The increasing awareness of the real value of water across the globe was exemplified by the founding of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) to develop the Nile River Basin to benefit all 10 key riparian countries. “It was essential that the project focused on mutual benefits. In conjunction with stakeholders from the 10 countries, we identified and recommended ‘win-win’ situations, which involved trade-offs between countries and relevant sectors,” says Dr Verno Jonker, Design Director – Water Resources Management at Zutari.
The goal of the NBI was to ensure the resources of the Nile River Basin were developed and shared in a manner that the substantial socio-economic benefits promoted regional peace and security. A Nile Basin Decision Support System (NB-DSS) was established to support water resources planning and investment decisions in the Nile Basin. The NB-DSS assisted in the evaluation of alternative development paths and the identification of joint investment projects at sub-regional and regional level.
Zutari has extensive experience related to operational management, integrated water resource management and environmental flow assessments in shared river systems in Africa, including Limpopo, the Incomati-Maputo, Orange-Senqu, Okavango and Zambezi River basins. In 2011, the NBI awarded a USD850 000 contract to Zutari, in association with four other consultancies, for the pilot application of the NB-DSS. This entailed intricate involvement with all aspects of the project, including hydrological and system analyses, sophisticated scenario analysis, project management and capacity building.
The NB-DSS was used to develop and evaluate strategic decision-making for the basin, especially decisions with cross-border or basin-level implications, and included:
- A Nile Basin knowledge repository
- A communication and information management system
- A regional river basin planning model
- A suite of analytic tools
- The development of core national capabilities for the Nile riparian countries: Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda
The NB-DSS added immense value in helping to evaluate alternative development paths and identify potential joint investment projects. “It was exciting to have supported not only the NBI, but also the key decision-makers in all of the riparian countries. We were proud to have successfully managed a very tight deadline and exceeded the client’s expectations,” concludes Jonker.
“It was essential that the project focused on mutual benefits. In conjunction with stakeholders from the 10 countries, we identified and recommended ‘win-win’ situations, which involved trade-offs between countries and relevant sectors”
*The Aurecon Africa business has been officially renamed Zutari as at 21 July 2020. Zutari acquired Aurecon Middle East on 20 November 2020.