Extensive planning needed on desalination: Nehemia

05 Jul 2016 09:30am
WINDHOEK, 05 JUNE (NAMPA) – Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Abraham Nehemia has said careful planning is crucial as the country embarks on desalination as part of various attempts in solving the water crisis.
He noted that poor planning in the process of desalination will have serious consequences for the consumer.
Speaking during a media briefing here on Monday, Nehemia warned against the prospect of many people not being able to afford high water tariffs, should the desalination process be costly.
“We do not want to have a system that is expensive such that people cannot afford. We also do not want to invest so much money and then after 15 years, the source is not viable anymore,” said Nehemia.
He called on those at the forefront of the process to ensure a 'sustainable, cost effective and affordable system’.
“There is just one solution to the problem which is desalination but we must consider that we are looking at pumping water to a height of about 1000 meters above sea level so that it could reach the central areas,” he stressed.
According to the International Desalination Association (IDA), desalination is used in more than 100 countries, with more than half the freshwater output used in the Middle East and Northern Africa.
Desalination mainly involves removing dissolved salts from water, thus producing fresh water from seawater for human and animal consumption.
The process of desalination is contained in the Harambee Prosperity Plan as one of the long-term alternatives in addressing high demand of water in the country.
Other options include sourcing water from underground aquifers at Kombat Mine in the Otjozondjupa region and the Okavango River amongst others, according to Nehemia.
Namibia faces a critical water shortage and central parts of the country are said to have a deficit of 15.7 million cubic metres (Mm³) of water against the demand of 33 million Mm³ per annum before the next rainy season.
The latest figures show that the dams supplying water to the central parts of the country are running dry.
The Swakoppoort Dam’s water levels stood at 6,356 Mm³; while the Von Bach Dam stands at 9,974 Mm³, and Omatako Dam at 1,006 Mm³.