Integrated land and water management: policy and institutional issues

Namibia is known to be the most arid country south of the Sahara. Average annual rainfall is not only relatively low in most parts of the country, it is also highly variable. Only 8 per cent of the country receives enoug
Namibia is known to be the most arid country south of the Sahara. Average annual rainfall is not only relatively low in most parts of the country, it is also highly variable. Only 8 per cent of the country receives enough rain during a normal rainy season to practice rainfed cultivation. At the same time between 60 per cent and 70 per cent of the population depend on subsistence agro-pastoralism in non-freehold or communal areas. Against the background of rising unemployment, the livelihoods of the majority of these people are likely to depend on natural resources in the foreseeable future.
Natural resources generally are under considerable strain. As the rural population increases, so is the demand for natural resources, land and water specifically. Dependency on subsistence farming which is the result of large scale rural poverty exacerbates the problem. Large parts of the country are stocked injudiciously, resulting in overgrazing and water is frequently overabstracted, leading to declining water tables (MET 2005: 2).
Unequal access to both land and water has prompted government to introduce reforms in these sectors. These reforms were guided by the desire to manage resources more sustainably while providing more equal access to them. In terms of NDP 2, sustainability means to use natural resources in such a way so as not to ‘compromise the ability of future generations to make use of these resources’ (NDP 2: 595).
Immediately after Independence government started reform processes in the land and water sectors. However, these reforms have happened at different paces and largely independent of each other. Increasingly policy makers and development practitioners realised that land and water management needed to be integrated, as decisions about land management and land use options had a direct impact on water resources. Conversely the availability of water sets the parameters for what is possible in terms of agricultural production and other land uses. The north-central regions face a particular challenge in this regard as the region carries more livestock than it can sustain in the long run. At the same time, close to half the households do not own any livestock. Access to livestock by these households would improve their abilities to cultivate their land more efficiently in order to feed themselves and thus reduce poverty levels.
But livestock are a major consumer of water. In 2000 livestock was consuming more water than the domestic sector. The figures were 77Mm3/a and 67Mm3/a respectively (Urban et al. 2003 Annex 7: 2). This situation has prompted a Project Progress Report on the Namibia Water Resources Management Review in 2003 to conclude that Given the extreme water scarcity in most parts of the country, land and water issues are closely linked. It therefore seems indispensable to mutually adjust land – and water sector reform processes (Ibid: 20).
This paper will briefly look at four  institutions that are central to land and water management with a view to assess the extent to which they interact. These are Communal Land Boards, Water Point Committees, Traditional Authorities and Regional Councils. A discussion of relevant policy documents and legislative instruments will investigate whether the existing policy framework
provides for an integrated approach or not. Before doing this, it appears sensible to briefly situate these four institutions in the wider maze of institutions operating at regional and
sub-regional level. All these institutions – important as they are in the quest to improve participation at the regional and sub-regional level – are competing for time and input fros mallscale farmers.
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Author:Wolfgang Werner
Series (Serial Number):CuveWaters Papers (1)
Publisher:Inst. for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE)
Place of publication:Frankfurt/Main
Document Type:Working Paper
Year of Completion:2007
Year of first Publication:2007
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2013/02/20
HeBIS PPN:332027651
Institutes:Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung (ISOE)
Dewey Decimal Classification:710 Städtebau, Raumplanung, Landschaftsgestaltung
Licence (German):License Logo Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen

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