Southern African News Features                                           
Reporting Water in Southern Africa --
A Media Guide to Managing Our Water Resources

Media Release on the Launch of a new reference book for journalists
from SARDC, 7 Sept 2009

Water is no longer an "infrastructure" issue or a sector for scientists and engineers, but is now recognized as a life issue, a "public good" in which the media has a prominent role to play in the promotion of sustainability and good management.

The intention of this book is to facilitate a greater role for the media, not only as a means to communicate water issues effectively, but also to ensure

  • that the public has access to knowledge for debate and engagement;
  • that the policy makers have the facts and figures to guide their decisions and shape the future for the youth and children; and
  • that the science behind water is demystified.

It is against this background that SARDCís I. Musokotwane Environment Resource Centre for Southern Africa (IMERCSA), has produced this book on Reporting Water in Southern Africa: A Media Guide to Managing Our Water Resources.

The guide was prepared by 25 media professionals and water experts drawn from partner organizations and media institutions across southern Africa. A research and writing team at SARDC IMERCSA who compiled the manuscript were guided by opinion from the content review processes.

The guide does not intend to make scientists out of journalists or the public, but

  • to offer a quick reference to the main issues and policies as applied in southern Africa,
  • to suggest ways to cut through the jargon, and
  • to provide further references for reading and contacts for interviews.

The publication is designed for quick access by journalists seeking reliable, accurate and relevant information, and is divided into four parts.

The first part gives an overview of the state of water in the SADC region, containing facts and figures for quick reference, as well as an analysis of the key water issues affecting the region, while the second part defines the concept of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and other forms of water management, including traditional strategies.

Part III focuses on the practical aspects and angles of reporting water resources, including ecological and economic values, as well as gender dimensions. Part IV demonstrates the commitment of the SADC region to water resources management by analyzing various laws and strategies. The guide carries full text appendixes of key reference materials as well as institutional contacts at national and regional levels.

The media guide will be published in the three official languages of SADC - English, French and Portuguese - and is launched today in English. Launches for the other two languages are set for Mozambique and the DRC in late November 2009.

Launched at the Highway Africa Media Conference on 7 September 2009 in Grahamstown, South Africa, the publication is a direct response to the expressed need of communicators in southern Africa who seek to strengthen their knowledge on reporting about water issues.

The guide is the fourth in a series that includes Reporting the Environment in Southern Africa, Reporting Gender in Southern Africa, and Reporting Elections in Southern Africa.

The guide was produced by SARDC IMERCSA in partnership with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the SADC-DANIDA Regional Water Programme Project Support Facility.

IMERCSA is named after a prominent Zambian environmentalist, the late India Musokotwane, who was the Regional Director of IUCN-The World Conservation Union and the inspiration for a regional partnership called Communicating the Environment Programme (CEP). CEP is a partnership of SADC with SARDC, IUCN and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). This partnership also produces the Southern Africa Environment Outlook, to be released in a new edition in October 2009.

These publications and other information materials on water resources are available online in searchable format through the Virtual Library for Southern Africa at Knowledge for Development.

Water is life, Every drop counts,

The media has a central role in the management of water resources.

Southern African News Features offers a reliable source of regional information and analysis on the Southern African Development Community, and is provided as a service to the SADC region.

This article may be reproduced with credit to the author and publisher.

SANF is produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), which has monitored regional developments since 1985

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