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Innovative watereuse in Outapi

The town of Outapi, formerly Ombalantu, situated in the Omusati region, was chosen as the site to implement a novel sanitation system reclaiming water irrigation. The processing plant is expected to be officially handed over this Friday, 8 November.
The project team of CuveWaters, led by ISOE – the Institute for Social Ecological Research, has succeeded in turning waste water into a resource by processing waste water from sanitation facilities to be used for agricultural purposes.
The project partners TU Darmstadt (Institute IWAR), Bilfinger Water Technologies and the ISOE presented the sanitation concept at the just-ended 9th IWA International Water-Reuse Conference which took place in Windhoek.
The project partners said water as a natural resource is coming under increasing pressure due to climate change, a rapidly growing population and the exodus from rural areas.
Approximately 850,000 people live in the central northern part of the country and about 40% of the total population in urban areas do not have access to adequate sanitary facilities. In order to improve the situation for the population, the Namibian Sanitation Strategy recommends using efficient flushing toilets in conjunction with innovative waste water technologies.
As a result, the CuveWaters team has developed a novel sanitation concept and a vacuum system within the framework of an integrated water resources management strategy. The sanitary facilities are part of a complex disposal, treatment and re-use system that has been developed together with the local population and with Namibian partners from both the government and the private sector.
A vacuum system transports the waste water from settlements in Outapi to a processing plant where it is purified. A multi-step purification process produces hygienically proven irrigation water. Together with the nutrients, the purified water is then used in the fields. A farmers’ cooperative works this land and sells the crops at local markets.
The innovative concept is not just ideal for small rural settlements, but also opens up completely new perspectives for rapidly growing urban areas in particular. Within this context it is vitally important to involve the local population, as well as training and educating them.
“Together with the Community Health Clubs which have arisen locally and which help people with hygiene issues, CuveWaters also makes sure that knowledge transfer takes place, in addition to technology transfer,” said project leader Thomas Kluge of ISOE.
“Altogether, this allows us to improve the living conditions of the population over the long term and make a contribution to reaching the millennium goals, which also include safeguarding health,” he added.
Outapi is home to 4,600 people, of whom 1,500 have been using the new sanitary facilities in a pilot project since the beginning of 2013.

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