WINDHOEK: Under Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Abraham Nehemia says an investment of around N.dollars 14 billion over a period of five years is required for the development of the country’s water infrastructure.
While giving an overview of Namibia’s water sector during the first-ever water conference which ended here last Thursday, Nehemia said Government is expected to provide funding of about 35 per cent, while NamWater and its customers will be responsible for 40 per cent.
“Namibia being an arid country with very limited water resources and uneven spatial distribution, faces challenges to ensure sufficient water and sanitation services to all end-users,” he noted.
NamWater’s 40 per cent should include investments from private investors, especially from the mining industry for desalination plants, while another 25 per cent is needed for further investments from possible investors.
Nehemia explained that according to the ministry’s strategic concept for the expansion of water supply in Namibia, additional water along the country’s borders must be secured and developed from perennial rivers.
Additional water in central-northern areas also needs to be developed from the Kunene River, while additional water in the central areas is to be secured from the Okavango River.
Water from the Fish River needs to be developed from new dams, which include the Neckartal dam in the Karas Region.
No exact date for the start of the actual construction of the Neckartal dam is known, as the tender for the project is being dealt with by the Tender Board and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.
Nehemia said water in rural areas needs to be developed from ground water, while additional water at the west coast is needed from sea water desalination.
However, the ministry faces several challenges with regards to the expansion of the water supply in Namibia.
In the central-north areas of the country the infrastructure is worn-out; while the vulnerability of flooding also exists in the area.
Nehemia said the most urgent action required is the replacement of the main water carrier (the Calueque-Oshakati canal) pipeline.
In the central areas of the country, upgrading of purification works is needed; while more requirements are a new pipeline for the capital and the managed artificial recharge of the Windhoek aquifer.
In the long-term, the ministry is planning a link from the Kavango River as well as the expansion of water infrastructure to the east, especially to the Omitimire Mine located 120 kilometres north-east of the capital.
In the south of the country, there is a need for socio-economic development as well as food security.
It is estimated that the construction of the Neckartal Dam will mean storage capacity of 850 million cubic metres.
The development of an irrigation scheme, which would cover an area of 500 hectares, is also in the pipeline.
Nehemia said in the western parts of the country, there is a need for a desalination plant with expansion of pipeline networks to new uranium mines.