The Zambezi River basin

The Zambezi basin is the fourth-largest river basin of Africa. The river rises in the Kalene hills in north-west Zambia and flows through nine riparian countries along its 2750 km length, before it discharges into the Indian Ocean in Mozambique.

The work in the Zambezi had two components: (1) to investigate the re-operation of the existing reservoirs in order to restore a flow regime in the ecologically-sensitive areas that were impacted by the dams, and (2) develop a methodology to assess the cost of non-cooperation in large transboundary river basins where the dominant uses are irrigated agriculture and hydropower generation. This project was carried out between 2008 and 2012 at UNESCO-IHE and ETH-Zurich.

Zambezi River


  1. Mertens J., B. Wehrli, A. Tilmant, A.J. Schleiss, T. Cohen and J.P. Matos, 2013.  Adapted reservoir management in the Zambezi river basin to meet environmental needs. Hydropower & Dams (2): 80-84  
  2. Tilmant A., D. Arjoon and G. Marques, 2012.  The economic value of storage in multireservoir systems. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000335  
  3. Tilmant A. and W. Kinzelbach, 2012.   Le partage de l’eau et des bénéfices dans les bassins hydrographiques internationaux. Liaison Energie-Francophonie 92: 22-26  
  4. Tilmant A. and W. Kinzelbach, 2012. The cost of non-cooperation in international river basins, Water Resources Research, 48, W01503, doi:10.1029/2011WR011034  
  5. Tilmant A., W. Kinzelbach, D. Juizo, L. Beevers, D. Senn  and C. Cassarotto, 2012.  Economic Valuation of Benefits and Costs Associated with the Coordinated Development and Management of the Zambezi Basin. Water Policy 14: 490-508   
  6. Tilmant, A., L. Beevers, and B. Muyunda, 2010.  Restoring a flow regime through the coordinated operation of a multireservoir system: The case of the Zambezi River basin, Water Resources Research, 46, W07533, doi:10.1029/2009WR008897   

Book chapters

  1. Tilmant A., 2017. Chapter 5. Hydropower and the Water-Food-Energy Nexus. In Zambezi River Basin : Pathways for Sustainable Development, Routledge, NY, USA
  2. Tilmant A. and R. Namara, 2017. Chapter 3. The Economic Potential of the Basin. In Zambezi River Basin : Pathways for Sustainable Development, Routledge, NY, USA