A Case Study from the Cubango-Okavango River Basin of Southern Africa
This study is conducted in the Okavango River Basin (ORB) where the river system investigated is the Cubango and Cuito Rivers. The current land uses in the basin are mainly induced by an increase in water demand due to economic development, e.g., agricultural and charcoal production tend to be intensified; this would transform large areas in the pristine landscape of Miombo forest. As a consequence, it may affect water availability to the Okavango Delta. We aim to resolve potential water conflict between the upper catchment communities and the Okavango Delta. A spatial water flow model is thus developed at a river level. There are four objectives in the modelling. (1) To assess relationships between water consumption and land use in the mode of a sub-basin, yet from a spatial perspective along upstream downstream. (2) To estimate water availability under current land stewardship in any sub-basin without any intervention of water policy. (3) To simulate water consumption of such land use system with shadow pricing of water; meanwhile assessing leftover water as eco-system-services (ESS) provided by the upper catchment comunities. (4) To compensate farmers in the upper catch- ments based on the mechanism of payments for ecosystem services (PES), so the ESS will be reserved for the delta. Our study suggests that integrated basin management should consider payments for ecosystem services to incentivize forest conservation. Monetary payments tend to compensate land users upstream and motivate them to adopt alternative land uses. From an economic point of view, the pristine Miombo ecosystems can be better preserved. A suggested basin payments scheme can provide the Okavango Delta a possible means to control its future provision of ESS. Owing to the forest conservation in the ORB, the water secured by the forest during the rainy season would subsequently benefit the delta in the dry season.
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Farming and Rural Systems Economics, Vol. 169ISBN 978-3-8236-1774-72020; VII+200pp., 20 colour pages; 21 x 14,8 cm; paper
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