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Construction of coastal desalination plant crucial to safeguard water supply – Schlettwein

Construction of coastal desalination plant crucial to safeguard water supply – Schlettwein

Staff Reporter

THE Minister of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform, Calle Schlettwein, highlighted the importance of constructing a desalination plant at the coast, as concerns arise about potential water shortages in the coming years.

“At the moment, at face value, it looks like we are fine at the West Coast because we have a desalination plant, we have the two ground water resources there. But our projections in the very near future of new mines opening there, we will fall short in the next three years if we do not have an additional source,” he said.

The minister made these remarks during the recent announcement of NamWater’s Board of Directors, where he emphasized the need to prioritize the construction of the desalination plant. This project has been approved by the cabinet and is already underway.

File photo for illustrative purposes only.

“We have started with the process. The size is determined, the land is available, the environmental impact assessment is underway. It is now just to get it towards financial finality and then implementation,” he explained.

If all goes well, the plant will serve as a sustainable water supply for households and mines. Schlettwein outlined that the desalination plant program is divided into three phases. The first phase, referred to as SS1, aims to supply approximately 20 million3 to areas such as Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Henties Bay, and Arandis.

“But it must go a little bit further. It must also reach Uis, Daures, those settlements in the desert,” he added.

The second phase, known as SS2, is focused on ensuring water supply to Windhoek. Schlettwein mentioned that Windhoek is already facing a precarious situation as the capital is likely to struggle with water supply in 12 months’ time. However, since the plant has not been constructed yet, Windhoek will have to rely on Grootfontein for water if the town’s supply runs dry in 12 months.

“We cannot afford Windhoek to run dry and the pressure is up,” he stressed.

The minister said that SS3, the final phase of the project, aims to supply water to Botswana as well.

However, prior to the project’s construction, the minister explained that the pipelines at the central coast must first be rehabilitated.
“When we build a desalination plant at the coast, we don’t want to be faced with an old, aging piping system that must now take water at higher pressure and larger volumes. So, we have started with rehabilitating them first and when the desalination plant is ready, it can just be connected,” he said.

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