The Orange Case Study

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Case Study Leaders

Caroline Sullivan, Oxford University Centre for the Environment (OUCE); email: caroline.sullivan[AT]
Chris Dickens, Institute of Natural Resources (INR); email: DickensC[AT]

If you are looking for more information on the case study in the Orange Basin, you are very welcome to contact the case study leaders.

The Orange River Basin

The Orange River flows through four countries - South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and Botswana. There is a pressing need for the river to be managed equitably as a whole system. This project will contribute to a better understanding of how transboundary basins can be more effectively managed.

More Information about the Orange basin and NeWater research conducted therein:

Main challenges to water management in the Orange River Basin

Themes for the Orange Case Study

Theme 1: Enhancing Orange basin management by building preparedness for possible future basin scenarios

NeWater is investigating issues of IWRM and the ability to practice adaptive management when faced with an uncertain future. The Theme aims to pull the global and wide ranging aspects of NeWater into a cohesive unit that will be of immediate value to stakeholders in the basin. In order to do this it brings together those partners in the project who are working at a global or basin-wide level, together with the needs of local stakeholders, to produce a product that will be of use in the Orange. The products envisaged from Theme 1 are:


The following NeWater Workpackages will be involved in this Theme:


Theme 2: Developing a motivation and framework for incentive-based wetland management in the Orange basin

Two of the key issues faced by the people living in the Orange Basin are the degradation of the water resource in general together with extremes of poverty in some areas. The Theme focused on some aspects of these two issues in the hope that NeWater could have a substantial impact on the lives of the people in the Basin.


The theme of work that has been chosen for a more “hands on” approach, after extensive stakeholder consultation in the basin, was the wetland resource in the Lesotho Highlands linked together with the people who are directly associated with those wetlands. These people are reliant for their very livelihoods on the condition of the wetlands, from which they obtain many benefits.


This Theme worked to develop an incentive-based framework for water managers in the Basin to manage the wetlands in the Lesotho Highlands, not only for the benefit of the people and the local environment, but also for the benefit of the entire downstream basin. It was anticipated that the product from Theme 2 could be used not only in the Lesotho Highlands but also in the other countries that form the Orange Basin.


In order to do this, NeWater was teaming up with the best minds and wetland management practitioners in Southern Africa. This includes people from the Working for Wetlands Project, the Mondi Wetlands Project (and WWF) as well as various wetland experts. Included were academics from Lesotho as well as the Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Project. NeWater experts from a variety of disciplines also contributed skills ranging from vulnerability assessments, to poverty to economics to wetland ecosystems.


The following NeWater Workpackages were involved in this Theme: