Botswana Natural Capital Accounting for Water Supports SDG 6 Monitoring
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The Government of Botswana has published its fourth round of natural capital accounting in the area of water resources.

The water accounts show that the mining and agriculture sectors are responsible for more than half of water abstractions from the environment and deserve greater policy attention.

February 2018: The Government of Botswana has published its fourth round of natural capital accounting for the water sector, which shows that mining and agriculture account for more than half of water abstractions from the environment and deserve greater policy attention. The water accounting reports are meant to support implementation of national development plans as well as the Sustainable Development Goal on clean water and sanitation (SDG 6).

Water accounting seeks to capture the value of water resources to the economy. The Botswana water accounts describe water use in the years 2015-2016. The Centre for Applied Research, Botswana, is drawing attention to the policy implications of the results, including the need to improve water-use efficiency, invest in non-conventional water resources, apply the knowledge gained in implementing Botswana’s Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and development plans, and ensure stakeholder participation.

In a journal article titled, ‘Economic Accounting of Water: The Botswana Experience,’ published in ‘Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C,’ the authors highlight that, while public attention focuses mostly on water service providers, self-providers such as mines and the agricultural sector account for more than half of total water abstracted from the environment. They call for greater attention to the role of self-providers in IWRM implementation.

The Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) partnership, led by the World Bank, provided initial training and support for producing water accounts in Botswana. WAVES, which promotes the mainstreaming of natural resources in national economy accounts and development planning, has been working with countries since 2013 to develop approaches to ecosystem accounting based on the System of Environmental and Economic Accounts (SEEA). It has pilot sites in India, Peru, and the Philippines. The UN Statistical Commission recognizes SEEA as the international standard for environmental-economic accounting. Subsystems of SEEA focus on specific sectors, including energy, water, fisheries, agriculture, and land and ecosystems.

Monitoring of SDG 6.5 on IWRM and SDG 6.6 on protection and restoration of water-related ecosystems requires information on use of water resources and abstractions from the environment. [WAVES Press Release] [Publication: Botswana Water Accounting Report 2015/16] [Link to Journal Abstract on ‘Economic Accounting of Water: The Botswana Experience] [WAVES Web Page on ‘Testing New Ways to Construct Ecosystem Accounts’] [SEEA Website]

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