18 Jul 2016 16:40pm
WINDHOEK, 18 JUL (NAMPA) The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) John Mutorwa is expected to on Wednesday announce the Cabinet Committee on water supply security to address the water shortages in Namibia.
MAWF Public Relations Officer Margaret Kalo on Monday confirmed to Nampa that the introduction of the members is scheduled to take place on 20 July 2016.
The committee on water supply security forms part of President Hage Geingobs Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) (2016/2017 2019/2020), which was launched in April this year. The HPP is an acceleration plan targeted at reducing poverty, income inequalities and uplifting the standards of all Namibians.
Namibia currently faces one of its most devastating droughts in more than 30 years, which prompted the Head of State to declare a State of Emergency last month. Taps are likely to run dry in the central areas of the country by August 2016 if alternative sources are not made available, the Namibia Water Corporation (Namwater) announced earlier this year.
The HPP outlines various strategies and actions for water supply management, which will be deployed to ensure that the goals with regard to water security will be met during its period.
A Cabinet Committee will be established by June 2016, reporting to the President on a monthly basis, on the water situation including the effectiveness of water management measures. In central Namibia, Government will implement the Windhoek managed Aquifer recharge concept: this will result in the improved usage of the Windhoek Aquifer as a water bank through managed recharge in combination with increased water re-use, it stressed.
Other interventions as part of the HPP include the implementation of a national water resources monitoring system. HPP raised the concern that there is still a lack of data and information on Namibias water resources, which will be finalised by March 2017.
In the north of the country, Government will develop infrastructure to use the newly discovered underground water resources. Despite the relatively high investments, the long-term costs would be lower compared to the current supply, as the water needs minimal treatment and the capacity of the existing network can be increased.
At the coast, focus will be on desalination by using renewable energy such as solar and wind. To meet the increased demand for water at the coast as a result of uranium mining activities, Government will be constructing a 25 million cubic meters (Mm3) per annum seawater desalination plant by the end of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period (2016/17 to 2018/19).
The target is designed to address the water security for the coastal towns by augmenting water supply in order to meet growing demand of the mining sector and the coastal towns of the Erongo Region. In the spirit of Harambee and to free up resources for construction of water infrastructure in other parts of the country, consideration will be given to develop this desalination plant on a private-public partnership (PPP) basis, the HPP added.