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Water Demand Management
 WDM at the Basin Level
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Water Demand Management  

Water Demand Management (WDM)

WDM is a broad concept with various definitions.

  • One definition adapted by the IUCN WDM Country Study of Namibia defines WDM as follows: "A management approach for the water sector and user stressing the efficient use of existing supplies, rather than developing new ones, with the help of policies, ethical, economic, educational and technological means" (van der Merve, 1999).
  • The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, South Africa, defines WDM as “The adaptation and implementation of a strategy (policies and initiatives) by water management institutions to influence water demand and usage of water in order to meet any of the following objectives: Economic efficiency, social development, social equity, environmental protection, sustainability of water supply and services, and political acceptability” (DWAF 1999).

Currently, neither Angola nor Namibia has a comprehensive and operational countrywide approach to Water Demand Management. While policy trends include Water Demand Management, legislation and implementation strategies lag at the country level (see Table below). Despite a lack of comprehensive Water Demand Management strategies and policies, the region has established some local-level experience with pilot projects.

Water outlet from power plant at Gove dam.
Source: PJTC Kunene 2009
( click to enlarge )

Status of Water Conservation/Water Demand Management Planning and Implementation in the Kunene River Basin States

Applied in urban sector
Applied in agricultural sector
Angola No No No Extremely limited
Namibia Yes In development Comprehensive in Windhoek Limited

The success of Water Demand Management in individual countries can be crudely measured as the percentage of water unaccounted for, or lost to use or waste, between the inflow and outflow (Gumbo 2004). On this basis, success resulting from direct investment in certain WDM strategies is evidenced by advances in:

  • Water awareness campaigns;
  • Customer education;
  • Water loss management projects;
  • Individual metering of consumers;
  • Water-efficient gardening;
  • Efficient and informative billing; and
  • An appropriate management information system. (Gumbo 2004)

Effective Water Demand Management is also linked to sound financial management, an equitable standard of water services (at least 90% of the population connected) and waste water recycling and re-use. A study of Water Demand Management strategies in cities across southern Africa by (Gumbo 2004) found that Windhoek has achieved considerable success.

Both Angola and Namibia have decentralised water management and have shifted water management from the national level to the basin/community level. Angola is in the process of implementing Basin Management Authorities (Kuanza River and Kubango River) and Namibia is decentralising rural water supply to Water Point Associations (WPAs).




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