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Water recycling in the desert

Water recycling in the desert

By Gondwana Collection.

Water is a precious resource on Earth and is especially appreciated in an arid country like Namibia. Gondwana’s water recycling plants put an end to the endless sewage challenges and enabled the recycled water to be used to create gardens and nurture indigenous trees.

They discovered early on that the French drains were problematic when there was high occupancy at the lodges, sometimes leaking and overflowing, attracting mosquitoes and creating a health risk. And although water-recycling plants are costly and therefore not commonplace in Namibia, the team knew they were the answer right from the start.

In the late 1990s Founder of Gondwana Manni Goldbeck noticed the water recycling plant at Namibia Wildlife Resorts’ Hobas camp, which was one of the first recycling plants in the country, and every time he took guests to the canyon viewpoints, he would visit it. He noticed that it needed little maintenance and the recycled water kept the lawn and garden green, and he understood that it would be a solution to their sewage challenges.

He kept the dream alive and when Canyon Village was built, ensured that a water recycling plant was built for the Village and the Lodge. Doctor Lambert from Aqua Services designed the system and they were contracted to install it. As it was an expensive undertaking, Gondwana negotiated with them that they would do as much as possible themselves to bring the cost down.

When Namib Desert Lodge was build, it was obvious that they could not do without one. Namib Rest Camp’s French drain was close to the reception area and although it fed a huge and happy marula tree that provided shade for more than twenty cars, it was not a practical sewage option.

It followed that once the water recycling plant was in place an indigenous garden could be grown. Over the years the exotic plants and trees were removed to be replaced by indigenous flora. This was not done randomly. Jo Tagg and Dr Chris Brown, valued members of the team’s environmental committee at the time, researched which trees occurred in the area and visited nurseries countrywide purchasing the saplings. It is thanks to their initiative and visionary approach that Namib Desert Lodge became home to an indigenous oasis, attracting a rich and varied bird life

Today, 90% of Gondwana’s lodges have water-recycling plants, which not only provide cleaner solutions for waste water, but nurture gardens and green deserts.


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