The potential of the Transboundary Ramotswa Aquifer

Water is essential to economic development, resilience of ecosystems, biodiversity conservation, and population health and welfare in the Limpopo River Basin. Managing water resources to balance the demands of these needs is challenging, especially as populations grow and climate becomes more variable. The trade-offs of demands on water resources are further complicated where multiple countries regulate, compete for and depend on the same shared water resources – as is the case for the Limpopo River Basin.

Linked to the surface water resources of the Limpopo River, major shared groundwater reserves exist in the region that could support sustainable development, drought and flood resilience, urban expansion as well as small-scale agriculture if properly and conjunctively developed, shared, recharged, and managed as part of ongoing joint collaboration between states. The project focuses on one of the most important shared aquifers in the Limpopo Basin, the Ramotswa Aquifer. The project proposes to develop a scientifically informed, integrated and participatory strategy on how to resolve demographic, institutional, and climate-related water issues of the region, with the focus on what the internationally shared Ramotswa aquifer can provide in terms of sustainable, equitable and socially acceptable solutions. Understanding this groundwater resource could play a significant role in addressing multiple-level water insecurity.