The ministry of agriculture, water and land reform has given the Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) N$15 million to invest in water-softening systems (mini desalination plants) across 10 regions, the Fund announced the capitalisation last week.
The collaboration came after the agriculture ministry sought legal advice from the Attorney General’s office from which clearance was granted to enter into the Memorandum of Agreement.
This then gave clearance for the “funds transfer” agreement between the ministry and EIF for the implementation of Hard Water-Softening Projects.
Namibia is a water-scarce country and ranks amongst the 30 driest countries in the world.
According to the ministry’s executive director, Ndiyapuki Nghituwamata, government has invested considerable resources in the drilling of boreholes across the country to enable access to water.
“Regrettably many of these boreholes have been unsuitable for human consumption and in some instances not even suitable for livestock,” Nghituwamata said.
The two institutions went into an agreement for the proposed pilot projects in the 10 regions in collaboration with the decentralised function of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Coordination.
The ten regions to benefit are Erongo, Hardap, //Karas, Oshikoto, Kunene, Kavango East, Kavango West, Ohangwena, Omusati and Zambezi.
Nghituwamata added that the agriculture ministry and EIF have collaborated before on many projects throughout the country and the latest collaboration is a culmination of historical joint work.
In September last year, the agriculture ministry and EIF, handed over three community water points (mini desalination plants) that soften salty water through reverse osmosis at communal farms Vrede, Goeiegeluk Pos and Santamab Pos 1 in the Spitzkoppe area of Erongo region.
She said her ministry will assign the director of water supply and sanitation coordination as project co-director with the CEO of the EIF, to provide the overall oversight during the project implementation.
Furthermore, the ministry will nominate a team of appropriate technical officials from its ranks to cooperate with their EIF counterparts in the project implementation.
At the signing ceremony, EIF chief executive officer Benedict Libanda highlighted that they are collaborating towards securing livelihoods and household-level food security among smallholder farmers.
Libanda said they also aim to improve access to clean water by rehabilitating community boreholes in the remote areas of the country.
He said EIF joint work with the ministry has recently extended in the water space a phase with efforts of improving water quality for rural residents.
“Significantly, we are strengthening our cooperation and collaboration, especially at this time when sanitation is a crucial global responsibility so that our communities in rural areas can enjoy a better and quality of life,” Libanda stated.
He explained that with Namibia being among the driest countries in the world, it is important to ensure that the little water that the country has is conserved, respected, shared and enjoyed by present and future generations.
He added that lack of quality water has negatively affected both the health and economic welfare of the people and dramatically impacted their quality of life in one way or the other.
Libanda said the Fund will do all to support the transition to a more sustainable future and that they want this transition to come as fast as possible.
“It is my firm belief that the water softening facilities that we are going to put up at various community water points across ten regions of our country will enhance the resilience of the communities to the impacts of climate change,” he said.
Moreover, it will enable them to diversify their livelihoods by growing vegetables in their backyard gardens.
The agreement between the two parties commenced last week and shall continue thereafter until 31 December 2024 unless otherwise terminated or extended by a party under the provision of the agreement signed.
The ministry also plans to ensure that all targeted water points are repaired and made functional for the water softening intervention to function effectively. Email: email@example.com