The Politics of Water Scarcity in Namibia

By Dr Elijah Ngurare

God took time to create Namibia, with all its contrasting beauty, but I think He forgot to endow it with abundance of water. Perhaps in His infinite wisdom, He wanted us to display excellence in managing our scarce water resource and become the envy of other nations. Managing a scarce resource such as water presents particular challenges and opportunities.

The politics of water is often referred to as “hydropolitics”. It is politics affected by the availability of water and water resources, the basic need for all life forms and human development. The term hydropolitics was first used in the book of Dr John Waterbury titled Hydropolitics of the Nile Valley, Syracuse University Press, 1979.

Hydropolitics aside, it is a known fact that food, water, shelter and fire are a requirement for survival. However, in my view, water and shelter are the most important. My late grandfather would say “a week without water is probably the same as an hour without breathing.” That is to say, without water, there is no life, hence the expression “water is life”. Every citizen or resident of Namibia is therefore a consumer of water.