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Home The River Basin People and the River Governance Resource Management
Resource Management
Water Demand
 Water Demand Management
 Availability of Water
 Water Use & Allocation
Domestic Use
 Agricultural Use
 Mining & Industry
 Recreation & Tourism
 Hydroelectric Power Generation
 Registration & Allocation
 Environmental Flows
 Climate Change & Impact
 Conservation and Re-use
Water Infrastructure
The Value of Water
Resource Monitoring
Research & Development



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Domestic Use  

Access to adequate water supply is recognised as a fundamental need and human right, and has considerable health and economic benefits for households and individuals. Water is a basic ecosystem service, necessary to enable sustainable life and livelihoods.

Urban water use is often grouped with industrial water use because urban centres are often near industrial centres. Similarly, rural water use is sometimes grouped with livestock watering requirements, again because of the proximity of the activities. Both urban and rural water uses include domestic water needs.

The two major factors affecting the future of water use and demand are human consumption and irrigation. The key uncertainties in forecasting the growth in domestic demand include:

  • Rising per capita consumption with improved socio-economic conditions;
  • Population growth from high birth rates;
  • Demographic effect of HIV/AIDS; and
  • Patterns of migration from rural to urban areas.

The demand for water in urban and rural areas is further influenced by:

  • Cost of water development and services;
  • Technological choices based on the socio-economic situation of water users; and
  • Climate.



According to the Water Sector and Sanitation Development Strategy the water supply situation in 29 urban centres which together include about 25 % of total population in Angola is characterised by a decline of the coverage with water supply services from about 75 % in 1991 to 51 % in 2006. Of these only 16 % have piped household connections while the majority are dependant on public stand posts and truck-tank delivery.

Boys collecting drinking water at public water source.
Source: Tump 2007
( click to enlarge )

The average installed capacity is assessed to be about 42 L/c/d (liter per capita per day) with actual consumption at about 20 L/c/d. Unaccounted for water (UFW) is estimated to be a s high as 50 to 60 % of the water volumes produced.

Many of the urban centres rely on the groundwater as water supply source. In Huambo households without access to piped supplies are often obtaining water from hand-dug shallow boreholes. Often hand pumps and accompanying infrastructure such as sinks for washing laundry and bathrooms, have been installed at these boreholes with support of the national Directorate of Water (DNA).


According to WHO/UNICEF figures for 2008 about 38 % of the rural population have access to an improved drinking water source. The rural water supply is mainly provided by a network of approximately 3 300 water points. A large number of which is out of operation due to lack of maintenance and spare parts. Thus, a significant proportion of the population is collecting water for domestic use from surface sources which often involves covering considerable distances to collect small amounts of water.

Drinking Water Sources

Drinking water is provided by the following sources

  • Protected sources: taps or public fountains, piped water directly in dwellings or yards, boreholes, protected wells or rain water (if immediately consumed).
  • Unprotected sources: lakes, rivers and streams, chimpacas and/or cacimbas and water trucks.

Almost all of the communities use an unprotected water source: 61 % use water from river or lake, 15 % from an unprotected well and less than 5 % of the sample communities have access to a protected water source. In Kunene, Huila and Namibe more than 50 % of the households use water from a protected water source, but in Kunene 25 % drink water from chimpacas, often shared with the animals.

Use of water by animals and humans is better managed in Namibe and Huila than other provinces. Nearly 90 % of the sampled communities in Kunene Province use the same water sources as the animals. In Huila and Namibe, at least in 30 % of the communities’ water sources are completely separated between animals and humans.
For most of the households (79 %) the water source is within 30 minutes walk from home but 20 % of the households need one hour or more to reach the water source. The situation is good in Namibe, where 85-95 % of the households
live within half an hour of the source. On the other hand, in Kunene Province, the water source is at least one hour away for 62 % of the households.

Source: World Food Programme 2005

Public water tap in rural area of Kunene River basin.
Source: Tump 2007
( click to enlarge )

Kunene River Basin

Of the 3.5 Million people living in the 3 largest provinces (Kunene, Huambo and Huila) in the Kunene River basin about 3.02 Million (19 % of Angola's total population) lived within the basin boundaries in 2005.

The average urban population in these three provinces has been estimated at 22 % in 2005 (SWECO Grøner). The same distribution between urban and rural population has thus been assumed for the Kunene basin in Angola.

The total consumption for domestic water use of the urban and rural population within the Kunene River basin of Angola was 23.2 Million m³ (15.6 % of total domestic demand in Angola) in 2005, which amounts to an average consumption value of 21 litres per capita and day.

These values are in line with the Water Sector Strategy Paper of 2003 that estimates an average consumption value of 15 to 25 litres per capita per day for predominantly rural areas.

Population in Kunene Basin Provinces in Angola

Province Total Population
Urban Population
Rural Population
Kunene 456 14 86
Huambo 1 508 27 73
Huila 1 552 19 81
Total 3 516 22 78
Kunene River Basin 3 021 22 78

Source: SWECO Grøner 2005.

Administrative boundaries in the Kunene River basin.
Source: AHT GROUP AG 2010
( click to enlarge )


Urban and rural demand, account for just under 25 % of total demand, within Namibia. In Namibia, water supply is separated into:

  • Bulk water supply, which is undertaken by the parastatal, NamWater, selected Local Authorities such as Tsumeb, Otavi, etc.;
  • Rural water supply which is undertaken mainly by the Directorate of Rural Water Supply in conjunction with rural communities as well as commercial farmers; and
  • Private water development which is undertaken by mines, commercial farmers and tourist lodges.

The following priority ranking has been given to the allocation of water where there are competing demands:

  • First priority: Water for domestic purposes, including livestock watering for both subsistence and commercial farming;
  • Second priority: Water for economic activities such as mining, industries and irrigation. Priorities for these activities will in each individual case have to be determined by their respective value in relation to the overall development objectives and plans for the country.


The urban demand for domestic water use by 905 000 people has been estimated for 2008 at approximately 66 Million m³. The highest demand figures (30 Million m³) have been estimated for the Omaruru-Swakop basin within which Windhoek (268 000 inhabitants in 2007) is located (IWRM Plan Joint Venture Namibia 2010).

The Kunene water basin (comprising the catchments of the Kunene, Khumib, Hoarusib and Hoanib rivers) was populated by approximately 7 500 people living in urban areas in 2008. The domestic water demand was estimated at about 400 000 m³ per year.

The largest water supply infrastructure system (the Calueque-Oshakati Water Supply Scheme) in Namibia abstracts water from the Kunene River and supplies water to central northern Namibia, including among others the towns of Oshakati, Ondangwa, Helao, Nafidi, and Outapi. A description of this scheme is contained in the Bulk Transfer Schemes section.


For planning purposes the Directorate of Rural Water Supply applies an average consumption figure of 25 liters per capita and day for the rural population of Namibia. Various studies have adopted this value. For 2008 the total consumption of the rural population (1 129 000 people) has been calculated at 10.3 Million m³. This corresponds to 3 % of total demand.

The largest demand (6.2 Million m³) has been assessed for the Cuvelai-Etosha basin with a population of approximately 680 000.

The water demand for the rural population of the Kunene water basin (32 700 people) was estimated at 300 000 m³ (IWRM Plan Joint Venture Namibia 2010).




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