Rivers bordering Namibia could be water supply solution

24 Oct 2016 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 24 OCT (NAMPA) - Pumping water from the rivers along Namibia’s borders could help to sustain the country’s long-term water supply.
This recommendation was made by Pedro Maritz, a member of the technical committee of experts on water supply security during a media conference on Monday.
Members of committee, which works with the Cabinet committee on water supply security, delivered their first progress report to the Cabinet committee chairperson John Mutorwa, who is Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.
President Hage Geingob appointed the committees in July this year to address the critical water supply shortage to Windhoek and the central areas of Namibia.
“The country has rapidly reached a point where we consume more water than our sources supply. Long-term solutions include getting water from bordering rivers or the ocean. Both are massive operations – but we will have to do that to sustain the long-term water supply of Namibia,” Maritz said.
Namibia shares the Okavango River with Angola and Botswana and the Zambezi River with Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Kwando River drains off from Angola and Namibia also shares the Orange River with Lesotho, South Africa, and Botswana.
Maritz further noted that the committee started working immediately upon its appointment and good progress has been made to date.
“Appropriate actions have been taken together with the City of Windhoek and the national utility NamWater and the necessary steps have been identified and are being implemented, and monitored by the committee to avert any short supply at least, up to the end of next year,” he noted.
He cautioned that further attention is however required to address the situation post-2017. Maritz added that the committee is at the moment affording its attention thereto.
Speaking at the same occasion, Mutorwa said the overall terms of reference of the committee are to urgently address the water security in some of the most effected regions in the country such as the central and coastal areas. This includes the Khomas and Erongo Regions.
Mutorwa raised the concern that the Kuiseb and Omdel aquifers in the Erongo Region, where the fishing and mining industries operate, are dry.
Meanwhile, Mutorwa announced last month during a meeting at Swakopmund that Government is in the process of constructing its own desalination plant through a public-private-partnership (PPP). This news came after local media reported that Government said it will not buy the Areva desalination plant at the west coast due to the high asking price of N.dollars 3 billion. Government has in the meantime started to negotiate with Areva for the supply of water until the country sets up its own plant, Mutorwa said.
The new desalination plant is expected to be built in the Erongo Region on the west coast by 2019.