Tag Archives: Namibia

Recycling sewage into drinking water is no big deal. They’ve been doing it in Namibia for 50 years

Recycling sewage into drinking water is no big deal. They’ve been doing it in Namibia for 50 years. WUNC, December 15, 2016.

On the outskirts of Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, there’s a huge, churning vat of nasty brown liquid. It’s so stinky that my guide, the man who runs Windhoek’s water department, tells me I might want to stay in the car.

But this is what I came to see — raw sewage, on its way to being turned back into drinking water.

The Goreangab waste treatment plant is where most of the wastewater from Windhoek’s 300,000 residents ends up. But it’s not your run-of-the-mill sewage plant. It’s the first stop in the city’s pioneering water recycling system.

Cities around the world are wrestling with whether they should build facilities like this. But here, in the middle of a desert in a remote corner of southern Africa, they’ve been recycling wastewater for almost 50 years.

It’s cutting-edge technology, but it’s based on the humblest of creatures — bacteria.

Read the complete article.

Namibia: Independent UN expert urges nation to expand access to sanitation services

Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque, United Nations independent expert on the right to water and sanitation paid a week-long visit to Namibia. She noted that the country has over the past 20 years achieved significant progress in extending its water network across the country. Ms. De Albuquerque urged the Government to make similar efforts to ensure that proper sanitation is available to more people in the country. She stressed that access to water and sanitation are human rights, and while that did not mean that the two services must be offered free of charge, it meant that systems must be in place to ensure availability to those who face economic barriers to access. Water points are still far away from households and water remains too expensive. She added that community participation in the design and implementation of water and sanitation projects was indispensable.

Ms. De Albuquerque will prepare a report to be presented at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next year, describing her main findings and providing recommendations.

Read the full statement by  Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque on her mission to Namibia fom 4-11 July 2011

Learn more about the Independent Expert’s mandate and work.

Source: UN News Service / allAfrica.com, 11 July 2011

Namibia: Locally Invented Toilet to Improve Lives of Millions

Namibia: Locally Invented Toilet to Improve Lives of Millions

IN a global first, German-born Peter Arndt from the Clay House Project in Otjiwarongo has invented a new dry toilet technology which has the potential to drastically improve the lives of not only Namibians, but millions of people in the world.

One of the few taboo subjects left in the world, the toilet nevertheless sits at the centre of a global crisis in which it is estimated that at least 2,6 billion people’s lives are hugely impacted by a lack of access to proper toilet facilities.

But now, the newly improved locally produced Otji toilet, a dry degradation toilet which separates liquids from solids through a specially designed toilet bowl invented by Arndt, is set to make a real, global difference.

Arndt, the manager of the Clay House Project in Otjiwarongo, and the inventor of the Otji toilet and a new urine-diversion toilet bowl, travelled to Haiti recently to share the technology of the dry sanitation system, a subject he is passionate about and which he believes can not only improve, but save, millions of lives.

Arndt, a mechanic and social worker, has lived and worked at the Clay House Project since 2001. Together with the Clay House Trust, German government funding and constant expert exchange with his colleagues in the EcoSur network, he has focused on assisting the poor in Namibia through low-cost housing and other projects.

On his arrival in Namibia, he noted that Namibia is burdened with a “permanent disaster of poverty and drought”.

He realised that by addressing the scarcity and high cost of water for the poor, the Clay House Project had the potential of changing lives.

It is estimated that 60 per cent of all rural diseases are caused by poor hygiene from waterborne diseases, mainly due to a lack of proper toilet facilities. Moreover, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 751 million people share toilets with other households or only use public facilities. More than 1,1 billion people still defecate in open areas, in rivers or near areas where children play and food is cooked. The WHO reports that in Africa, 115 people die every hour from diseases linked to poor sanitation, poor hygiene and contaminated water.

The World Toilet Organisation (WTO) recently noted that “in future, the flush toilet will become extinct. It makes no sense to flush excreta with precious drinking water …” a statement Arndt wholeheartedly agrees with.

“The flush toilet is outdated. It does not make sense to flush away all that money,” he says.

Although for the middle and upper classes flush toilets might seem the norm, Arndt says that in fact, “worldwide, flush toilets are not the norm. Fifty percent of people do not have it, and will never have it.”

In Europe the dry toilet movement is catching on. Arndt says the perception of dry toilets as smelly pit latrines is rapidly changing.

“Flush toilets are very expensive. We should not look at the ordinary pit latrine as a smelly place. The advanced dry toilet systems have no link to the old pit latrine.”

Arndt developed and produced the Otji toilet, a patented name and product of Namibia, in 2002.

