Adapting Water Resource Management In Swaziland To Manage Expected Climate Change


Climate change in Swaziland is expected to lead to overall warming and drying, with a greater frequency and intensity of droughts as well as floods. The negative impacts on the agricultural and water sector are likely to be considerable. Firstly, yields of staple food crops such as maize, sorghum and beans are likely to decrease, thereby threatening national food security. Secondly, surface flows in rivers and streams are likely to have greater variation, with lower base-flows in the dry season, potentially resulting in water shortages for domestic, industrial and agricultural use. And thirdly, groundwater reserves, which are an important source of water for many rural communities, may be reduced as a result of increased rainfall intensity and concomitant increases in surface runoff. These negative impacts of climate change will be exacerbated by baseline conditions of widespread poverty (63% of the population), high unemployment (40%), a high prevalence of HIV (26% of adults), and widespread land degradation as a result of deforestation, alien plant invasions and overstocking of livestock.

The goal of the project is to ensure that the management of Swaziland’s water resources is adapted to take into account the anticipated impacts of climate change. To this end, the principles of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) will be used within the project, and importantly, climate change risks will be incorporated into this management approach. To facilitate this process, national dialogue between a wide-range of stakeholders from different sectors will be promoted. In addition, information generated and lessons learned from pilot-scale adaptation measures funded by the project, will assist policy implementation for effective adaptation planning and climate risk management in the water sector. These adaptation measures will be focused on improving access to water in rural communities using two methods, namely: i) piloting improved land-use practices that increase rates of water infiltration into soils; and ii) introducing rainwater harvesting techniques. Such measures will have the long-term effect of recharging groundwater levels and increasing surface flow in rivers and streams during the dry season as well as providing communities with improved access to water for both irrigation and drinking purposes. Additionally, by piloting such adaptation measures, communities will be better equipped to manage climate risks. Lastly, negotiators for Swaziland will be trained to ensure that climate change risks are an integral part of discussions on trans-boundary river management with neighbouring states

Project Details

The project will implement priority interventions at specific locations within the three international river basins (namely Maputo, Umbulezi and Incomati) in the country. The demonstration sites were identified through an extensive consultative process held at both the national and community levels.

Amongst other benefits, the project will deliver adaptation benefits in relation to water resources management that are sustainable in the face of expected climate change. Adaptation benefits will also arise through the protection of livelihoods from adverse climate change impacts on water resources. Additionally, through its activities, the project will contribute to the preservation and conservation of nationally important ecosystems

The project will also promote rainwater harvesting technologies and techniques through which to improve rainwater infiltration rates in demonstration sites. These on-the-ground activities are likely to provide benefits such as: i) improving access to water for sanitation and drinking purposes; ii) preventing the decline of the water table, iii) reducing pumping costs; and iv) improving agricultural productivity by increasing the availability of water for irrigation purposes (with positive consequences for food security and income streams). The project’s restoration and reforestation activities will increase vegetation cover over the soil, thereby resulting in an improvement in rainfall infiltration and retention as well as a reduction in soil erosion and siltation of dams and reservoirs

The project will work with institutions such as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy, Ministry of Tourism and Environment, the National Water Authority (NWA), Komati Basin Authority, Department of Meteorology (MET), Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprises (SWADE) and Swaziland Environmental Authority (SEA) as well as sectoral ministries who have a stake in water resources management, to develop and disseminate climate change analysis and its implications for the draft National Water Policy and transboundary water resources management. The PPG phase will map out roles and responsibilities of these various stakeholder groups in the project.

The project will be executed by the Department of Water Affairs (Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy), which will work closely with the Ministry of Tourism and Environment and Department of Meteorology. Executing partners will be the Ministry of Agriculture, particularly the extension department, and the Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE) that will coordinate the NGOs on the ground.

