Investment in water storage changes lives in Nyae Nyae

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Staff Reporter

Windhoek-Securing water is a constant struggle in Namibia and access to it is vital. This is no different in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy and activities to develop easier access to water in the Conservancy has taken many years.

The conservancy is responsible for approximately half the village and game waterpoints in the area, which means over 20 waterpoints spread throughout the nearly 9,000 km² of the area. This is an ongoing process of investment in human capital, resources, as well as education in these communities.

It is bearing real fruit as at this moment access to water is changing lives in a very tangible way.

Accessing water in communities where there is almost none requires long term planning and solutions. The first priority is to ensure that boreholes are functioning and in turn solar submersible pumps were introduced.

An additional challenge in the conservancy are the more than 1,000 elephants in the area. Thirsty elephants looking for water would destroy the waterpoints in the past, which had to be protected from the elephants. This in turn meant also creating game waterpoints, so t the elephants still had access to water, but were kept from the human waterpoints, as well as the villages. A real challenge for all those involved.

With access to water becoming more freely available at Nyae Nyae, agricultural projects involving gardens and livestock started to take off. This immediately put pressure on the availability of water in the conservancy, especially the storage of water became a limiting factor. To remedy this, all villages have been given 5,000 or 10,000 litre tanks, depending on the village size and agricultural activities in the past few years.

With this water access, protection and storage the San community has become more motivated and active in their agricultural activities, as they can see that planting crops and other agricultural endeavours have a chance of succeeding. Water gives the Nyae Nyae Conservancy inhabitants an opportunity to see their hard work flourish and they are reaping the rewards.

#Oma naici, one of the villagers, says now he can make full use of their 6,600 m2 garden, because there is enough water.” Glao lamacea stated: “ Livestock and people can go days longer if the pump breaks and maintenance is in progress, since the tanks can store enough water for them to keep on with their activities.” Koba temi said that the water security is an opportunity for people to be clean and healthy.

These water development projects, activities and remedies have been funded, encouraged and supported by a number of donors over many years, including the MCA, EIF, Redbush, Hui-a-khoe and recently the EU Climate Change Adaptation Project. It is amazing to see the community change, thrive and develop itself further through the access to water that these projects brought.

Water has truly been a catalyst for change in the conservancy.

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