River basins in southern Africa, like river basins around the world, are under threat from increasing water use and shifting rainfall patterns, which are exaggerating flood and drought cycles and degrading water quality. It is hard enough for one country to adapt to these changing conditions, but most of the world’s water basins — 263 lake and river basins, covering almost half of the earth’s nonocean surface — cross national boundaries. To ensure that collaboration rather than competition wins out in basin management, neighboring countries need to work together. In the case of southern Africa’s Limpopo River Basin, home to 18 million people, this collaboration requires the participation of Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
Resilience in the Limpopo Basin Program (RESILIM) is a seven-year USAID program (2012–2020) that is taking on this challenge.