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Water for Namibia: Innovative technologies for Africa’s dry region
07 September 2012
ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research
In Namibia, the CuveWaters project has taken a quantum leap in innovation: In a region ruled in equal parts by floods and droughts, natural water resources can now be used year round. Drinking and irrigation water is being won with the help of different pilot plants. The joint research project coordinated by ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research – will present the results of its work at the Water Investment Conference in Windhoek/Namibia.
During the last six years, the German-Namibian research project CuveWaters has developed tailored solutions for a decentralised and sustainable water supply for the population of the northern Namibian Cuvelai-Etosha Basin. Via Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), a complex supply system has been established in cooperation with the local population and Namibian governmental and industrial partners: pilot plants for harvesting rainwater and storing floodwater as well as for treating and reusing wastewater generate water for produce gardening. Solar-driven desalination units produce drinking water for the local population.
CuveWaters technologies are becoming commercially viable
This integrated approach is now making these new technologies commercially viable: They allow people living in arid regions to supply themselves with water without being dependent on the rainy season. Even far away from central water conduits, drinking water becomes accessible. Individual families or whole villages can also provide for themselves by growing produce, or they can develop new sources of income. The CuveWaters project is also developing a new kind of energy-efficient sanitation and wastewater concept, which is producing nutrient-rich process water for field irrigation. It is also being used to produce biogas for generating power and heat. This innovative concept offers new perspectives for small settlements in rural areas, but also for fast-growing urban neighbourhoods.
Sustainable knowledge and technology transfer
The next phase of CuveWaters, which is planned to run till 2015, will focus primarily on exploiting the pilot project’s results for the southern part of Africa. „Transferring this knowledge and these technologies can lead to sustainable improvements in the population’s living conditions,“ says ISOE project leader Thomas Kluge. „That means: Reducing poverty, safeguarding health and nutrition and enabling adaptations to climate change“. Kluge adds that substantive benefits balance the investment into these new kinds of technologies.
At the invitation of the Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, CuveWaters will present the results of its work at the Water Investment Conference 2012 in Windhoek/Namibia. CuveWaters is a joint research project of ISOE in Frankfurt/Germany and of the Technical University Darmstadt/Germany. The project is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Namibian project partners are the Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) and the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN).
CuveWaters at the Namibian Water Investment Conference in Windhoek
September 12–14, 2012