Zambezi

Zambezi Dynamic Information Framework (ZambeziDIF).

 

The Zambezi is a transboundary river, passing through 8 countries. Starting from its origin from the northern areas of Zambia, flows to the west into Angola and shortly afterward bends southwards entering the Western Province in Zambia. Here the river  has vast and shallow floodplains, with very low gradients and high evaporation. This area is generally dry during the dry season and floods extensively during the wet season. In this floodplain area, a number of tributaries such as the Kabompo, Luena and Luanginga join the Zambezi. The river converges at the gauging station of Lukulu. Downstream of Lukulu, the river flows into the Barotse plain: a shallow wide floodplain area consisting of several tens of meters deep Kalahari sands, an enormous phreatic groundwater reservoir. More downstream, the river bends to the west and passes Victoria Falls where the river drops into a narrow gorge. The Okavango and Cuando rivers enter the Zambezi east of Victoria Falls through the Caprivi Strip. Downstream from Victoria Falls, 2 major man-made reservoirs are located: Kariba (completed in 1955), shared by Zambia and Zimbabwe, and Cahora Bassa (completed in 1974) in Mozambique. Below Cahoa Bassa, the river continues to the sea, forming a rich delta.

In 2006, the Government of Mozambique requested World Bank support to address the development constraints and to improve small holder productivity in the lower Zambezi basin by adopting a community demand-driven approach, through the Zambezi Valley Market Led Smallholder Development Project. Part of this work was to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry for the Coordination of Environment Affairs (MICOA) to implement the Global Environment Facility (GEF)-financed component to collect quantitative baseline data that would facilitate an objective evaluation of the status of land cover, land use change, and water dynamics over the last 10 years. The project is intended to  directly address  negative environmental impacts associated with current practices, and to strengthen local and national capacity to integrate climate change risk into sustainable land management planning via the testing and calibration of dynamic vegetation, soil, hydrology model for improved predictive capacity of local climate change impact scenarios.

A significant challenge in working in resource-sparse, but important regions, is that the data necessary to establish the necessary baselines and to develop integrating models are very sparse, to say the least. But the ability to take advantage of emerging global datasets, from satellites and modeling, makes it possible to bring global knowledge to specific regions. Accordingly, we began the development of the Zambezi Dynamic Information Framework (ZambeziDIF). This was our first formal effort at taking our overall integration approach, and applying it in the international development and sustainability/adaptation sector. While continuation of this project is waiting on resolution of issues, the DIF construct has lead to related projects.