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CAN Water Supply Systems Drop By 23.1 %

Hertha Ekandjo
The water levels of the three major water dams that supply the central area of Namibia
(CAN) with water have dropped by 23.1%.

The levels of the Omatako, Von Bach and Swakoppoort dams, all combined, are currently at 36.1% of full capacity compared to 59.2% during the same period in 2021/22.This was revealed by NamWater's Chief ExecutiveOofficer Abraham Nehemia during a
stakeholders` workshop on the water supply to CAN on Tuesday in Windhoek.
The purpose of the workshop was to review the implementation of strategies that were
adopted during the previous stakeholders` workshop.

The workshop also discussed the current situation concerning the water supply to the CAN, and formulated appropriate intervention strategies to ensure the security of water supply to the central area of the country.
"The workshop evaluated the effectiveness of previously adopted strategies and focused
on the current situation regarding water supply to the CAN, of which appropriate
intervention strategies were developed to ensure water supply security over the next two
rainy seasons," Nehemia indicated.

The CEO mentioned that the participation of stakeholders and their consensus decisions
on how to manage the available water supply from the existing multiple water sources
has made it possible in the past to successfully supply water to the CAN without
interruptions, even in challenging dry seasons.
The challenges faced by NamWater is the state of infrastructure.
"Infrastructure have been put in place during the 1960s and 70s and most of those
infrastructure need to be replaced. We have water in Swakoppoort, which is around
70%, which we need for Windhoek. But it is a challenge when it comes to pumping that
water to Windhoek due to some challenges with the pumps."
Nehemia said the water pipeline cannot hold much pressure, which will expose it to a
high chance of breaking.
"That pipeline is very old and needs to be replaced," he stressed.
While touching on the possibility of seawater desalination, Nehemia said the process is
on the move and they were able to conduct a study two years back.
Desalination is a process that takes away mineral components from saline water. More
generally, desalination refers to the removal of salts and minerals from a target
substance, as in soil desalination, which is an issue for agriculture.

The NamWater chief said they had approached Cabinet with the study, where water
utility was given tasks by Cabinet to work on, such as finding the land where they can
build the plant and also to sort out electricity related issues with NamPower.
According to him, NamWater has almost complete the tasks they were given and that
the only task remaining is the finalisation of the financing model.
"Once we have sorted that out, then we should be able to move towards the securing of
funds and look at how we are going to move them into procurement and construction,"
he explained.

Namibia sources of water are border rivers, dams on ephemeral rivers, ground water,
fountains, seawater desalination and recycled water.
Currently, Namibia has a desalination plant at the coast which is wholly−owned by
Arano Resources Namibia and operated by Aveng Water Treatment Namibia.
This plant currently supplies NamWater with 12 million cubic metres of water a year.
This volume of water is sold on to the mines and industries in general located outside
the town lands.
It has a short−term capacity of 20 million cubic metres a year, and can be increased over
a medium to long−term capacity of up to 45 million cubic metres a year.
Plans to build desalination plants along the Namibian central coast dates back to as
early as 1996. Feasibility studies carried out revealed that desalinated water is a viable
option to supply the central coast whose demand for potable water has increased to
more than the sustainable yield of the ground water resources.
Studies have shown that the hydrological cycle in Namibia indicates that of the rainfall
received, 83% is evaporated, 14% is lost through transpiration, 2% is run off in the rivers
and 1% seeps underground, which may later be extracted through boreholes for
consumption.

The Erongo region's water demands for the communities and the mines currently stand
at about 20 million cubic metres per annum. Consultants have been appointed to
commence with a Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (Credit Institute for Reconstruction)
sponsored feasibility study to consider the future supply of water to the central coast
and the central areas of Namibia and even as far as Botswana.

Hertha Ekandjo

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