Millions for drought control and water management

French donation kick-starts project

14 June 2021 | Disasters

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

Namibia has received more than N$8 million in seed funding for a groundwater management and drought management project in the Omusati and Kunene regions.

The 50 000-euro (N$830 000) contribution was made towards the project by the French Geological Survey (BRGM).

The entire project implementation is estimated to cost about 8 million euro and mobilisation of the needed funds is under way through BGRM.

An agreement between the BRGM, the agriculture ministry and the environment ministry was signed in this regard on Friday.

Executive director in the tourism ministry Teofilus Nghitila said AFD and BGRM had pledged to support Namibia to carry out groundwater studies, exploration and management in the Kunene and Omusati regions.

The technical cooperation is a two-year project and it aims to strengthen the capacity of the Namibian government in water management and drought control.

Climate change

Executive director for agriculture Percy Misika said Namibia experiences frequent droughts that can lead to a water-supply crisis for human and animal consumption.

He said the project would include comprehensive training and capacity development adapted to the needs of Namibian operations.

It will furthermore focus on assessing the climate-change impact on aquifer recharge in Omusati and Kunene and the development of a planning map of groundwater abstraction for these regions.

“These regions have continuously experienced severe droughts and as we speak are still experiencing the effects of climate variations leading to lower-than-average rainfall,” said Misika.

Worse to come

Nghitila further pointed out that rainfall is unequally distributed in the country.

“Average annual precipitation varies from over 600 mm per year in the area of the Zambezi in the extreme north-east to less than 50 mm per year in the south and in the west of the country,” he said.

He added that Namibia regularly experiences droughts, and long-term forecasts indicate that the situation will worsen because of climate change.

Paradoxically, the risks of floods will increase during the wet season, he added.