Water security for productive economies: Applying an assessment framework in southern Africa

Bunyod Holmatov*, Jonathan Lautze, Herath Manthrithilake, Ian Makin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
159 Downloads (Pure)


Achieving water security has emerged as a major objective in Africa, yet an analytical or diagnostic framework for assessing water security in African countries is not known to exist. This paper applies one key dimension of the 2016 Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Asian Water Development Outlook (AWDO) to assess levels of water security for productive economies in countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Economic aspects of water security cover four areas: economic activities in the broad sense, agriculture, electricity, and industry. Water security in each area is measured through application of a set of indicators; results of indicator application are then aggregated to determine economic water security at a country-level. Results show that economic water security in SADC is greatest in the Seychelles and South Africa, and lowest in Madagascar and Malawi. Opportunities for strengthening economic water security in the majority of SADC countries exist through improving agricultural water productivity, strengthening resilience, and expanding sustainable electricity generation. More profoundly, this paper suggests that there is clear potential and utility in applying approaches used elsewhere to assess economic water security in southern Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-269
Number of pages12
JournalPhysics and Chemistry of the Earth
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa
  • SADC
  • Security
  • Water


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