The Otji toilet was a new step in dry sanitation technology, produced from cheap, locally available resources and largely maintenance free. It consists of a dry toilet in a specially designed framework cabin made of locally and cheaply available resources. Two containers are installed underground in a concrete lined cavity. What makes the system unique, and extremely hygienic and efficient, is the ventilation system invented by Arndt, which ensures that the liquid is filtrated into the ground and the solids are dried by a black steel lid that is attached to a ventilation pipe at the back of the above-ground cabin.

The Otji toilet is odourless, hygienic and offers new and affordable hope and Arndt and his colleagues have continuously looked at ways to improve and develop the product.

An Otji toilet saves as much as 90 000 litres of drinking water a year and means extra cash savings for poor households. Currently, the Clay House factory has the capacity to produce around 5 000 toilets a year, in a colourful factory in Orwetoveni, Otjiwarongo.

One issue has plagued the dry sanitation sector, namely the tricky problem of separating the solids from the liquids. The issue of separating the two would further improve the dry toilet system, because dry solids degrade quickly when liquid is immediately separated from it, further improving the hygiene factor of the toilet.

A year and a half ago, Arndt had a flash of insight during his December vacation.

Since then, Arndt has designed the first urine-separating toilet bowl to be used in dry toilet systems globally: the “urine-catching toilet bowl”. Ninety per cent of the fluids that hit the side of the toilet bowl are immediately separated in a “trench” system and filtered into a pipe away from the solids. The rest of the liquids still contained in the solids evaporate rapidly due to the sun-based ventilation system. In addition, these bowls are built of cement, which has done away with the need of making either plastic or ceramic bowls associated with high costs and the need to be imported. They are produced by the Clay House Project at Otjiwarongo.

Arndt’s Otji toilet, including the urine-catching bowl made of cement, is now on its way to Haiti, where Arndt will demonstrate the technology to 20 volunteers who will then be able to introduce and spread this vital invention to struggling Haitans.

The advantages of the Otji toilet with its urine-separating toilet bowl are numerous: It is odourless and extremely hygienic due to the sun-heated ventilation system. It is a user-friendly system and requires no maintenance, as the solids captured beneath the ground are separated from the liquids and can infiltrate the ground directly. The urine is diverted through a pipe into a separate underground area, and because it is separated from the solids it remains odourless and presents no potential ground contamination.

The fact that the improved Otji toilet is now maintenance free is vital, especially in remote, rural areas where access by maintenance teams is difficult, Arndt explained. Because of these unique aspects, Arndt says he is hopeful that “in the next year, it will spread worldwide.”

Source – allAfrica, July 5, 2010

Namibia – Bucket Toilets Are No More in Aranos

WINDHOEK – The village of Aranos in the Hardap Region no longer has the bucket toilet system, unlike other village councils like Gibeon in the same region.

The last of the bucket toilet system was phased out in 1995 and was replaced by the pumping or slopping system, whereby each house has its own drain.

According to the chief executive officer of the village, Niklaas !Goraseb, all residents that built their houses through the build-together programme were able to build a toilet.

The informal settlements at the town have the Ecological Sanitation System, also known as the EcoSan system, or dry toilets, which do not use water.

!Goraseb said 40 EcoSan toilets were already built for the informal township, while 40 more are earmarked for building.

The CEO however said the village would be better off if it had the flowing sewerage system whereby the sewerage goes straight to a central sewerage pond and thus phase out the sewerage collection by trucks.

“Although the pumping system is better than the old bucket system, it is also costly as the trucks have to be replaced or maintained every three years,” !Goraseb said.

According to !Goraseb, the tanks carrying the sewerage are damaged by the urine in the sewerage and thus have to be replaced often, which is a costly exercise.

He said installing the flowing system would be very costly for the small village. A feasibility study by one engineering company gave a quote of N$12,5 million.

“We sent the quotation to the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development last month already and are waiting to hear from his office,” he said.

Another plan that the village has is to build a dam, so that it has its own water and does not depend too much on NamWater for water.

Aranos is inhabited by around 7 000 people of whom 60 percent are unemployed.

!Goraseb noted that some of the inhabitants depend on casual work on neighbouring farms.

The village has five schools, a hospital, police station, a court, an agricultural and veterinary office, Pep Stores, Nampost and an Agra store.

Source – New Era

Namibia – Roads Toilet Debate Revived

WINDHOEK – The idea of erecting flushable ablution facilities along the national road network is still alive, and the final decision will be made next month on whether or not to go ahead with the plan.

Roads Authority, together with the Ministry of Works and Transport, will embark on a second public consultation meeting to solicit public interest, to decide whether to scrap the idea or implement it. The first meeting took place in Windhoek in September last year.

