Analysis of Water Conflicts in Erongo, Namibia - a Political Ecology Approach

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Namibia is the fourth uranium producing nation in the world and at the same time, one of the most arid regions of sub-Saharan Africa. Recognizing that mineral extraction consumes vast amount of water, the influence of water abstraction of the mines to the local water usage was scrutinized in this thesis. The focus of this research is to analyze the conflict over water consumption between the local communities and mines in Erongo region and to examine the interrelation of the political structure and water degradation in Namibia. The research approach adopted in this dissertation includes qualitative data analysis of three case studies; Topnaar community, Swakop farmers and Valencia farm owners. To fulfill the research aim, conflict analysis was used to define the stage of the conflict escalation, the characteristic of the conflict and institutional framework that has the potential to transform the conflict. Political Ecology was applied as theoretical framework to understand the interrelationship between the environmental degradation and political situation by examining how inequality and uneven power distribution affect the right to use of natural resource. Keywords: political ecology, environmental conflict, water demand, topnaar, conflict analysis, water act, mining, environmental degradation, water supply.

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