A study which serves to identify the best solution for using desalinated sea water for coastal towns and Windhoek in the future is nearly concluded.
Government requested ILF Consulting Engineers international to also assess the Orano plant in case there could be options to acquire and integrate this plant as part of the proposed solution.
To be sure of the due diligence of the assessment of the Orano plant, Government has a follow up process of engaging an independent transaction advisor, who should, together with the outcome of the Feasibility Study motivate whether to acquire or upgrade the Orano plant to be part of the long term solution.
Speaking at a workshop held on desalination the Minister of Water and Agriculture, Alpheus !Naruseb stated that the financing of the combined project for supply to both the coastal areas and Windhoek is not likely to be cheaper than 10 Billion Namibian dollars, hence its bankability must be given due diligence.
“To this effect, Government requested ILF Consulting Engineers to critically compare the cost component of this project with the cost of supplying Windhoek from the Okavango River,” !Naruseb said.
He added that at the conclusion of the feasibility study, suitable Desalination Technologies will be identified and phased packages of the desalination plant to be implemented in phases that meet the water demands to coincide with the dynamism of the coastal uranium mining activities, industrial growth and the general population growth.
“I am told that the water deficits to meet the future water demands for the coastal areas up until 2050, is in the order of 36 Million cubic meters. The corresponding additional water to be supplied to Windhoek and en-route users over the same period is in the order of 32 million cubic meters per annum, while the possible demand for Gaborone in Botswana if considered, means an additional 20 million cubic meters per annum,” !Naruseb stated.
He added that the findings of this project may not be easy, and thus welcomed financial institutions and development partners like the KFW, who have already seeded funds in this Feasibility Study to check and support the bankability of this project in view of our Government’s financial position, as well as that of NamWater.
“Water supply as a commodity is not cheap but it is my hope that the solutions that will be crafted starting at this Workshop will,” !Naruseb stated.
He further stated that despite the good rains in some parts of the country, especially around the northern areas, it is important to take note that only negligible showers fell in the central areas of the country with insignificant inflow into the dams during the current rain season.
“The country’s climatic condition makes it imperative to have a permanent conventional water supply sources. Limited water supplies and or water deficits for growth and for existing economic centers such as Windhoek, which is exacerbated by the ever growing population and urbanization is a cause for serious concern.” !Naruseb said.
He further added that the feasibility study project foresees the supply of desalinated water from the Atlantic coast to meet the deficits at the Central Coastal areas (CCA) and the Central Area of Namibia (CAN) that includes Windhoek.
If found feasible, desalinated sea water through bilateral agreements, could also be transported to Gaborone, in Botswana.
!Naruseb stated that the abstraction of the Abenab aquifer near Grootfontein as well as looking into an additional reclamation plant in Windhoek are projects identified under the medium term solutions and these initiatives are ongoing.
Equally, the rehabilitation and replacement of boreholes in the Central Coastal Areas as well as replacement of trunk conveyance pipelines are some of the initiatives through which the Government has been supporting NamWater, Namibia’s bulk water supplier, to implement and resiliently continue supplying water to the coastal areas.
!Naruseb stated the study for the Augmentation of water to the central area from the Okavango River could not be finalized without comparing it to other potential long-term solution.
“To this end, Government mooted this feasibility study for the desalination plant and water carriage system to secure water supply to the Central Coast, Windhoek and the en-route users. “ !Naruseb said.
The period between 2017 and 2018 saw the signing of the financing agreement between KFW and the Namibian Government, as well as, the appointment of ILF Consulting Engineers and Lund Consulting Engineers as local sub-consultants.