South Africa, eSwatini conclude Komati River Basin Treaty public consultations

10th March 2023

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The governments of South Africa and the Kingdom of eSwatini have concluded public consultations to obtain inputs from sector stakeholders in both countries to review a Treaty on the Development and Utilisation of Water Resources of the Komati River Basin.

The treaty is being reviewed through the Joint Water Commission between South Africa and eSwatini to broaden the scope of work of the Komati Basin Water Authority (KOBWA) and enable it to complement and enhance efforts towards the provision of water-management-related services by the two countries.

KOBWA, an international organisation formed to manage operations and maintenance of the Driekoppies and Maguga dams in South Africa and eSwatini respectively, has been responsible for designing, constructing, operating and maintaining the two dams and associated infrastructure, which were constructed mainly to provide assurance of water supply for irrigation purposes in both member States.

The public consultations with stakeholders, including small-scale farmers, irrigation boards and catchment agencies, besides others, across the two countries, took place on March 2 in Malelane, in Mpumalanga, South Africa, and on March 9 at Piggs’ Peak Hotel, in eSwatini.

Inputs can still be sent through until March 31.

During the public consultations, Department of Water and Sanitation chief director responsible for international water and sanitation corporation Duduzile Mthembu called for concerted collaborations to foster transboundary relations.

“The Komati River Basin Treaty was signed in 1992 with a focus on design, construction, operation and maintenance of the Maguga and Driekoppies dams,” Mthembu comments, noting that, through the treaty, the construction of the two dams were successfully completed.

“We now have to consider other avenues to look into broadening the scope of the Treaty and thus ensure water security in both countries.”

Climate change often results in drought and severe flooding and requires innovative thinking and adaptation measures to bolster the water sector, adds KOBWA CEO Trevor Shongwe.

“We have seen how floods have wrecked people’s livelihoods and the damage caused to the environment. The review of this Treaty should enable all of us to proactively curb or prevent the dire effects of climate change.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter





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