Although the Government does its best to provide purified water to Namibians, more needs to be done for those living in rural areas where there is impure water, said Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) rector, Dr Tjama Tjivikua.
As such, there’s need for co-operation between the Government, higher learning institutions and stakeholders to come up with appropriate solutions. This he asserted at the opening of the workshop on the Colloid Science to improve water purification and contaminated soil with natural products.
“A recent independent evaluation of the status quo indicated that Government has made substantive progress in relation to access to water. However, in some rural communities, there is still preference for drawing water from traditional wells. In the International Water Conference held about two months ago, the Namibian Water Corporation pronounced that it required investing over N$4b in the next five year to meet growth demands of economic sectors such as energy production, agriculture, mining, manufacturing and tourism,” Tjivikua said. He stressed, it is imperative that the fund ensures that the entire Namibian population has access to water.
The workshop, which had been organised by PoN, was meant to introduce the participants to colloid science. Colloid science is one of the courses that will be taught through the natural sciences programmes (at the School of Health and Applied Sciences at PoN). Topics will include how it could be applied in real life to solve problems such as water and soil pollutions using environmentally friendly and sustainable materials.
Colloid is defined as a homogenous non-crystalline substance consisting of large molecules or ultramicroscopic particles of one substance dispersed in a second substance, as in gels, sols and emulsions.
Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa applauded the initiative as well as the benefit that could be generated from Colloid Science with regards to water purification once it has been studied thoroughly and recommendations made.
“The treatment of water for human consumption poses many challenges both in developing and developed countries. Major technological and scientific challenges arise from the pressure to provide readily available and sustainable technologies for the societal requirements for health and a clean environment,” he said.
Mutorwa added, synthetic materials currently used for water treatment are not only expensive but there are also health and environmental safety concerns associated with them. As a result, it is desirable to explore other cost-effective and more environmentally accepted materials. Natural products, which are both non-toxic and biodegradable are being advocated on.
Tjivikua on his part, pointed out that challenges relating to water resources are not unique to Namibia as they are regional and international matters. In respect to that, PoN has applied to become part of a Southern African Development Community (Sadc) initiative funded by the Netherlands government to offer a Masters degree in Integrated Water Resources Management programme, which has [thus far] seen 20 Namibian graduates.