FACED with extreme drought conditions, water resource levels throughout the country are dwindling at an alarming rate.
According to the Namibia Water Partnership (NWP), dam levels at Swakopmund stand at an all-time low of 11.4%, while Hardap registered 19%. This is a sharp decline, compared to 35.2%, and 43.7% recorded, respectively, last season.
To mitigate the possible humanitarian crisis the country might face, the NWP today held a meeting on integrated water resource management.
Chair of NWP, Maria Amakali, stated that the prevailing water situation in the country and the persisting drought serves as a reminder to all, that water management and supply in Namibia remains a daunting task.
Amakali, however, added that investment in the water sector has been neglected, and establishing water security in the country can only be done through partnerships.
“Water resource management is not only on government’s shoulders, but multiple partners. Every 4 to 7 years, we have extreme climate conditions in Namibia. We are affected either by severe floods or droughts. There are good plans; however, the enabling tools are not there. Money and capacity is what we need. Namibia does not even have enough engineers and outsiders are hired to carry out major water projects at inflated prices,” Amakali stated.
The chair further stated that she has hope for the sector. “We are eventually getting a budget for water resources rolling, and with the emergency funding from the drought, it will grow,” she said..
With regard to what is currently being done to secure water supply, Amakali said that the City of Windhoek (CoW) is pursuing an expansion of the New Goreangab Water Reclamation Plant (NGWRP). Furthermore, a study to examine and identify potential water supply alternatives, which could contribute to water security in medium term, is being carried out.
She further stated that government is also pursuing the long-Term: Desalination / Okavango River / Kunene River / Neckartal Dam /other potential source.
Currently, Phase 1 to address the water supply situation to Windhoek, together with other foreseen shortfalls in the Central Area of Namibia (CAN), over a period of 18 months from 1 July 2016 until the end of December 2017, was extended for another two years.
A number of emergency water supply projects which include drilling boreholes and water purification schemes have been identified.
Amakali stated that a total of N$3.9 billion would be needed.