The process of developing strategies and plans to govern natural resources within a catchment is known as catchment management planning. The principles of integrated catchment management planning have been presented in Section 1 ‘Introduction’ and can be applied to the different scales of catchment units, namely catchment, sub-catchment, micro-catchment and village-level.

The Catchment Management Plan (CMP), the subject of this section, is the main output of the catchment management planning process at the broadest scale. The CMP records a vision for the catchment and formalises the current and future trends of the various resources such as water, land and social economic factors in terms of that vision. This is captured in the form of a Catchment Management Strategy (CMS). The CMP then provides additional details with regard to the specific implementation of options for improved catchment management and the development of the main natural resources of a catchment that is the land and water. The CMP states how issues and concerns will be addressed through agreed management strategies within a specified time period, and outlines an associated legislative, procedural and technical framework for implementation. The plan reflects national policies as well as stakeholder commitments. It needs to be granted legal status, either as a contract or as a legal proclamation, if it is to be implemented. In this regards the CMP typically includes a detailed implementation plan (IP) and a Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (MEP). The IP allocates responsibility for implementation and is used to inform the development of sub-catchment plans, the District Level Action Plan (DLAP) and individual Village Level Action Plans (VLAP) that can be implemented with support from the relevant catchment management committee (CMC), various national and local level government organizations including the District Environmental Sub-committee (DESC) and relevant NGOs and CBOs in the catchment.

An indicative outline of a CMP report is given in Table 5‑1:

Table 5‑1: Indicative outline of a CMP

Draft outline for a Catchment Management Plan (CMP) Report



a.         Objectives and purpose of the CMP

b.         Policy and legal context


Description of the catchment

a.         Natural resources

b.         People, economic activities, important social aspects

c.         Present development and use of water


Situation Assessment

  1. Issues, vulnerabilities and threats in the catchment
  2. Sector assessments

c.         Potential mitigation measures


Water resources assessment

a.         Rainfall, evaporation, runoff and streamflow

b.         Groundwater – occurrence, recharge, characteristics

c.         Flood risk, historical occurrence and impacts

d.         Drought – historical occurrence and impacts


Water Demand and Water Balance

a.         Present water use and infrastructure

b.         Projections of future water demand

c.         Water balance – issues


Alternative catchment scenarios

a.         Vision and Planning objectives

b.         Development options

            i.          Modifications of existing water infrastructure and use

            ii.          Investment in new infrastructure or rehabilitation

            iii.         Mitigation of adverse impacts of development

            iv.        Catchment protection and water conservation

            v.         Water management options, operating rules

            vi.        Multi-criteria evaluation of alternative plans


The Catchment Management Strategy

a.         Vision and Mission Statement

b.         High Level Strategy

c.         Key Strategic Objectives (KSO)

d.         Strategic Themes and Implementation Options

e.         Priority options for implementation and further studies


Implementation Plan

a.         Implementation Plan

b.         Roles and responsibilities

c.         Financing Strategy

d.         Information management

e.         Capacity building


Monitoring and Evaluation Plan

a.         Indicators

b.         Reporting Requirements