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The Government of Zimbabwe, like its Southern African neighbours, is attempting to grapple with a set of inter-related yet often independent problems. The first is strategies for public and private economic growth, shifts in agricultural production in the context of increasing human populations and consequently a growing need for water; second, a predicted decrease in the overall quantity of rain combined with increased variability due to the anticipated consequences of global warming; third, the inability of the state to provide water at subsidised prices; fourth, a desire to provide ail citizens with a clean and safe water supply; and fifth, programs to protect the environment. These processes taken together, require new strategies and approaches to water. Yet, governments everywhere seek to control these processes even as they argue for flexibility and decentralisation. Thus, attempts to rationalise operations in water management may well mean ignoring local and regional differences. What is particularly significant about the papers in this volume, is that they point to the variations already existent in Zimbabwe despite a strong state and centralised government planning.