Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Adapting to climate change: using natural water sources in the driest regions on earth

25.11.2015

Natural water sources have always been in short supply in Northern Namibia. It is becoming clear that water as a resource is going to come under increasing pressure from climate change. How can the population still be guaranteed a regular supply of drinking water? How can farm land be effectively irrigated or sewage disposed of safely?

In the German-Namibian research and development project entitled CuveWaters, close collaboration between scientist/researchers, partners in the field, and the population itself has made it possible to develop and implement solutions for a sustainable water supply and wastewater disposal.


Farmers at the CuveWaters Green Village in Epyeshona

ISOE

After almost 10 years of research and development, the CuveWaters team headed by ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research today presented its comprehensive results in Windhoek. The integrated water resource management project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). Its solutions serve as a blueprint for other so-called semi-arid regions of the world.

The complex supply system was implemented at different sites in the Cuvelai-Etosha Basin, whose population is heavily affected by climatic extremes such as flooding and persistent periods of drought.

In collaboration with the Technische Universität Darmstadt, partners in the field and local Namibian partners, it was possible with the help of solar-powered desalination plants to generate new sources of drinking water, even at locations a long way from central water pipelines.

The systems for collecting rainwater and storing floodwater provide water with which
to irrigate farmland. They represent an innovation for this region, and enable several families to cultivate vegetables all year round and sell them at the local markets. But CuveWaters has also given rise to an innovative, energy-efficient sanitation and wastewater concept with subsequent water recycling.

Around 1500 inhabitants of Outapi, most of whom come from low-income households, are now able to use washhouses, showers and toilets. Nutrient-rich service water is recovered from the wastewater and used for irrigation as well as for biogas with which to generate heat and electricity.

Needs-based solutions from a transdisciplinary research process: exchange of knowledge between the population and scientists/researchers

Residents received training in construction, operation and maintenance to prepare them for the time when they took control of the facilities themselves. This training also extended to irrigation for market gardening and correct usage of the sanitation concept as a whole. An integral part of the project was teaching the local population to take personal responsibility via a ‘Capacity Development’ scheme and devising concepts for so-called ‘good governance’. This way, the structures that are now in place can be maintained in the long term.

Conversely, the know-how of the local stakeholders was incorporated into the development and implementation of the facilities: “For a meaningful implementation and application of the technology, we first need to be aware of requirements and understand the local circumstances” said Thomas Kluge, project leader. “Sustainable utilisation of the water resources can only come about via knowledge sharing, i.e. a mutual learning process on the part of the scientists/researchers and the population.”

The German ambassador to Namibia, Matthias Schlaga, referred to this learning process within the “alliance between research and practice that is CuveWaters” as a milestone in the 25-year collaboration between Namibia and Germany. He is sure that “The project team has developed sustainable solutions for the water supply in northern Namibia”, which is a key to the future of Namibia.

Combining water supply, food security and energy recovery: exemplary pilot plants for the whole of southern Africa

The project partners from Namibia also appear convinced by the enduring success of CuveWaters. “The fact that the inhabitants of one of the driest regions on earth are able to supply themselves with water independently of rain periods has already made for a sustainable improvement in living conditions”, said Namibia’s Minister of Agriculture, John Mutorwa. The solutions link the issues of water, food and energy means in such a way that they are able to reduce poverty, secure good health and food supply, and enable adaptation to climate change.”

One particularly unique and exemplary aspect of the project, not just for northern Namibia but for the whole of southern Africa, is the utilisation of wastewater as a resource; it was put into practice at the Outapi site to generate energy and nutrients for crop growing. Project leader Thomas Kluge from ISOE sees the combination of these innovative technologies with appropriate education and training for the population as “a meaningful investment that is of great benefit to the users.”

Shared knowledge: comprehensive documentation of the project’s results regarding technologies and implementation

To allow the results from this pilot project to be used for the whole of southern Africa (and beyond in other semi-arid regions of the world), the project team has made its extensive results available on its website. Here one can find fact sheets on the individual technologies: Sanitation and Water Reuse, Groundwater Desalination, Floodwater Harvesting, and Rainwater Harvesting.

In addition, a comprehensive Technology Toolkit for Rain- and Floodwater Harvesting (RFWH Toolkit) has been assembled. It shows exactly what is needed to construct and use what is still a novel application of rainwater and floodwater collection facilities in Namibia. Sharing our knowledge is an essential part of the CuveWaters philosophy. Our aim is to develop instruments to support decision-making and planning processes, even beyond the project’s duration.

CuveWaters is a cooperative project run by ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Re¬search and the Technische Universität Darmstadt. It is funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). The partners in Namibia include the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), Outapi Town Council and the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN). The project sites are Iipopo, Outapi, Epyeshona, Akutsima and Amarika.

Press contact Germany:
Melanie Neugart (ISOE)
Tel. +49 69 707 6919 51
neugart@isoe.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.isoe.de
http://www.cuvewaters.net

Melanie Neugart | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future
27.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Penn researchers quantify the changes that lightning inspires in rock
27.04.2017 | University of Pennsylvania

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>