Working together to meet the water research needs of the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa.
Fresh waters provide a lifeline to both people and wildlife, but population growth and changing climate patterns are putting unprecedented pressures on these fragile water systems. In water-scarce regions like Namibia, the sustainable management of these limited resources is complex, and immediate wellbeing needs can conflict with longer term sustainability goals.
We are approaching this intractable challenge in a holistic way, bringing together multiple disciplines and points of view.
We seek to understand:
- the natural physical processes that drive water availability
- the social processes that determine the needs of a growing and economically developing population for safe and secure water
- the freshwater ecological processes that influence the sustainability of freshwater resources and the livelihoods that depend on them.
A new partnership for research
Following a successful workshop in November 2017, Cardiff University’s Water Research Institute and the Phoenix Project came together with water researchers from the University of Namibia to launch Phoenix Waters.
We identified three priority areas for water research with partners from Namibian government ministries, the water industry, and other experts.
The first priority area is water security. As an example of this, researchers are studying African cities under serious water stress, comparing the Namibian capital of Windhoek with Cape Town in South Africa.
The second area looks at Namibia’s rivers, most of which are dry for large periods of the year. As part of this work, a team from Cardiff and the University of Namibia are assessing whether new environmental DNA approaches can be used to monitor biodiversity and waterborne pathogens in rivers and other freshwater bodies.
Datasets and tools
The final priority area is understanding the datasets and tools available for water research, which will highlight what else is needed to make an impact.