Namibia: Officials Trained in Groundwater Management

NAMIBIAN and Angolan government officials responsible for groundwater data collection and management are undergoing four days of transboundary training.

These technocrats include field technicians, hydrologists, database managers and middle to senior level management personnel.

The virtual training programme is a result of the memorandum of understanding signed in May 2020 between the Cuvelai Watercourse Commission (CuveCom), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Groundwater Management Institute in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

The SADC Groundwater Management Institute promotes sustainable conjunctive surface and groundwater management, and provides solutions to challenges faced by countries in the region.

The training, which started on Tuesday and ends tomorrow, is being hosted by the University of the Free State.

It aims to equip participants with an understanding of data needs for groundwater assessment and management and the ability to collect essential data from boreholes, among others.

Established in 2014, CuveCom is a Namibia-Angola initiative to promote the sustainable use of the Cuvelai-Etosha Basin, a water course shared by the two countries.

The basin originates in the southern highlands of Angola and flows down to north-central Namibia.

CuveCom identified training in the area of groundwater data collection as one of the priority needs for its member states.

The role of groundwater in building climate resilience has come to the fore in recent years, but the systems are not adequately understood, largely due to lack of data on aspects of availability, quality, quantity and abstraction, the commission stated.

The capacity-building project, among other deliverables, produced the SADC framework for groundwater data collection and management, while making use of existing technical guidelines. The content of the training will be based on this framework.

The programme manager for the Oshakati-based CuveCom secretariat, Silvanus Uunona, told The Namibian last Wednesday that the workshop will help participants understand data collection and management from groundwater sources such as the Ohangwena Aquifer II, which is being recharged in Angola.

Two boreholes have been drilled into the aquifer at Omundaungilo village in Ohangwena region, and water is being piped to nearby villages and schools.

In Namibia, the Cuvelai-Etosha basin covers the Oshana, Omusati, Oshikoto and parts of Otjozondjupa regions.

The basin faces a number of challenges which include the unsustainable use of its natural resources such as water, fish, and reeds, as well as urbanisation due to population growth.

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