Water use options for regional development. Potentials of new water technologies in Central Northern Namibia
The CuveWaters project relates the alignment and implementation of innovative water technologies to an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in the Cuvelai-Etosha-Basin, which lies in Central Northern Namibia. The aim here is to improve inhabitants’ living conditions by means of appropriate technical schemes and measures – particularly with a view to enhancing water supply and basic sanitation (incl. waste water disposal). A focal part of Cuve-Waters concerns the re-use of water, efficient use of water and utilisation of different water qualities for different purposes (multi-resource mix). With respect to urban conditions and the problems of adequate supply and sanitation, the prospect of a semi-decentralised infrastructure system is under investigation, a concept which includes rainwater utilisation as well as waste water collection and treatment. One major option for such systems, in which waste water is considered a valuable resource, is a washing house combining effective waste water collection (vacuum sewer) with high-tech separation techniques (generation of energy, nutrients and waste water processing). Cleaned waste water – free of bacteria, viruses or pathogens – and fertiliser from an anaerobic waste water treatment plant can be re-used for irrigation in small scale agriculture to enhance food security and/or generate alternative income through the marketing of fresh produce. Energy, in the form of biogas, can be used for cooking or lighting. On the rural sites of the study area, adequate water supply poses a major challenge, for which three technology options are investigated here: rainwater harvesting, solar-coupled desalination of brackish groundwater, and managed aquifer recharge. Suitable technology options are selected for different sites in a participatory process (cf. CuveWaters Project 2008a, CuveWaters Project 2008b). Thus, general aims of the project in terms of providing regional economic impetus and improving livelihoods are: - to link integrated water resources management to land issues, develop the technology needed to build capacity, and achieve better governance; - to bring together supply- and demand-driven approaches in developing the infrastructure; - to consider water as related to other resources (land, energy, nutrients) and other fields of sustainability such as poverty reduction, equality and regional development. From these project objectives arise the key questions driving the surveys documented in this paper: what impetus for regional development can be expected from the implementation of technological options selected for the CuveWaters project? What constraints and obstacles need to be considered here, particularly in terms of incorporating the technologies into strategies of IWRM? What conclusions can be drawn when it comes to the supervision of implementation (training, capacity building, governance)? After an introduction the economic and social situation in the Cuvelai-Etosha Basin along with the conditions for urban agriculture is outlined. This is followed by the discussion of the potentials for water-related activities in the region, taking into account additional water uses and the operation and development of infrastructures, whilst investigating the potentials of urban agriculture for Central Northern Namibia. Finally, these potentials are summarized and conclusions pertaining to flanking measures for technical implementation are drawn.
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