Sign overlooking a ferry crossing on the Okavango from Botswana into Namibia
|Length||1,700 km (1,056 mi)|
|Basin||530,000 km2 (204,634 sq mi)|
|- average||475 m3/s (16,774 cu ft/s)|
|- max||1,000 m3/s (35,315 cu ft/s)|
|- min||350 m3/s (12,360 cu ft/s)|
Okavango river basin map
The Okavango River (formerly spelled Okovango or Okovanggo) is a
Before it enters Botswana, the river drops 4 m in a series of rapids known as Popa Falls, visible when the river is low, as during the dry season.
Discharging to an
During colder periods in Earth's history, a part of the Kalahari was a massive lake, known as
Both Namibia and Botswana experience drought, and as a result, concerns have been expressed about possible conflict over use of the river's water. Namibia has built a water canal, measuring about 300 km long, and has proposed a project to build a 250-km pipeline to divert water from the river into Namibia to help relieve the drought.
Botswana, however, uses the Okavango Delta for both tourism income and a water source. The Department of Water Affairs in Botswana has submitted that 97% of the water in the river is lost through evaporation, so the country cannot afford to lose any extra water.
Namibia, in turn, has argued that it will only divert half a percent of the river's flow, and that it is entitled to any water that flows through its country. To deal with such issues, in September 1994, Angola, Namibia, and Botswana signed an agreement to form the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission, to provide advice to the three countries about the best ways to share the Okavango River's resources.