The majority of people in Limpopo river basin depend on rainfed agriculture. Unfortunately the Limpopo is water scarce, and parts of the basin, such as Zimbabwe’s Mzingwane catchment, are under stress in terms of agro-ecological and socio-politicoeconomic conditions. Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has been adopted in the river basin in an attempt to improve water resources management. However, it is not known whether, or how, IWRM has improved practices in water resources management and contributed towards improved livelihoods.
This study used a bottom-up approach to analyse water management practices and livelihoods in the river basin. The objective of the study was to understand practices in water resources management at the local level, and what drives those practices. Specifically the study analysed: practices in access to water for domestic and productive uses, efforts at sustaining livelihoods and the environment, water management for agriculture, contestations over urban water services, and river basin planning. The study showed the importance of context as a driver of practices in water resources management. The demonstrated influence of local level drivers on water resources management and livelihoods suggest that the challenges in water resources management cannot be solved outside of the wider socio-politico-economic realm.
1. Introduction 2: An overview of water resources management in Zimbabwe 3: Integrated Water Resources Management and livelihoods: do they meet? 4: Dynamics and complexities of practices in local water management in Zimbabwe in the IWRM era 5: Livelihood strategies and environmental management in the Zhulube micro-catchment 6: Sowing seeds of hope: the case of conservation agriculture in the smallholder farming sector 7: Contestations and coalitions in urban water supply: the state, the city and the politics of water in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe 8: Processes in river basin planning: the case of the Limpopo river basin in Zimbabwe 9: Conclusions and Recommendations