What river basin do you live in? That might be an easy question if you are near a major river like the Congo or Zambezi, but many people don’t know the answer, including in Southern Africa. The whole geography of the region’s 14 major river basins is mostly only familiar to hydrologists and other water and climate experts.
It should be common knowledge, however, because river basins are fundamental to life and climate futures in the region. The water in a basin is a single resource that connects all its users – farmers, households, factories – with ecosystems and natural balances across large areas. These areas are so large, in fact, that all of Southern Africa’s basins extend across national borders, making it essential for countries to cooperate in managing water as demand rises and the climate changes.
This was the motivation behind the interactive CRIDF River Basin Map, or CRIBMap. Finding no single, comprehensive source of information on the major river basins of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the experts at CRIDF worked to bring together the most up-to-date information in one visual package that makes this knowledge more accessible and showcases this seldom-seen view of the region.
The CRIBMap contains the vital statistics on each river basin, from the 4 million square kilometre Congo Basin to the comparatively tiny Umbeluzi Basin, which, despite its size of only 5,400 square kilometres, extends into eSwatini, Mozambique and South Africa (and sustains the city of Maputo). The map further details the natural environment of each basin, its socio-economic factors, the agriculture supported by its water resources, and the major threats to those resources. And it summarises recent and ongoing CRIDF-supported projects that address those needs and threats.
Jump into the CRIBMap to learn more about basins near and far, and gain a new perspective on Southern Africa.