Success Factors and Challenges of Water Reuse for Agricultural Irrigation in Central Northern Namibia

11. Mai 2023, 16:00 Uhr - 17:00 Uhr

Eawag Dübendorf, room FC-C20 & Online

Dr.-Ing. Martin Zimmermann, Water Infrastructure and Risk Analyses, ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research, Frankfurt, Germany


The talk presents an overview of applied research projects that demonstrate the potential for water reuse for agricultural irrigation, contributing to a more sustainable and water-efficient resource management in central northern Namibia.

The first case study highlights the implementation of technical measures to improve water quality in waste stabilization ponds for irrigation purposes, ultimately contributing to increased fodder crop production. In addition to these technical measures, the project established an informal network of local and regional authorities in northern Namibia to promote sustainable wastewater management and water reuse. This project showcases the importance of upgrading existing wastewater infrastructure and fostering collaboration among stakeholders to meet the growing demand for water resources in agriculture.

The second case study showcases innovative wastewater collection and treatment processes in urban areas and informal settlements, supporting the production of fruits and vegetables with a multi-barrier approach to ensure safety. This project emphasizes the need for context-specific solutions that consider the unique challenges faced by rapidly growing urban centers and their surrounding agricultural communities.

The presentation also introduces current research aimed at developing a national water reuse strategy for Namibia in collaboration with national stakeholders. The discussion will delve into the implications and opportunities of water reuse on a nationwide scale, emphasizing the essential pillars of technology, governance, and capacity development for a sustainable future. The talk aims to share experiences, best practices, and challenges encountered in these projects and will emphasize the importance of stakeholder involvement and continued innovation in addressing the complex challenges of water scarcity and sustainable resource management in arid regions like Namibia.

Martin Zimmermann is a research scientist at ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research in Frankfurt am Main and has been head of the research unit Water Infrastructure and Risk Analyses since 2018. He studied civil engineering and economics at Technische Universität Darmstadt with a focus on environmental, spatial, and infrastructural planning. He obtained his PhD in the DFG postgraduate school Topology of Technology and the Institute IWAR at TU Darmstadt with a thesis on sustainable transformations of central northern Namibia’s water supply system. After this, he has been working as a postdoc at the chair of Human-Environment Relations, Department of Geography, University of Munich.