Thematic Area: 
Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Key Collaborators: 
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Swazi rural communities
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Department of Water Affairs, Swaziland
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Project Status: 
Under Implementation
Financing Amount: 
Co-Financing Total: 

Key Results and Outputs

The goal of the project is to ensure that the management of Swaziland’s water resources is adapted to take into account the anticipated impacts of climate change. The objective of the project is to promote the implementation of national and trans-boundary IWRM that is sustainable and equitable given expected climate change.

Outcome 1: Institutional capacity for climate change adaptation strengthened through the integration of climate change risks into national water resources management policies and the establishment of inter-sectoral-coordination mechanisms based on inclusive and informed national dialogue

  • Output 1.1: Key scientific knowledge gaps on climate change impacts within the water sector defined, targeted research to fill knowledge gaps carried out, climate change response options identified, and main findings and strategic recommendations disseminated to at least twenty (20) relevant organisations across sectors
  • Output 1.2: A set of tailor-made climate change response measures related to national (and trans-boundary) water management identified and integrated into at least three (3) national level policies related to water resources management (e.g. NWP, IWRMP, draft National Climate Change Policy) through a series of national policy dialogue workshops (incl. with organisations  listed under Output 1.1 and using strategic recommendations from that output
  • Output 1.3: Institutional needs for inter-sectoral cooperation identified (through national dialogue - Output 1.2), appropriate national  inter-sectoral coordination mechanism clearly defined, establishment/ strengthening of national coordination mechanism supported and capacity of key staff/ stakeholders strengthened through at least three (3) targeted training courses on inter-sectoral coordination

Outcome 2: Climate change risk management measures integrated into national water and agricultural programmes and implemented in pilot projects to promote adaptation on the ground.

  • Output2.1: Guidelines for mainstreaming climate change risks into key national policies (NWP, IWRMP, NCCP) developed, toolkits on practical application of climate change response measures (identified through Output 1.2) developed and at least five (5) targeted training courses on toolkit application delivered
  • Output 2.2: Programme/ project specific climate change risks and tailor-made response measures identified and integrated into at least three (3) major management/ investment plans implemented in Swaziland (incl. KDDP, LUSIP and CDPs developed under the GEF SLM programme implemented by SWADE)
  • Output 2.3: Capacity of key stakeholders and water resources management and/or agricultural development practitioners to integrate climate change risks into their activities strengthened by incorporating the climate risks/responses measures (identified under Output 2.2) into the ongoing training courses offered as part of ongoing national programmes (e.g. KDDP, LUSIP).     
  • Output 2.4: Community based climate resilience projects implemented in pilot sites, including the installation of rainwater harvesting systems in at least four (4) identified communities/ areas and rainwater infiltration improvement schemes (incl. reforestation) in at least four (4) communities/areas

Outcome 3: Negotiations on trans-boundary water management for the Incomati, Maputo and Umbeluzi river basins informed by climate change risk analysis.

  • Output 3.1: Climate change impacts on trans-boundary water resource management (TBWRM) and negotiation options assessed, tailor-made  (short-, mid- and long-term) TBWRM strategy paper for Swaziland developed through consultations with key stakeholders (as integral part of national policy dialogue - Output 1.2) and position paper for Swaziland TWRM negotiation team(s) jointly developed (with negotiators)
  • Output 3.2: Targeted information briefs on projected climate change impacts on TBWRM developed and disseminated to senior decision-makers in at least twenty (20) relevant organisations, including key water user groups


Monitoring and Evaluation

Project M&E procedures will be designed and conducted by the project team and the UNDP-Country Office, in accordance with established UNDP-GEF procedures. The principal components of the Monitoring and Evaluation Plan are outlines using the different activities within the project.

