Local governance and water resource management: experiences from Northern Namibia
Like many semi-arid countries in Africa, Namibia has been experiencing water shortage for a long period of time. Prior to its independence in 1990, most of Namibia's water points -namely, the boreholes- served white-Namibians (about 7% of the national population of predominantly German descent) and their commercial farming areas. But their water needs have been satisfied at the expense of those indigenous Namibians and their communal areas (where some 80% of the national population originates). Independence, however, brought with it a new hope for the indigenous population: since 1990, the government has been working diligently to reform the country's local governance, and make local government agencies more effective, efficient and responsive to common people and their needs. This article sheds light on how, within the background of the government's decentralisation efforts, the management and distribution of water resources have changed in an independent Namibia, reporting findings from research conducted in a newly emerged village council in the north of the country. Drawing on historical and contemporary practices, we describe and analyse the role of decentralised local government in water resource management in northern Namibia, where today, more than 50% of the national population (i.e. the indigenous Oshiwambo-speaking people) resides. Keywords: local governance, water resource management, Namibia.
Public Administration and Development