Seawater only solution to water shortage: Mutorwa

03 Apr 2016 15:30pm
WINDHOEK, 03 APR (NAMPA) – Seawater is the only solution to the water shortage crisis the country is experiencing, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa says.
Mutorwa said this on Friday while motivating the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry’s N.dollars 2,3 billion allocation of the national budget for the 2016/17 financial year.
He stated that because underground water is rain dependent, drilling of boreholes is a waste of money if rainfall is insufficient as the country’s underground water is also a delicate resource and may run out.
“The remaining option is seawater. It is the only option to embark upon and government has a plan on how to go about doing so,” Mutorwa stated.
He noted that the budget allocation of N.dollars 599 855 480 for the water programme is a drop in the ocean, because water shortage in Namibia is an issue that needs to be urgently addressed.
The MAWF will use this allocation to research the artificial recharge of underground water for the aquifer in Windhoek and the desalination of sea water.
Mutorwa noted that it was imperative for public institutions to prudently utilise the few resources available by finding the best mechanisms to develop the agriculture and water sectors.
He noted that 430 000 000 cubic metres of water is needed for the country’s irrigation systems.
Mutorwa added that through government’s quest to ensure water security at national level, a number of new water supply pipeline projects have been initiated and are being developed.
This programme will provide the necessary information for the coordinated planning, development and management of water resources, initiating, planning and implementing the development of rural and bulk water supply infrastructure and supplying water to rural communities.
The minister also explained during his budget speech that construction and abstraction works on the Neckartal dam project will also continue during the 2016/17 financial year.
“Additional activities in the main dam, including the diversion culvert, an additional crusher at the quarry, the installation of cranes will be completed and tested during the 2016/17 financial year,” he stated.
The MAWF identified four programmes to which its N.dollars 2 301 487 000 portion of the national budget will be allocated as follows;
Agriculture – N.dollars 1 068 493 520
Water – N.dollars 599 855 480
Forestry – N.dollars 222 637 000
Supervision and support services – N.dollars 410 501 000