Upper Swakop Basin an environmental time bomb

21 Feb 2014 18:10pm
WINDHOEK, 21 FEB (NAMPA) - Urgent interventions are needed to solve pollution problems experienced with the water supply of the Upper Swakop Basin, which supplies water not only to Windhoek, but also to the towns of Okahandja and Karibib.
The basin strongly depends on the quality of raw water from dams located in the Otjozondjupa Region, which include the Omatako dam (situated beween Okahandja and Otjiwarongo); Von Bach dam (Okahandja area) and Swakoppoort dam (Okahandja area).
At a meeting held to nominate management committee members for the upper Swakop basin on Thursday, the Manager of Infrastructure Planning at the Namibia Water Corporation (NamWater), Godfrey Pazvakawambwa raised the concern that there is notable serious water pollution endemic in the basin, threatening sources supplying the central areas of Namibia.
“The impact of upcoming industrial developments within the upper Swakop basin will further compromise the adequacy and quality of water, as well as render Swakoppoort dam water source unfit for drinking water source or expensively difficult to treat. The Swakoppoort dam water is hypertrophic and Goreangab dam’s water is no longer fit to be used as source water at that reclamation plant,” he said.
Almost three years ago, NamWater realised that the Swakoppoort dam water source had to stop pumping because of associated possible cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, that would render the water poisonous and unusable for human consumption.
He further said the risk of losing Swakoppoort dam water due to pollution as part of the integrated three-dam system supplying the central areas of Namibia will compromise the security of water supply as well as hurt the economy.
Speaking at the same occasion, Carol Roberts from the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) warned that four pollution hotspots that flow into the basin were identified in 2010.
The Manager of Hydrology at NamWater, Andre Mostert said the chances for water shortages and their magnitudes in the central area or upper Swakop basin over the next 10 years are unacceptably high.
“The Swakoppoort dam has a major impact on the quantity and security of water supply in the central areas and/or the upper Swakop basin. We cannot afford not being able to utilise the Swakoppoort dam. The poor water quality of the dam must be addressed,” he added.
Representatives from Coca-Cola Namibia, Namibia Poultry Industries, the Meat Corporation of Namibia, Navachab Mine, Neo Paint, Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL), Wingoc, and the Olthaver and List Group attended the meeting.
Representatives from these entities nominated the upper Swakop basin management committee, which will be announced in due course.