Namibia in search of long-term water solution

13 Feb 2014 16:50pm
WINDHOEK, 13 FEB (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) launched a pre-feasibility scoping exercise titled ‘Augmentation to water supply to the central areas of Namibia and the Cuvelai’ on Thursday.
The exercise, which is being conducted in partnership with the City of Windhoek and the Namibia Water Corporation (Namwater), will be carried out at a cost of N.dollars 7 million.
The objective of the study is to investigate all alternative water resources which could be developed to secure long-term and affordable water solutions for the central areas of Namibia, including parts of the Otjozondjupa and Omaheke Regions, and the Cuvelei area (stretching across the Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto Regions) up to 2050.
Speaking at the launch, Minister of Agriculture John Mutorwa said the easiest and less expensive water supply options have already been largely developed in Namibia.
However, this exercise is a reflection of the challenges the country faces in its quest to develop water resources.
“We need to ensure that the options we choose are technically feasible and robust. We need to ensure that it is financially and economically feasible, and that taxpayers and the public are getting good value for their money.
We aim to maintain the highest international standards to ensure that the results are credible to objective individuals and organisations, and to potential international financing institutions,” he noted.
The project is also important for Namibia’s overall socio-economic development.
Foreign investors look at a country’s ability to provide water, power and a secure and consistent operational environment, Mutorwa said.
If any one of these elements are absent, investors will look elsewhere.
Speaking about developing future options in the water sector, the minister stated that it will be more expensive and more technically-challenging as it involves understanding the water demand-side over the next three to four decades, as well as to determining the best water supply options to meet the projected water demands.
At the same occasion, MAWF Under-secretary Abraham Nehemia said it will take a number of years to complete this project.
“We must take cognisance of the importance of such a project,” he stressed.
The MAWF has commissioned engineering consortium (Lund Consulting Engineers and Seelenbinder Consulting Engineers incorporating other companies) and independent environmental and social consortium (Sustainable Solutions Trust and Southern African Institute for Environmental Assessment) to undertake the study.
Once the exercise is completed, the next phase would be a full feasibility study and an environment impact assessment (EIA).