Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated countries in southern Africa (just 3,5 people per km²), with approximately 2,065 million people living in the country; many of whom live in the larger urban areas, including Gaborone, Francistown and Molepolole. Water is a very important resource in Botswana, so much so that the national currency is called the Pula – or rain. While Botswana lives in a fine balance of water availability/scarcity, it is blessed with significant natural resources, including precious stones and metals, most notably diamonds.
Botswana plays a primarily observational role in the Orange-Senqu River basin, as the Molopo River, the only tributary in Botswana, has not flowed to join the Orange-Senqu River in living memory. Localised flows are reported somewhat infrequently, following intense episodic rainfall events, which are characteristic of the region. Thus, most of the water resources present in the basin are groundwater sources. However, the Department of Water Affairs is actively involved in the Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM), with members participating in all levels of the institution.
Key indicators and data
Sources: Central Statistics Office (2006), Globalis GVU UNEP (2009), World Factbook (2009), BBC Monitoring (2009), UNHDR (2008);