Roads Authority, which is entrusted with information gathering, say they are planning another consultative meeting outside Windhoek. This will be the second consultative meeting since the idea of public toilets along the national road was mooted.

“The idea is not dead, we only have to consult with stakeholders after which a decision would be taken,” said spokesperson for Roads Authority, Audrin Mathe.

In September last year, the Minister of Works and Transport, Helmut Angula, proposed the idea to Cabinet, citing the dilemma facing motorists along the country’s vast and long tarred roads.

Cabinet instructed his ministry to look into the problem and the result was for Government to seriously consider modern measures that will relieve motorists and passengers when nature calls while travelling along the country’s long-distance roads.

The proposal is that ablution facilities of flushable nature, and not the pit latrine type, be constructed along the entire national tarred road network, at intervals of at least 20-kilometre distance.

Read More – New Era

Namibia: Rural Sanitation Services Now Under Agriculture Ministry

Cabinet has endorsed the implementation of the Revised Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Policy (WSASP-2008) and the transfer of the provision of sanitation services in rural communal areas to the Directorate of Rural Water Supply in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF). This function resorted under the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS).

[A]ccessibility to safe water for the rural population increased from 43 percent in 1991 to 80 percent in 2001, but adequate sanitation only increased from 16 percent in 1992 to 18.9 percent in 2000.

[…] The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in collaboration with the ministries of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development (MRLGHRD), and Health and Social Services will draft a strategic plan on sanitation and budget for it.

Read more: Wezi Tjaronda, New Era, 17 Oct 2008

Namibia: Today Is Hand Washing Day

By Petronella Sibeene, WINDHOEK

Today, Namibia joins the rest of the world in commemorating the first ever Global Hand Washing Day.  (…)

In Namibia, the main event is scheduled to take place in the Ohangwena Region today.  (…)

Namibia, particularly the northern regions, have just come out of a cholera outbreak that claimed 37 lives. In addition, in the Kunene Region, only 2 236 cases of acute diarrhoea were reported at different health facilities with 10 cases being confirmed as cholera.  (…)

“It is a very important day for Namibia especially that we have just come out of a cholera situation. We are advocating the washing of hands with soap to kill the bacteria or germs,” the Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Richard Kamwi told New Era. (…)

Read all NewEra.com

Namibia: A Toilet With No Tang

Close to 400 households in Otjiwarongo were recently fortunate recipients of the environmentally-friendly dry toilets labelled the Otji-toilet in Orwetoveni.

The facilities were handed over to the households in the central town by the European Commission (EC) in Namibia.


The dry toilet system has the capacity to save households at least in the margin of N$100 per month through cutting-out operating and maintenance cost, said Peter Arndt, project manager of the Clay House Project – a European-funded project providing reasonable housing made out of clay.


After a few months […] accumulated solids are collected by the municipality for dumping at the sewage plant.


The toilets were installed at the behest of the Municipality of Otjiwarongo after the town approached the EC with the idea in the hope that it will cut costs on water and sewerage plans at the town.

Source: John Ekongo, New Era (Windhoek) / allAfrica.com, 12 Aug 2008

Namibia – Water, Sanitation Policy Reviewed

More than US$350 million will be needed for Namibia to attain Vision 2030’s long-term targets for sanitation services and improved water supply.

According to 2001 statistics, 78 percent of rural folk still answer to nature’s call in the bush. Only 12 percent have access to proper toilets, while 10 percent use non-improved facilities. Although the situation of urban dwellers looks better because 70 percent are estimated to have adequate sanitation facilities while 17 percent still use the bush, the urban coverage is decreasing due to growing informal settlements.

Regarding water, 98 percent of the urban population has access to safe water, while in the rural areas the coverage is 80 percent.

With estimates that 73 percent of the population projected at 2.8 million in 2030 will be living in urban settlement, more facilities will be needed to cater for them. The improvement of water supply will require US$92 million, while sanitation services will need US$288 million, for the country to attain long-term goals of Vision 2030.

More – NewEra

Namibia: French Give N$365000 for Toilets

Donations aimed at helping thousands of Namibians who were severely affected by floods in most northern parts of the country continue to pour in.

On Friday, the French government donated N$365000 to the Namibia Red Cross Society to be channelled towards the construction of toilets. Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Libertina Amathila, received the donation.

Lack of toilet facilities in the north is of concern to health officials especially after the regions this year reported cholera and acute diarrhoea outbreaks. French Ambassador to Namibia, Philippe Bossière, says the donation is in response to President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s emergency call to the international community earlier this year to assist flood-hit regions in the recovery period.

More – New Era