Project Inception Phase

  • A Project Inception Workshop will be held within 2 months after the Project Management Unit (PMU) is established, with participation of a wide range of stakeholders, those with assigned roles in the project organisation structure, UNDP.  The Inception Workshop is crucial to building ownership for the project results, sensitize the stakeholders about the project objective and outcomes, and to facilitate further inputs in the project’s overall work plan to ensure that the project will fit sufficiently within the current context of Swaziland and its overall development plans and strategies.
  • The Inception Workshop should address a number of key issues including:
  1. Assist all partners to fully understand and take ownership of the project
  2. Review the project log-frame and agree on the indicators, targets and their means of verification, and review and revises assumptions and risks if necessary,
  3. Discuss financial reporting procedures and obligations, and arrangements for annual audit.
  4. Based on the project results framework and the relevant GEF Tracking Tool as appropriate, review the first annual work plan.
  5. Agree on a set of recommendations to be tabled at the PB meeting.  The first PB meeting should be held soon after the inception workshop to review a set of recommendations from the inception workshop and make necessary decisions for the project. 


  • Progress and Financial Report will be prepared by the Project Team and submitted to UNDP via the Implementing Partner (DWA/MNRE).  Quartery Reports is prepared in the format advised by UNDP and should contain suffiicent information to keep track of the project progress in the various monitoring mechanisms, including the following:
  • Progress will be monitored in the UNDP Enhanced Results Based Managment Platform.
  • Based on the initial risk analysis submitted, the risk log shall be regularly updated in ATLAS.  Risks become critical when the impact and probability are high. 
  • Based on the information recorded in ATLAS, a Project Progress Reports (PPR) can be generated in the Executive Snapshot.
  • Other ATLAS logs can be used to monitor inter alia issues, lessons learned. The use of these functions is a key indicator in the UNDP Executive Balanced Scorecard.


Annual Project Review/Project Implementation Reports (APR/PIR): This key report is prepared to monitor progress made since project start and in particular for the previous reporting period.  The APR/PIR combines both UNDP and GEF’s annual reporting requirements.

The APR/PIR includes, but is not limited to, reporting on the following:

  • Progress made toward project objective and project outcomes - each with indicators, baseline data and end-of-project targets (cumulative).
  • Project outputs delivered per project outcome (annual).
  • Lesson learned/good practice.
  • Financial delivery status.  For mid-term and final PIR, the co-financing information will be also included.
  • Risk and adaptive management.

Mid-term of project cycle:

The project will undergo an independent Mid-Term Evaluation (MTE) at the mid-point of project implementation. The Mid-Term Evaluation will determine progress being made toward the achievement of outcomes and will identify course correction if needed.  It will focus on the effectiveness, efficiency and timeliness of project implementation; will highlight issues requiring decisions and actions; and will present initial lessons learned about project design, implementation and management.

End of Project:

An independent Final Evaluation will take place three months prior to the project’s operational closure and will be undertaken in accordance with UNDP and GEF guidance. The final evaluation will focus on the delivery of the project’s results as initially planned (and as corrected after the mid-term evaluation, if any such correction took place).  The final evaluation will look at impact and sustainability of results, including the contribution to capacity development and the achievement of climate change adaptation benefits that the project aims to achieve.  The relevant Tracking Tools will also be completed during the final evaluation

The Terminal Evaluation should also provide recommendations for follow-up activities and requires a management response which should be uploaded to PIMS and to the UNDP Evaluation Office Evaluation Resource Center (ERC)

During the last three months, the project team will prepare the Project Terminal Report. This comprehensive report will summarize the results achieved (objectives, outcomes, outputs), lessons learned, problems met and areas where results may not have been achieved.  It will also lay out recommendations for any further steps that may need to be taken to ensure sustainability and replicability of the project’s results.

Learning and Knowledge Sharing

Results from the project will be disseminated within and beyond the project intervention zone through existing information sharing networks and forums. The project will identify and participate, as relevant and appropriate, in scientific, policy-based and/or any other networks, which may be of benefit to project implementation though lessons learned. The project will identify, analyze, and share lessons learned that might be beneficial in the design and implementation of similar future projects.


Akiko Yamamoto
Regional Technical Advisor
Sithembiso Hlatshwako
CO Focal Point