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Lessons from Namibia's Innovative Water System

A convoy of fuel trucks blocks the single-lane road, moving in a close herd. Warm air floods through the window. The scenery drags past mountains and thorny acacia. A gravel road leads to the S. Von Bach dam. It is one of three dams supplying Windhoek with water, and it is nearly empty.

Windhoek’s water problem

For Windhoek, home to Namibia’s industry and 20 per cent of its 2.3 million people, this is an intractable problem. The national utility, NamWater, says the city has six months of water left. After that, it will be up to people’s ingenuity to keep the taps dripping. But drought is nothing new in Namibia. The only consistent rivers form the country’s northern and southern borders. Its ephemeral rivers only flow when it floods, looking like lazy brown snakes with full bellies lounging on a parched and cracked countryside.

World Bank

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