Sustainable water management

Project description

Title: Sustainable Water Resources Management and Agricultural Water Use in Zambia
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: European Union (EU)
Country: Zambia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection (MWDSEP), Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)
Overall term: 2019 to 2022



Zambia is rich in water resources and in some areas water is available throughout the year. This allows water to be used for agriculture, drinking, energy generation and industry. However, a growing population and economy are increasing the demand for water. Availability is also becoming increasingly uncertain in connection with climate change and weather events.

The Kafue River Basin (the Kafue is one of the largest rivers in Zambia), in particular, is vital for the country’s development, as the majority of the population lives here. The river is used to produce energy. At the same time, the region is severely affected by climate change and the associated droughts and extreme weather events, which endanger the livelihoods of small-scale farmers.


Climate-sensitive water management, including efficient use by small-scale farmers, is improved in the lower Kafue Basin.



The Accelerate Water and Agricultural Resources Efficiency (AWARE) programme supports the environmentally friendly use of water. The programme promotes effective, integrated water resources management as well as efficient practices in water extraction and irrigation. AWARE is pursuing this aim in cooperation with the Zambian Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection (MWDSEP), the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the national Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA).

The programme is supporting Zambia in enhancing capacities for integrated water resources management. This is being done by developing a national water resources strategy and improving authorisation procedures by means of a digital water permits system in cooperation with WARMA.

At regional level, AWARE develops the capacities of WARMA in the area of integrated water resources management in the lower Kafue Basin. In addition to analysing supply and demand that results in basin and water distribution planning, this also includes basin protection measures such as forest restoration. The programme also supports the formation of water user groups. These groups monitor water extraction, handle local distribution conflicts and prepare and implement measures for water protection.


Locally, AWARE works together with the consulting company NIRAS to support small-scale farmers with using new technologies for efficient water use. This is implemented through training measures for 11,000 small-scale farmers at 32 demonstration plants. The technological options include harvesting rainwater from roofs and storing it, drip irrigation systems and the use of communal dams and boreholes. The effort also includes the development of a financing approach that will ensure access to funding. This will help the farmers apply the technological options they have learned about. AWARE also supports the capacities of public and private advisory services providers to enable them to act as multipliers for efficient water use, water extraction and irrigation techniques.

AWARE is financed by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Additional information