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Results of the initial phase of the MultiReWaS project in Namibia

Together with TERRA URBANA Umlandentwicklungsgesellschaft mbH and the Namibia University of Science and Technology, FiW initiated the project "MultiReWaS". The aim of the project is to improve water security in the eastern Erongo region of Namibia, which is increasingly threatened by population growth, the expansion of water-intensive industries and climate change. To this end, water losses are to be reduced and water reuse potential identified. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funded the initial phase, which ended in 2023, as part of the "Water Security in Africa - WASA" programme.

Due to climate change, Namibia is increasingly experiencing droughts. Dams do not fill sufficiently during the rainy season and in many cases there is hardly any groundwater recharge. Furthermore, a lot of water is lost through evaporation and a lack of efficiency in the water supply system, for example due to leaks in water pipes. The resulting water scarcity not only increases the pressure on drinking water resources, but is also considered a limiting factor for agricultural irrigation, industrial production and the mining sector.

The project is located in the eastern Erongo region and focuses on the small town of Karibib.

The initial phase served to identify and prioritise research and project needs in more detail. On the one hand, it comprised research in which, among other things, the organisational structures and regulations of water management on site as well as existing strategies and goals were analysed. On the other hand, an empirical study was conducted, which included a water audit and a stakeholder dialogue.

The water audit aimed to analyse the state of the water management infrastructure and to examine and qualitatively and quantitatively assess the existing water resources. This was of great importance as water management in Namibia is predominantly organised on a community basis. The water audit revealed considerable differences in terms of data availability and quality.
The stakeholder dialogue served to identify challenges and an appropriate solution strategy. In an iterative process, representatives of relevant ministries, sectoral administrative bodies, formal and informal authorities (water committees, NGOs) and actors from the private and academic sectors were interviewed. In the process, a solid network of key actors and decision-makers was established, who will also be actively involved in the further course of the project.

Finally, four fields of action were defined for further project implementation in the region: In addition to the reduction of water losses during water treatment and transport, an existing wastewater pond system is to be technically optimised through nature-based solutions. At the same time, possibilities for water reuse are to be identified, developed and implemented. In parallel, a practice-oriented training centre is to be established, whereby the upgraded wastewater pond facility and the implemented reuse concept are to be included for training and demonstration purposes.

The results of the initial phase will lay the foundation for the proposed implementation phase, which is scheduled to begin in 2024.