Map of Zambia's Catchments including Zambezi, Kafue, Luangwa, Tanganyika, Lapula and Chambeshi Catchment


In Water Resources Management catchments are an institutional entity which relates to efficient management of a part of or the entire water resource in a specific area – be it ground- or surface water.

In a sophisticated catchment delineation process, the government and other stakeholders identified six major catchments for Zambia:

In addition to the natural drainage system, various factors such as sectoral interests, logistics and efficiency considerations, environmental considerations and social and economic development patterns were taken into account.

The Water Resources Management of 2011 Act provides for a decentralized management system in line with the principles of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) that manages water resources at Catchment and Sub-Catchment levels and promotes local participation through formation of Water User Associations (WUAs).

Functions of Catchments and Sub-Catchments

(Enshrined in Part III section 18 & 20 of WRM Act No 21 of 2011)

  • Coordinating, supervising, monitoring and evaluating Water Resources Management activities in the water catchments
  • Disseminating Water Resources Management information, regulations and standards to the public
  • Collecting, monitoring and analysing hydrological and hydrogeological data for WARMA decision making
  • Developing water allocation plans and making recommendations on water allocations for the issue of permits
  • Contributing to the development of catchment management plans, sub catchment plans for water allocation decisions and other water use plans
  • Promoting participatory water harvesting and water conservation initiatives

Catchment Overview