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Water for the dry season – Handing over the floodwater harvesting plant in Iipopo, Namibia


During the rainy season normally there is abundant rain- and surface water sufficient for irrigation purposes available in northern Namibia. During average rainy seasons, the widely branched river arms in the Cuvelai-Etosha Basin, the Oshanas, carry large quantities of water which evaporate during the dry season. With its floodwater harvesting pilot plant in Iipopo the German-Namibian project team from CuveWaters together with the local community has developed a solution for agricultural irrigation during the dry season. Today, the floodwater harvesting plant in lipopo was officially handed over to the village community.

Under the lead of the ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research the project team had been exploring the novel utilization concept of floodwater harvesting.

The floodwater harvesting plant was developed by the Technische Universität Darmstadt. The plant collects floodwater from the local Oshana. During the rainy season it is pumped into underground reservoirs and can then be pumped into smaller raised tanks.

During the dry season ten families are using this water to cultivate vegetables. They use it to irrigate patches within the greenhouse and a vegetable garden by applying water saving drip irrigation. The families till a field each for self-supply.

They also sell vegetables on the market. “In former times we just let the water flow along the Oshanas” as Rauna Nakahambo, farmer and manager of the greenhouse remembers. “But now we got to know this method how to harvest water.” All farmers were trained in agriculture and in efficient water use.

In order to be able to use the plants when – like presently – rain fails to appear, they connected themselves to the public water supply system. “But we know from our time series analyses, that usually there is enough rain to secure the harvests for the next dry season in lipopo”, said project leader Thomas Kluge from ISOE on Monday on the occasion of the inauguration.

Successful Example for German-Namibian Cooperation

“The fact that we succeeded in establishing this measure adapted to the local circumstances is an excellent result of the close cooperation with the local population”, said Kluge and pointed out that the success of this project exemplarily demonstrated how natural water resources could be sustainably tapped with the help of small-scale plants in other dry regions of this planet as well.

The floodwater harvesting plant is part of the CuveWaters overall project in the course of which pilot plants were developed with the help of various technologies in order to utilize local water resources and relive the central water supply system.

The handing over of the floodwater harvesting plant was part of the German weeks which have been taking place since March and which are organized by the German Embassy on the occasion of 25 years of German-Namibian cooperation. The German Ambassador to Namibia, Onno Hückmann also participated in the ceremony.

He described the German-Namibian cooperation within the research project as future-orientated. “CuveWaters is a successful example showing how a research project can be of specific use allowing a long-term perspective for the rural communities”, said Hückmann.

Melanie Neugart
ISOE - Institute for Social-Ecological Research
Tel. +49 69 707 6919-51

Photos of the floodwater harvesting plant are available, please notice the following flickr-Link below. In case of using any photos please indicate the source "CuveWaters".

ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
The ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research is a leading non-commercial and non-academic institute for sustainability research. For 25 years, the Institute has been developing scientific basics for future-orientated concepts for politics civil society and economy – regionally, nationally and internationally. Among its research topics are water, energy, climate protection, mobility, urban spaces, biodiversity, as well as population dynamics and supply.

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