The CuveWaters research project aims to develop and implement an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) concept which is tailored to the Cuvelai-Etosha Basin in central-northern Namibia. The main goal is to strengthen the potential of the region’s water resources by developing, adapting and implementing innovative technologies for water supply and sanitation. It supports changes in water resources management with technical measures, thus achieving an improvement in the long-term development and protection of the endogenous resource potentials of that research area.

Accompanying measures
All activities are accompanied by measures of capacity development and participation. By doing so, CuveWaters is promoting the coordinated development and management of water and land resources. Part of the cooperation with Namibia is the introduction of the Interactive Water Information and Planning Tool, which can be downloaded here IWIP [1,530 KB] . Jointly developed as a Digital Atlas of the Cuvelai-Etosha Basin by CuveWaters, BGR, GIZ and MAWF, the IWIP is intended to cover more information and Namibian regions in the future.

Social-ecological and trans-disciplinary approach
In line with its social-ecological approach, the project aims to maximize economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems. CuveWaters uses a trans-disciplinary approach in which science and technology are tied together with the everyday practical knowledge of local people. This way the active involvement of stakeholders has taken place from the very beginning. Institutional players and traditional authorities, such as village headmen, have been engaged with planning and implementation of activities.

Technologies and Multi-Resource Mix
The IWRM concept of CuveWaters is based on a multi-resource mix. This means that water is obtained from different sources and used for various purposes. Water with relatively high quality is used as drinking water; water of relatively low quality is used for the irrigation of gardens. In co-operation with the residents of three villages and one small town, the project partners implemented four different technologies: rain and floodwater harvesting, groundwater desalination and sanitation and water reuse.

Project partners and funding
CuveWaters is a German-Namibian research project led by ISOE - Institute for Social-Ecological Research in cooperation with the Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany. Main cooperation partner in Namibia are the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Outapi Town Council, University of Namibia, Polytechnic of Namibia and the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia. Partners from the German industry support the implementation of technical solutions and scientific partners from Namibian universities help to ensure that knowledge transfer takes place.
The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Duration of the project: 2006-2015

CuveWaters has successfully developed a concept for sustainable resource management which is adapted to the conditions of northern Namibia. It improves the living standard of the people and provides the means for climate change adaption. Ensuring sustainability of successfully implemented technical and management solutions through knowledge transfer and the takeover of plants and concepts by Namibian stakeholders step by step characterize the ultimate project phase.

For more information please visit:

You can watch the new CuveWaters short film on the Sanitation Project in Outapi at

CuveWaters implementation sites
CuveWaters implementation sites


Alexia Krug von Nidda
Project Coordinator
ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research
tel: +49 (0)69 707 69 19-20