Water research elevated to national priority for both Namibia and South Africa
In a wide ranging agreement signed last week, two national research institutions have paved the way for close collaboration in the area of water research and technology.
The National Commission on Research, Science and Technology announced this week it has signed an agreement with the Water Research Commission of South Africa to enhance collaboration to find workable solutions for both Namibia’s and South Africa’s recurring water problems and water shortages. The agreement was entered into at a separate event on the flanks of the 3rd biennial symposium hosted by South Africa’s Water Research Commission.
This year’s symposium ran under the theme “Adaptation to the New Normal.”
The agreement between the two national institutions provides for the exchange of knowledge, the sharing of relevant research results, the sharing of physical and virtual platforms, and the design of a future reseach strategy for the development of innovative solutions needed by both countries.
It is the national science commission’s intention, based on the agreement with the Water Research Commission, to form a so-called Namibian Water Consortium comprising institutions like the University of Namibia, the Namibia University of Science and Technology, NamWater and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.
“The Nationial Commission on Research, Science and Technology remains cognizant of the fact that water management is still a challenge. As the national competent authority for research, science, technology and innovation, we endeavour to align our activities and projects to national outlooks such as Vision 2030, in the water sector to achieve efficient supply and allocation of water to ensure equitable access, as well as to contribute to the long-term social and economic development of the country”, stated Enid Keramen, the commission’s acting Chief Executive.
The agreement makes broad and specific provision for capacity building both at individual and institutional level including exchanges and training of students, researchers and experts on the mutual priority areas.
It further envisages collaborative projects on jointly funded water-related research, development and innovation projects. For this, external funding will be pursued.
Ultimately, it is foreseen that the outcome of the agreement will lead to the transfer of applicable technology between South Africa and Namibia to improve future water availability and supply in both countries.
“National efforts in water management should be complemented by engineering and science knowledge related to water infrastructure and resource conservation” stated Keramin.