the agricultural (irrigation) sector accounts for over 50 % of the total water demand, followed by urban water supply at 30 % (LBPTC 2010). The remaining water demand in the rural, mining, and power sectors are equally spread at approximately 4 to 6 % each.

The total estimated water use by the riparian countries is 4 % by Botswana, 6 % by Mozambique, 60 % by South Africa, and 30 % by Zimbabwe (LBPTC 2010). The table below presents the sectoral use of water in the four riparian countries in the Limpopo River basin.

Present water use by sector in the Limpopo River basin for each riparian countries (Mm3/year).

Country

Urban Rural Irrigation Mining Power Other Total
Botswana 60 12 20 9 * 0 101
Mozambique 4 9 270 0 0 0 283
South Africa 665 140 1 485 230 215 295 3 030
Zimbabwe 690 6 640 * * 0 1 366
Total 1 419 167 2 415 239 215 295 4 750

Source: LBPTC 2010

* Included as part of urban.

Water reservoir in the Limpopo River basin.
Source: ARA-Sul 2008
( click to enlarge )

A study undertaken by DWAF South Africa examining the percentage increase in water demand by sector for shared river basins in South Africa, indicated that between the year 2000 and 2025 there will be an increase in demand in all sectors in the Limpopo River basin, as presented in the following table.

Sectoral Water Needs in the Limpopo River basin (106m3/year).

Urban
Rural
Irrigation
Mining & Industry
Power Generation
Forestry
Total
2000
625,6 118,9 1377,8 214,6 204,2 43,9 2585,0
2025
1514.4 151,1 1499,9 279,6 256,9 45,3 3774,2
Percentage Increase (%)
146,4 27,1 8,9 30,3 25,8 3,2 46,0

Source: Found in Ashton et al. 2008

Silalabuhwa Dam, Zimbabwe.
Source: Schaefer 2010
( click to enlarge )
Lower Ncema Dam, Zimbabwe.
Source: Schaefer 2010
( click to enlarge )