Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Wastewater as a resource: Innovative sanitation concept for Namibia

Water is a scarce commodity in Namibia. The natural resource is coming under increasing pressure due to climate change, a rapidly growing population and the exodus from rural areas.

The project team of CuveWaters, led by ISOE – the Institute for Social-Ecological Research, has succeeded in turning wastewater into a resource in this most arid region of the world, so that processed wastewater from sanitary facilities can be used for agricultural purposes.

Communal sanitation facility in Outapi/Namibia
Photo: CuveWaters

The project partners TU Darmstadt (Institute IWAR), Bilfinger Water Technologies and the ISOE are presenting the sanitation concept at the 9th IWA International Water-Reuse Conference in Windhoek/Namibia.

Approximately 850,000 people live in central northern Namibia. About 40 percent of the population in urban areas don’t have access to adequate sanitary facilities. In order to improve the sometimes dramatic situation for the population, the „Namibian Sanitation Strategy“ recommends using efficient flushing toilets in conjunction with innovative wastewater technologies.

As a result, the CuveWaters team has developed a novel sanitation concept plus vacuum system within the framework of an integrated water resources management (IWRM): The sanitary facilities are part of a complex disposal, treatment and re-use system that has been developed together with the local population and with Namibian partners from government and industry.

Energy efficient: Sanitation concept with water re-use in Outapi

The small city of Outapi (Omusati Region) was chosen as the site to implement the sanitation system with water re-use. It is home to 4,600 people, of whom 1,500 have been using the new sanitary facilities in a pilot plant since the beginning of 2013. The official handover of this plant to the municipal administration is now coming up on November 1st. The energy-efficient sanitation and wastewater concept in Outapi works this way: A vacuum system transports the wastewater from settlements in Outapi to a processing plant, where it is purified.

A multi-step purification process produces hygienically impeccable irrigation water. Together with the nutrients, the purified water is then used in the fields. A farmers’ cooperative works this land and sells the crops at local markets. Biogas is also won in the course of the purification process, which is used to generate power and heat. This covers a percentage of the operating energy of the vacuum canalisation and the wastewater treatment plant.

Promoting millennium goals through the transfer of technology and knowledge

The innovative concept isn’t just ideal for small rural settlements, but also opens up completely new perspectives for rapidly growing urban areas in particular. Within this context it is vitally important to involve the local population, as well as training and educating them. “Together with the ‚Community Health Clubs‘ which have arisen locally and which help people with hygiene issues, CuveWaters also makes sure that knowledge transfer takes place, in addition to technology transfer,” says project leader Thomas Kluge (ISOE).

The cultivation of agricultural areas also opens up new sources of income for farmers. “Altogether, this allows us to improve the living conditions of the population over the long term and make a contribution to reaching the millennium goals, which also include safeguarding health.”

CuveWaters will be presenting its project results together with the Outapi city administration at the Water Reuse Conference 2013 in Windhoek. CuveWaters is a joint project of ISOE in Frankfurt am Main/Germany and the Technische Universität Darmstadt/Ger¬many. It is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Namibian cooperation partners include the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), Outapi Town Council and the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN).

CuveWaters at the IWA Reuse Conference in Windhoek, October 28th-31th 2013

Contact in Namibia:
Alexia Krug von Nidda
ISOE - Institute for Social-Ecological Research
Tel. +264 81 210 7128
Contact in Germany:
Melanie Neugart
ISOE - Institute for Social-Ecological Research
Tel. +49 69 707 6919-51

Dr. Nicola Schuldt-Baumgart | idw
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>