Scientific research must address real problems: Mutorwa

22 Oct 2013 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 22 OCT (NAMPA) - The results of scientific research should not only be attached to people’s Curricula Vitae (CVs), but should be used to address and solve real problems which affect human lives and ecosystems.
The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa made this call to scientists and researchers during the first regional inception meeting on ‘Groundwater Resources Governance in Trans-boundary Aquifers of the Stampriet-Kalahari/Karoo Aquifer Case Study’ here on Tuesday.
The meeting was organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
“Research and investigations are very important, but mostly only attached to CVs, which has no impact on the ordinary person. Findings must have specific objectives and we must use the results to solve practical problems in the search for the truth,” he noted.
Mutorwa pointed out the discovery of underground water in 2007 near Eenhana in the Ohangwena Region by Namibian and German scientists. The water source is reportedly thousands of years old, and has the capacity to supply enough drinking water to supply central-north Namibia for up to 400 years.
Hydro-geologists at the time of the discovery warned that careless drilling could threaten the supply. In some areas there are layers containing saline water overlapping the freshwater aquifer and if the drilling is mismanaged, the salt water could contaminate the source.
Speaking about the latest developments on the underground water, Mutorwa said further investigations, observations and assessments are required to determine its exact extent.
“Government wants to make the message clear - we will support research and activities through funding,” he added.
The aims of the meeting are improving the scientific understanding of the Stampriet trans-boundary aquifer (which is shared by Namibia, Botswana and South Africa); improving capacity and education on groundwater; and facilitating joint management of the life-giving and life-sustaining water resource.
The meeting, which ends on Thursday, is being attended by water experts from Botswana, South Africa and Namibia.