Political will needed to ensure central Namibia water

24 Jul 2015 11:00am
OSHAKATI, 24 JUL (NAMPA) – Almost 70 per cent of water abstracted from the Kunene River is being lost due to leakage, evaporation and billing inefficiencies, an engineering study commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) in 2013 has detected.
This was announced during a public meeting here on Wednesday to share information on long-term water solutions for the Central Area of Namibia (CAN) and the Cuvelai Delta, which is a network of waterways.
The study is being undertaken by Lund Consulting Engineers; Seelenbinder Consulting Engineers; and an independent environmental and social consortium, Sustainable Solutions Trust; in collaboration with the Southern African Institute for Environmental Assessment since August 2013.
The objective of the study is to investigate all alternative water sources that can be developed to secure a long-term and affordable water solution for the CAN, including parts of the Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions up to 2050.
Dr Chris Brown of the Sustainable Solutions Trust told those who attended the meeting that evaporation is responsible for 65 per cent of losses of water being abstracted from the Kunene River.
Brown pointed out that there will be a significant improvement in water management and demand once the issue of water unaccounted for is addressed.
“This in turn will secure the supply further into the future and is therefore a priority.” he explained, adding that there is no water recycling in the Cuvelai at this stage.
He suggested water reclamation and reuse to be considered in the larger urban areas of the Cuvelai basin.
The water of the Kunene River is currently drawn off at Calueque Dam in southern Angola and brought by canal into Namibia.
“This, however, poses the following risks: single source supply; dependency on Angola’s goodwill; dependency on Angola protecting an adequate rate of flow throughout each year to meet Namibia’s needs without compromising on environmental flow requirements; and dependency on Angola to retain water quality.” Brown explained.
The said risks, he said, present serious geo-political considerations for the medium-term.
He stressed that if the next rain season is as bad as this year's and nothing is done to save water now and to increase supply, it is possible that the CAN and the Cuvelai will run dry by May/June 2016.
The meeting’s participants, including Major-General (Rtd) Peter Nambundunga, who is the special advisor of the Ohangwena Regional Governor, Usko Nghaamwa; and Michael Mwinga, the special advisor of the Oshana Regional Governor, Clemens Kashuupulwa felt political will is needed if the area is to be secured of water sustainability.
A second public meeting on the same topic will take place in Windhoek on Friday.