Keywords: conservation, dams, demand-side management, southern Africa, water supply
Water conservation and demand management potential in southern Africa: an untapped river
With a population of 190 million, half of whom do not have access to adequate water services, and a climate prone to droughts and floods, the southern Africa region faces an enormous challenge in how to allocate, use and protect its limited water resources. Like many regions around the world, little effort has been given in the past to utilising water in an efficient manner, despite the critical role it plays in society. While many countries in southern Africa have initiated efforts aimed at creating enabling policies and legislation, very few urban or agricultural water conservation and demand-side management strategies have been implemented. This paper shows that existing water supplies could meet much of the unmet urban and agricultural water demand if water managers in the region widely implement effective water conservation and demand management measures.