Shared waters and data exchange – the gap between principle and practice
Exchanging data across borders in transboundary basins is key to averting disasters, managing risks, avoiding conflict and enabling effective water management. Examples abound of both the benefits of data sharing and the adverse impacts of failing to exchange data. Data exchange between Mozambique and Zimbabwe, for example, has improved flood forecasting in the Pungwe basin of Southern Africa, and in the Mekong Basin efforts to strengthen data exchange continue to improve basin monitoring and flood forecasting.
The importance of effective data sharing receives broad support. A report by the World Meteorological Organization on tropical cyclone Idai’s impact across parts of Mozambique and Zimbabwe in 2019, for instance, recommends timely data and information exchange to avert destruction of the magnitude experienced in both countries.