SA, Zimbabwe to sign agreement for treated water transfer to Musina

Monday, March 11, 2024

Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, and his Zimbabwean counterpart, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Jongwe Masuka, will on Thursday sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the transfer of treated water to Musina.

The bilateral agreement between the two countries will allow for supply of about 15 million cubic metres per annum (m3/a) which is equal to 41 Ml/d of treated water from Beitbridge Water Treatment Works in the Republic of Zimbabwe to Musina in South Africa. 

The Musina Local Municipality has a total population of 132 009 people residing in 192 villages and one town, which is Musina. The area is dry with limited sources of water and largely relies on groundwater for supply.

“South Africa and Zimbabwe signed a bilateral agreement on Co-operation on Water Resources Management and the Establishment and Functioning of the Joint Water Commission (JWC) in 2015,” the department said in a statement.

Limpopo Watercourse Commission agreement amendment

On the day of the signing of the agreement, Mchunu with his counterparts from Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Mozambique - who are all members of the Limpopo Watercourse Commission (LIMCOM) - will also sign the amended LIMCOM Agreement in the transboundary agreement.

LIMCOM is a transboundary organisation established by four member countries to use management of the shared water resources in an equitable manner.

The department said the agreement will enable the Ministers to adopt policies, decisions and provide guidance on the promotion and coordination of the management, development, and equitable utilisation of the shared water resources. 

“During the Commission Sitting, the four countries will sign a commitment to implement the Integrated Transboundary River Basin Management for the Sustainable Development of the Limpopo River Basin.

“The agreement will strengthen South Africa’s relations with the three riparian states which share the basin and use water from the river to support various socio-economic activities, including agriculture, tourism, energy generation, as well as for domestic use,” the department said.

National Water Month

Meanwhile, Mchunu and his Deputies, David Mahlobo and Judith Tshabalala, together with Vhembe District Municipality Mayor, Freda Nkondo, will on Friday engage with the community of Musina at Musina Showgrounds, to provide feedback and progress made to address water supply challenges in the area. 

The two-day activities form part of the annual National Water Month host by the Department of Water and Sanitation in March.

The National Water Month is South Africa's expansion of World Water Day, which is observed on 22 March and focuses attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

This year’s World Water Day will be observed under the theme ‘Water for Peace’, which focuses on the critical role water plays in the stability and prosperity of the world. –