WINDHOEK: President Hifikepunye Pohamba has called on investors to plough funds into the development of water and sanitation infrastructure, the manufacturing of spare parts and water treatment chemicals as well as promoting private and public partnerships.
He said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa during the opening of the first-ever Water Investment Conference on Wednesday.
“I would like to reiterate the importance of water in the Namibian context. Our people and all our economic activities depend on water.
Water must be developed, not only by Government, but also by the private sector,” noted Pohamba, adding that sustainable development and proper regulation will ensure that there will be enough water for current and future generations.
Namibia relies on expensive infrastructure such as dams to collect occasional floodwater; the drilling of deep boreholes; construction of pipelines and canals over long distances from the rivers on the southern or northern borders; and on innovative technologies such as water reclamation and re-use for the supply of water.
The actual expenditure on water supply and sanitation provision infrastructural development was estimated at N.dollars 553 million for the 2011/12 financial year.
The required investment in the replacement, upgrading and expansion of existing water supply infrastructure for the coming five years is estimated at N.dollars 3.7 billion, the main components being the need for improved or expanded water schemes. Pohamba said water is the most important contributor to the country’s development prospects across the board.
Namibia has no permanent rivers in the interior. Moreover, in many areas, groundwater is brackish and not suitable for human consumption or agricultural and industrial purposes.The only perennial rivers are on Namibia’s borders. In the north are the Kunene, Kavango, Zambezi and Kwando rivers, and on the southern border is the Orange River.
Pohamba explained that through joint management and cooperation with neighbours, Namibia is entitled to an equitable and reasonable share.
This water is used to implement developmental projects such as the Green Schemes to improve food security and contribute further to economic growth. “We look forward to concrete outcomes and recommendations that will contribute to our Governments’ efforts to improve the provision of water to our people, as well as the availability of water for agricultural and industrial purposes,” he added.The conference ends Friday.