The countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are characterized by sharp variations in size, population, economic development, as well as water availability. The SADC region is, by and large, arid or semi-arid, and as a result faces tremendous challenges in its water sector. The challenges stem from a number of factors, including the high rate of population growth, urbanization and environmental degradation. Those problems are compounded by periodic floods and droughts. Moreover, the region depends, to a considerable extent, on river waters, most of which are shared by two or more states. As such, those shared rivers could be a source of conflict as well as a catalyst for cooperation. This article examines the water resources problems of SADC, with particular emphasis on its shared watercourses, and analyzes the problems therein and the attempts to deal with them.

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