WINDHOEK: The water sector in Namibia is facing many obstacles, and to overcome those, existing policies and legislation for water resources management must change.
Some of these policies and legal frameworks are Act No 54 of 1956; Water Resources Management Bill; Water and Sanitation Policy (WASP) of 1993; Namibia Water Corporation Act of 1997; and the Water Sector and Sanitation Policy of 2006.
This is but one of the resolutions of the just-ended Water Investment Conference in the capital.
Under Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Abraham Nehemia said during the closing of the three-day conference on Friday that the “ball is set to roll, networks are established and must be explored and expanded”.
Nehemia further said the formulation of regulations for public-private-partnership (PPP) in Namibia is required.
He assured delegates that opportunities exist for private involvement, such as borehole drilling, and billing for operational efficiency.
Namibia is faced with limited water resources and there is an urgent need to explore non-conventional water resources, such as desalination and artificial recharge, which will contribute towards water security in the agriculture, mining, and energy sectors.
During the conference delegates discussed how Namibia can explore the potential to develop a viable water-based industry and a thriving small and medium enterprise (SME) sector with the capacity to supply products and services to the water sector.
However, the lack of access to funding and poor access to technology to manufacture products is one of the challenges faced by SMEs to penetrate the water sector in Namibia.
But the conference noted that opportunities for grants and loans from financial institutions and international cooperation partners are indeed available.
This include amongst others funding from the European Union (EU), African Development Bank, and the Namibian Government.
Nehemia indicated that there is a general lack of entrepreneurship in the country, and capacity-building needs to be encouraged.
For the way forward, he said a regional conference will be held in the near future in Namibia to look into specific regional needs.
Regional councillors, mayors, representatives from local authorities, and representatives from the water sector in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) also attended the event.
Another resolution is that the conference organisers, MAWF and NamWater, will provide linkages for possible engagement between developers and investors; project profiles for possible investors and continuously update them; and do annual monitoring and evaluation of conference recommendations.