Zimbabwe and Mozambique have signed the Buzi Transboundary River Basin Bilateral Agreement as part of implementing the Buzi, Pungwe and Save (BUPUSA) tri-basin project on sustainable utilisation of water along river basins shared by the two countries.

The two countries share at least five river basins namely: Limpopo, Zambezi, Buzi, Pungwe and Save, stretching more than 1000km with the strategic nature of the water courses giving birth to the BUPUSA tri-basin project aimed at promoting sustainable utilisation of water under a water sharing agreement and responsibility.

The signing of the Buzi River Bilateral Agreement that will be effective for 10 years follows the signing of the Pungwe River Basin Agreement while the signing of the Save Agreement will set the ball rolling for the implementation of the tri-basin project placing the management of the three under one organisation as part of the broader object of working towards a water secure world.

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Retired Air Chief Marshal, Perrance Shiri said the signing of Buzi Transboundary River Basin Agreement in Mutare this Monday is a positive development towards the management of three shared river basins, stating that it is critical to finalise save basin bilateral agreement this year.

“This event marks the climax in the implementation of the Buzi, Pungwe and Save (BUPUSA) tri-basin project, a joint cooperative effort by the government of Zimbabwe and Mozambique which started in October last year with the objective to strengthen cooperation and promote institution building on water management issues” said Minister Shiri.

The sentiments were shared by Mozambique’s Minister Public Works, Housing and Water Resources, Mr Joao Asvaldo Moises Machatine who expressed his government’s commitment to the newly entered into agreement stating that there is huge potential for irrigation, power generation and other sustainable projects along the Buzi basin, making the agreement not only historic, but life changing.

Buzi river has great potential and will be managed in a way that agriculture will not be affected all year round. With disasters and droughts upon us we need to be more pro- active in improving our preparedness and deepen our cooperation,” he said.

Manicaland Minister of State, Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba said the signing of the Buzi agreement is testimony to the close ties between Zimbabwe and Mozambique and their shared vision to promote sustainability, while SADC representative, Dr Patrice Kabeya underscored the importance of the agreement in poverty reduction and responding to disasters.

“The signing of today’s agreement is testimony to the continued close ties between Zimbabwe and Mozambique,” said Dr Gwaradzimba.

“The agreement marks a major milestone in promoting sustainable utilization of water by the two countries,” said Dr Kabeya.

In managing shared river basins, Zimbabwe and Mozambique are guided by the revised Protocol on Shared Watercourses in the SADC Region, signed in 2000 with the objective of fostering closer cooperation for judicious, sustainable and coordinated management, protection and utilisation of shared watercourses, and to advance the SADC agenda on regional integration and power alleviation as water plays a critical role in the successful implementation of the 2030 development agenda.