Erla Hlin Hjalmarsdottir
Solar (photovoltaic) powered water pumping (PVP) has great potential for the supply of water to rural communities in developing countries. This paper introduces a case study from the Kunene region, Namibia, and explores opportunities and obstacles for PVP in rural water supply, such as theft of solar panels, externalities, training and capacity building, water supply monitoring, sanitation, and community-based management. The notion of ‘handover for full ownership’ of water points to communities is challenged, as there is a mismatch between the prescribed roles and capabilities of water-point associations. In order to enhance the success of PVP schemes, the study proposes flexible approaches to cost recovery, maintenance of social infrastructures as well as physical ones, and encourages ways to enhance mutual learning and solutions tailored to the environment. It is suggested that there may be a bias against the technology owing to high initial costs and current emphasis on building new infrastructures as well as unfamiliarity amongst communities and practitioners with the advantages of this approach.