Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 99, Issue 1–3, pp 161–168 | Cite as

How Community Action, Science and Common Sense can Work Together to Develop an Alternative Way to Combat Desertification

  • Shirley BethuneEmail author
  • Klaudia Schachtschneider


The Spitzkoppe Community Campsite in western Namibia lies in an area with very limited water resources. Water scarcity places a constraint on community income generation and development opportunities. The existing water resources are overexploited and to ensure future water security, the community must take sustainable water management into consideration in their daily lives and business ventures, including tourism. This has been successfully achieved at the Spitzkoppe Community Campsite through a combination of high community motivation, organisation and action, the involvement of researchers and trainers in water resource management and support from developers. The most appropriate water management solutions were found through ongoing practical testing of different strategies and technologies over two years. This paper presents a case study of a community-based tourist camp at Spitzkoppe and traces the community’s progress towards developing an alternative way to combat desertification and a potentially lucrative tourist business.

community desertification research tourism water resource management 


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  1. Afrikaner, O.: 2001, Spitzkoppe Community Camp, community elder. Conversation with the co-author, April 2001.Google Scholar
  2. National Planning Commission: 2002, 2001 Population and Housing Census, Republic of Namibia.Google Scholar
  3. Schachtschneider, K.: 2002, ‘Towards a Water Demand Management Strategy for the Namibian Tourism Sector.’ M.Sc. Dissertation.University of Cape Town, South Africa.Google Scholar
  4. Stehle, V.: 2002, Chief Control Engineer, Department of Water Affairs. Conversation with the co-author, 4 June 2001.Google Scholar
  5. Tjongarero, A.: 2001, Spitzkoppe Community Camp Manager. Conversation with the author, April 2001.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aquatic Ecologist, ErosWindhoek
  2. 2.Botany DepartmentUniversity of Cape TownSouth Africa

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