Water infrastructure against wildlife conflict

11 November 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT



WINDHOEK

Water infrastructure has been upgraded in the Kunene Region to assist in managing human-wildlife conflict and to enhance community livelihoods.

It will be inaugurated and handed over by the environment ministry in collaboration with the German government through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) at the Okonjota Waterpoint in Kunene on Friday.

According to a joint statement, the growing wildlife population, in particular elephants, has resulted in frequent human-wildlife conflicts within the region and therefore requires urgent intervention.

“Increased human-wildlife conflict incidences result in livestock and crop losses, damage to water infrastructure and, in some instances, loss of human lives.”

N$7m in upgrades

The handover consists of the upgrade of 18 boreholes, to the tune of N$7 million.

This will entail the rehabilitation and cleaning of boreholes to ensure maximum pumping efficiency and installing of U-PVC casings to protect boreholes from potential blockages by mud, grass and tree roots.

It will also include the replacement of diesel with solar pumping systems to remove the burden of procuring diesel and to ensure sufficient water availability for people, livestock and wildlife at no cost to the community.

Elephant protection walls

Furthermore, walls will be constructed to protect the solar panels against potential damage by elephants as well as elephant dams to ensure water is provided for the animals.

“Even though it is impossible to completely eradicate human-wildlife conflict in Namibia, the ministry is implementing proactive strategies to manage the conflicts effectively and efficiently,” the statement read.

The upgrade of the water infrastructure marks yet another milestone in the ongoing corporation between Germany and Namibia, particularly in the areas of sustainable management of natural resources. This development also demonstrates the commitment of both governments in mitigating the impacts of human-wildlife conflict on the livelihoods of people.

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