Enhancing Water, Food and Energy Security in the Lower Zambezi [ZAMSECUR]; Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique


In the Lower Zambezi (Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique), populations suffer frequently from severe floods and droughts. Dealing with these problems relies on the ability to accurately estimate the flows entering the river. This is a major challenge because most of the rivers entering the Zambezi are ungauged (meaning there are no flow records). The overall goal of this project is to enhance the water, food and energy security in the Lower Zambezi through better understanding of the rainfall-runoff behaviour of these rivers. This is crucial for more reliable flow predictions, better operation of Kariba and Cahora Bassa dams, reducing flood hazard of affected communities and securing energy and agricultural production. For that purpose, this research will develop a landscape and ecology-based hydrological model fed by remotely sensed rainfall and evaporation. Use will be made of the latest innovations in water resources assessment, such as: drones for topography-based river rating; DTS (Distributed Temperature Sensing) for determining evaporation from indigenous forests; accelerometers for interception measurement; and micro-wave links to determine the water content of vegetation. Improved dam operation will contribute to achieving the sustainable development goals on water, energy, environment, flood and human settlement. The research will be carried out jointly by UZ, WaterNet and TUD and in close cooperation with end users ZINWA (Zimbabwe National Water Authority), WARMA (Zambian Water Resources Management Authority) and HCB (Hydro Cahora Bassa). As water is crucial for virtually every human and biotic activity, this project positively contributes to these SDGs and generates knowledge and tools to prevent negative feedbacks.


Project number

W 07.303.102

Main applicant

Prof. dr. ir. H.H.G. Savenije

Affiliated with

Technische Universiteit Delft, Faculteit Civiele Techniek en Geowetenschappen, Afdeling Watermanagement

Team members

Ir. P. Hulsman, H. Musonda Zimba MA MSc, H. Samboko


01/01/2018 to 01/10/2021