Urban water security in the city of Windhoek

Van Rensburg, Francois (2006-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2006.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Urbanisation is a complex phenomenon and is a trend witnessed across the globe. Africa particularly has been experiencing the world’s most rapid rate of urbanization and cities are faced with the resulting pressure on natural resources. Water is one of the resources under pressure and the provision thereof is complicated by the deteriorating quality and quantity thereof. This study takes a brief look at the water situation in a water scarce region in Africa and concentrates on the urban water supply sector. It takes an in depth look at the measures used to secure water supply to a city in this very dry part of the world. The area under study is Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, situated in the southwestern corner of Africa. Namibia is the driest country in Sub-Saharan Africa and is characterised by a semi-arid nature, which results in a very hot and dry climate with erratic rainfall patterns. Windhoek has a low average rainfall associated with very high evaporation rates. No permanent water bodies exist near the city and the bulk of Windhoek’s water supply comes from storage dams quite a distance from the capital. Most of these sources of supply have been developed and are nearing the limit of their potential. A desperate need therefore exists to develop reliable additional water resources to secure the water supply especially during periods of prolonged drought. The case study gives examples of the initiatives taken by water authorities to improve the security of supply and keep up with the growing demand in the city. These initiatives include a dual pipe system for the distribution of semi-purified sewage for irrigation, reclamation of domestic sewerage, aquifer recharge and the implementation of Water Demand Management principles. An analysis of the most efficient and cost-effective means of supply augmentation namely aquifer recharge, have been balanced against the potential water savings of Water Demand Management in the city. The study also takes a brief look at the principles of Integrated Water Resource Management and how it is incorporated in the strategies used to augment supply to the city. The research found aquifer recharge as the most efficient and cost-effective means to augment supply to the city and together with Water Demand Management creates an approach complying with the goals of Integrated Water Resource management. The study concludes by identifying gaps in demand management in the city. It also suggests relevant recommendations on how to increase the effectiveness of Water Demand management.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Verstedeliking is ‘n komplekse verskynsel en ‘n tendens wat regoor die wêreld voorkom. Die hoogste voorkoms van verstedeliking vind in Afrika plaas wat groot druk plaas op die natuurlike hulpbronne van stede. Water is een van die hulpbronne onder druk en die voorsiening daarvan word bemoeilik deur die verswakking van die kwaliteit en die beskikbaarheid daarvan. Hierdie studie konsentreer op die watersituasie in ‘n waterskaars streek in Afrika en die stedelike watervoorsieningssektor. Dit behels ‘n in diepte ondersoek na metodes wat gebruik word om die watervoorraad van die stad te verseker in hierdie droogte gesteisterd deel van die wêreld. Die gebied onder bespreking is Windhoek, die hoofstad van Namibië, wat geleë is in die Suidwestelike deel van Afrika. Namibië is die droogste land in die Sub-Saharastreek en word gekenmerk deur gereelde droogtes met ‘n gepaardgaande warm droë klimaat en onreëlmatige reënvalpatrone. Windhoek word gekenmerk deur ‘n lae gemiddelde reënval met ‘n baie hoë verdampingstempo. Geen permanente waterbronne kom in die nabyheid van die stad voor nie en die watervoorraad word gestoor in opgaardamme wat redelik ver van die hoofstad geleë is. Hierdie voorsieningsbronne is voortdurend in gebruik en die voorraad is beperk. Daar onstaan dus ‘n dringende behoefte aan betroubare bykomende waterbronne om voortdurende voorsiening aan die stad te verseker veral gedurende aanhoudende droogtes. Die gevallestudie konsentreer op voorbeelde en inisiatiewe wat deur die Water Owerhede geneem word om die voorsiening van water, aan die immergroeiende behoeftes van die stad te verbeter en te verseker. Hierdie pogings sluit in,‘n dubbele pyplynsisteem vir die verspreiding van halfgesuiwerde rioolwater vir besproeiingsdoeleindes, herwinning van huishoudelike rioolwater, herlaai van ondergrondse watervoorraad en die implimentering van wateraanvraag bestuursmaatreëls. Die geskiktste en mees koste-effektiewe metode van verhoogde watervoorsiening naamlik die herlaai van ondergrondse waterbronne, is ontleed, en die voordele opgeweeg teen die potensiële waterbesparing deur die Bestuur van Wateraanvraag in die stad. Daar is ook kortliks gekyk na die beginsels van Geintigreerde Water Bronne Bestuur en hoe dit by bestaande strategieë ingelyf is om uitbreiding van voorsiening aan die stad te verseker. Die navorsing het bevind dat die herlaai van ondergrondse waterbronne as die geskikste en mees koste-effektiewe metode beskou kan word om die verhoogde aanvraag van die stad die hoof te bied. Die studie word afgesluit deur die tekortkominge in die Water Aanvraagbestuur van die stad te identifiseer. Relevante aanbevelings word gemaak van hoe om die effektiwiteit van hierdie betrokke strategie te verbeter.

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