Flood water harvesting plant for Iipopo
Since 2006, German and Namibian researchers have been working on technologies to enable a round-the-year water supply. Within the frame-work of the CuveWaters research project led by Institute for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE), various pilot plants have been built since then at several project sites in central-northern Namibia in close cooperation with the local population.
Meanwhile the pilot plant that was developed by the Technische Universität Darmstadt has been operating successfully in Iipopo since 2012. The aim of the floodwater harvesting plant is to store floodwater from the so called Oshanas.
In average rainy periods, the Oshanas carry enormous amounts of water which gradually evaporate during the dry season.
The water is collected at the height of the rainy season, pumped into different types of storage reservoir and stored there so that it can be used in agriculture the whole year round. In times of less rain-fall the operation of the plant is secured by public water supply system.
“The project will directly benefit ten women from different households who will use the flood water to grow vegetables for commercial farming as well as for subsistence farming. Regionally the village of Iipopo will benefit from the income coming in from vegetable sales and that they will now no longer have to travel long distances to towns in order to get vegetables,” said Alex Jokisch, Rainwater and Floodwater Harvesting Technician at CuveWaters in an interview with the Economist. Jokisch said the project cost an estimated N$1 million, where N$500,000 was used in the construction of the infrastructure and the other half being used for training and consultations.
“A total of 40 people were employed during the construction phase, 20 in the development phase of the plant over a period of 2- 3 months. Currently the plant has 10 permanent employees that work on the farm”.
The plant is part of the CuveWaters project whose goal is to utilise local water sources and take the pressure off of the centralized water supply system.
The floodwater harvesting plant serves as an example on how water management interventions can improve the living conditions of rural communities in Namibia.