The RAMOTSWA Project leaves behind a lasting legacy

A two-and-a-half-day workshop to mark the official end of the RAMOTSWA Transboundary Aquifer Project took place at the Avani Hotel in Gaborone, Botswana from April 9 to 11 2019. Delegates drawn from the two governments of Botswana and South Africa, regional organisations Southern Africa Development Community Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI) and the Limpopo Watercourse Commission (LIMCOM), project partner International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC), supporting agency; United States Agency for International Aid (USAID) and representatives from emerging programs or projects in the SADC region (Resilient Waters, Big Data and Transboundary Water Collaboration for Southern Africa, and Conjunctive surface-groundwater management of SADC’s shared waters: Generating principles through fit-for-purpose practise) all came together for this closing workshop.

Mr. Sergio Sitoe (LIMCOM) and Dr. Jonathan Lautze (IWMI) presenting a plaque as a souvenir of the Ramotswa Project to Mr. Sakhile Mndaweni (DWS-South Africa) (L) and Mr. Keodumetse Keetile (DWS-Botswana) (R). (Photo credit: Karen Villholth, IWMI)

Implemented in two phases, led by IWMI, and conducted over a period of four years (2015-2019), the RAMOTSWA Project’s overall objective was to support a long-term joint vision and cooperation on the shared groundwater resources of the Upper Limpopo region, including and in particular the Ramotswa Transboundary Aquifer shared between Botswana and South Africa. The project was the first to look into transboundary aquifers in the Limpopo River Basin, and also the second transboundary aquifer to focus on the wider SADC Region. The project’s major outputs include the transboundary diagnostic of the aquifer, an airborne electromagnetic survey of the aquifer, agricultural water management solutions for smallholder farmers, the online Ramotswa Information Management System (RIMS), a hydrogeological model of the aquifer, an assessment of the potential for managed aquifer recharge (MAR), and a thorough investigation of the nitrate pollution problems of the aquifer affecting the water supply of 40,000 people, including its links to climate change and possible solutions.

Workshop delegates (Photo credit: Manuel Magombeyi, IWMI)

Key messages emanating from the workshop were the need to carry forward the Ramotswa Joint Strategic Action Plan through the Joint Permanent Technical Committee (JPTC) between the two countries and with support of LIMCOM, and the need to nest future transboundary groundwater activities on the Ramotswa and other shared aquifers in the framework of river basin organisations (RBOs) wherever feasible, in this case LIMCOM. Although the RAMOTSWA Project has officially ended, the path has been paved for other projects to carry the work forward. The workshop ended with the presentation of souvenirs to the two countries, engraved with the words. ‘Our shared Ramotswa Heritage for Future Prosperity’.

For presentations and pictures from this workshop, please click here.

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