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The SADC sub-region is facing an emerging water crisis. The crisis is related to the arid and semi-arid climate, high population growth, increasing industrialization and urbanization, an increasing demand for irrigation water for food production and food security, and increasing water pollution. In addition, the water resources are shared and thus require a consultative and integrated institutional approach to their development and management. Floods are also a crucial issue and have been notably devastating in 2000 especially along downstream parts of the major transboundary rivers. The 14  Member Countries of the Southern African Development Community share 15 major river basins whose combined drainage areas cover as much as 70 percent of the land surface of the sub-region and contain over 90 percent of the sub-region's 145 million people. The SADC-HYCOS aims at creating an underpinning and enabling environment for the management and development of these shared water resources.

Angola Mozambique Democratic Republic of Congo Madagascar Mauritius Malawi Lesotho Botswana Zimbabwe Zambia Tanzania Swaziland South Africa Namibia