Lake in savannah landscape
The Shire River provides water for, for example, hydropower, agriculture, fisheries, transport, tourism, urban water supply and rural water users.

Shire River Basin Institutional Planning and DSS Support

Plan for the water use of Shire River in Malawi

The basin development project assists the Government of Malawi in developing an integrated multi-sectoral Shire River Basin Plan based on extensive analytical and stakeholder inputs.

The final outcome is an integrated basin plan, including thematic and sub-basin sub-plans, that outline critical land and water resources development and management elements found in the basin. This will enable knowledge-driven analyses to shape the future of the basin and met the expectations of key stakeholders.

The Lake Malawi–Shire River hydrological system represents Malawi’s single most important natural resource system. High population density and poverty have led to significant human pressure on the environment and degradation of the Shire Basin’s natural resource base, notable land and forests.

Software applications make planning easier

Initial work has included close cooperation with a Multi-Sector Technical Team, established within the Department of Water Resources of the Ministry of Water Development and Irrigation, subsequently turning into a support to the Shire River Basin Institution which have been established and strengthened as part of the project.

The project has established a comprehensive knowledge base of the climate, hydrology, natural resources, and existing and proposed investment options in the Basin. This is required in order to promote and develop hydropower, agriculture (both irrigated and rainfed), urban water supply services, and watershed management, including an identification and assessment of environmental services.

The technical assistance has included the development of a decision support systems framework that outlines the current status and future vision, and establish an analytical framework that examines various scenarios (e.g. infrastructure, climate, population growth, land use changes) and parameters for analysis (environmental, social, and economic considerations), and decision support. 

The knowledge products and analytical tools developed include, for example, State of the Basin Report, a software application Shire Basin Planning Tool, a software tool Water Quality Database and GIS-based products.

The objectives of this consultancy were to:

  1. Assist the Government of Malawi in developing an integrated multi-sectoral Shire River Basin Plan based on extensive analytical and stakeholder inputs;
  2. Support establishment and strengthening of an institution to be the lead agency for the planning and management of the Shire River Basin; and
  3. Establish a comprehensive knowledge base of the climate, hydrology, natural resources, and existing and proposed investment options in the Basin, including for water storage, hydropower, irrigation, rainfed agriculture and watershed management, water supply, and environmental services.