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Resource Management
Water Demand
 Water Demand Management
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Water Use & Allocation
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Water Use and Allocation  

The water resources of the Kunene River basin are largely used for irrigation, stock supply, mining, power generation and domestic consumption. The industrial water use in the basin is relatively low. Irrigation is the major water use sector in Angola (90 % of total consumption) and Namibia (40 %).


The largest water user in Angola is the irrigation sector (about 340 000 hectares irrigated land) with 90 % of the national water use followed by the domestic use of urban and rural population.

Angola's Water Sector Development Strategy aims to increase urban consumption to 70 litres per inhabitant and day (L/c*d), by increasing production to 90 L/c*d in all centres and reducing losses to 23 %. If these targets are achieved, and assuming an annual urban population growth rate of 2.9 % (to reach 11 million), gross domestic urban consumption would reach about 360 Million m³/yr by 2015. If the irrigated area by then is under full production, with additional development and rehabilitation of up to 783 000 ha, irrigation demand could reach 10 150 Million m³ in 2015 (SWECO Grøner 2005).

Non-consumptive uses of water include river navigation, fishing and recreation, but the largest non-consumptive use is hydro-power generation. Angola has considerable hydropower potential, estimated at 75 600 GWh per annum (which equals 15 000 MW capacity installed). Until today only 1 105 GWh of this potential has been developed and not all of the power stations are in operation.

Matala weir.
Source: Vogel 2010
( click to enlarge )


In 2008 Namibia abstracted about 334 Million m³ of freshwater from groundwater resources, perennial and ephemeral rivers per year. 45 % of the total supply was provided from surface water resources with 20 % from perennial rivers and 25 % from ephemeral rivers.

The agricultural sector is the major water user in Namibia, around two thirds (222 Million m³/yr in 2008) of all water in the country is consumed by this sector. The commercial agricultural sector consumes about 60 % and the communal farmers about 40 % within the agricultural sector. 80 % of the water use in commercial agriculture was accounted for by irrigation requirements and 20 % by livestock. In communal agriculture 53 % of water demand was needed for irrigation and 47 % for livestock. The area under irrigation in 2008 was 9 847 ha corresponding to an average volume of about 13 700 m3 per ha irrigated land (IWRM Plan Joint Venture Namibia, 2010).

Water use for livestock includes the water consumed by wildlife. The number of equivalent large stock units varies between 3.5 and 5 million, depending on the precipitation and grazing conditions.

The second largest group of water users is domestic users, in 2008 urban and rural households accounted for 23 % of water demand in Namibia. Urban households, comprising only a third of the population, were responsible for 70 to 75% of total domestic water demand. Mining activities used about 5 % of all freshwater resources consumed in Namibia in 2008 (IWRM Plan Joint Venture Namibia, 2010).

Namibia does not have heavy industries; service industries and their water consumption is included in the urban and rural domestic water consumption.

Water Use by Sector

Angola Namibia
Consumption Consumption
Mm³/yr % of Total Mm³/yr % of Total
Irrigation 2 851 90 135 40
Livestock 105 3 87 26
Mining 60 2 16 5
Urban 149* 5 66 20
Rural Domestic n.a. n.a. 10 3
Tourism n.a. n.a. 20 6
3 165

* includes domestic water use by rural population
Source: adapted from SWECO Grøner, 2005; IWRM Plan Joint Venture Namibia, 2010




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