The RAMOTSWA Project focuses on one of the most important shared aquifers in the Limpopo Basin – the Ramotswa Aquifer. Funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the project supports equitable access to water that balances urban and rural needs with ecosystem requirements under a changing climate. It reduces climate vulnerability by promoting adaptation strategies for integrated, transboundary water resources management. Through building the capacity of transboundary River Basin Organizations, national authorities and local communities to sustainably manage natural resources, high priority ecosystems and human communities will be more resilient to climate induced pressure.
The overall objective of the project is to support a shared vision and cooperation in sustainably exploiting the shared groundwater resources of the Ramotswa Transboundary Aquifer. The project facilitates joint management and better groundwater governance of the aquifer. Specifically, it aims to:
- Increase awareness of the importance and vulnerability of the transboundary Ramotswa Aquifer.
- Improve understanding of the socioeconomic importance of the aquifer area, and the challenges in water access and security across the population.
- Assess the extent and hydrogeology of the transboundary aquifer resources under present and future climate and population projections.
- Assess the extent and hydrogeology of the transboundary aquifer resources
- Develop human and institutional capacity for shared and harmonized management and monitoring of groundwater resources.
- Develop tools for shared and harmonized management and monitoring of groundwater resources, aligned with the national water resources management processes.
- Establish national and cross-border dialogue and cooperation on the Ramotswa Aquifer, and further encourage international cooperation on transboundary aquifers in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
Key Project Components
a) Hydrogeological modelling works towards understanding of recharge and water withdrawal in the aquifer area in order to enable prediction of future impacts of changes in water use and storage
b) Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) potential examines potential for MAR in the aquifer area, including determination suitable locations, volumes and sources of MAR.
c) Agricultural Water Solutions seeks to strengthen agricultural water productivity in the aquifer area through the use of two technologies – Wetting Front Detector and Chameleon.
d) Ramotswa Information Management Systems (RIMS) seeks to compile, house and display mappable data from the Ramotswa Aquifer. RIMS is a GIS-based online platform that allows data visualisation for easy understanding.
e) Joint Strategic Action Plan (JSAP) is being undertaken to identify and prioritize investments and actions that can be pursued to enhance the benefits derived from the Ramotswa transboundary aquifer.
The project area is located in the Upper Limpopo River basin, close to the greater Gabarone con-urban area. The environment is semi-arid with seasonal and irregular rainfall, from 400 to 600 mm per year.