WINDHOEK – The Namibian government will make ‘mega-investments’ in water infrastructure over the years to come, said Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa.
Namibia will require almost N$4 billion over the next five years to upgrade and repair its existing water infrastructure for both industrial and domestic use.
Mutorwa made the announcement during the opening of the current 9th International Water Association’s (IWA) conference on water reuse that started early this week in Windhoek and ends today.
The IWA symposium brought together close to 400 water experts from all over the world to debate on water reuse and recycling. Namibia is a pioneer in potable water reuse with the Goreangab reclamation plant that has been providing drinking water to the growing capital for the past 45 years.
Windhoek is still one of the few cities where sewage effluent is directly treated into potable water.
Windhoek Mayor, Agnes Kafula, said in her welcoming address that the conference theme: Water Resuse, Blue Resource for the Future signals international acceptance of water reuse is on the increase. “Thus waste water should no longer be viewed as a waste product, but similar to sea water, and be seen as a special resource, which with special treatment can supply in the ever growing needs of humanity.”
IWA Executive Director, Ger Bergkamp, added that the association is forging partnerships with the business community to develop new initiatives that will stimulate reuse of water across the globe, while signaling the growth of water reuse by municpalities and industries.
Bergkamp announced pilot projects for water reuse in the oil and gas industry and the mining sector in Asia and Africa.
Bergkamp also highlighted the increased importance of wastewater as an all-round resource.
“Increasingly other materials are recovered waste water, and as such turning waste into a valuable resource. We see this already in for example the recovery of energy, phosporous and nitrogen. Now increasingly research groups are working on the recovery of cellulose and production of bio-plastics out of wastewater.”
Minister Mutorwa said that several large schemes to augment the water supply are currently underway, including the use of northern aquifers and the Kavango River.
“The total water revenues generated in Namibia cannot sustain the type of capital investments and for this reason further major central government funding will have to be injected,” he told IWA delegates
To alleviate the pressure on existing water resources reuse is a viable option, the minister said.
“Waste water can be treated up to the appropriate standard for every type of reuse, be it cooling water, industrial wash water, water for construction, water for mining and mineral extraction, water for dust suppression, water for irrigation and landscaping, water for aquifer recharge and lastly drinking water,” he said.
“In all these cases we will be replacing blue resource water with grey water, brown water or green water treated specifically to reach the required quality for the application,” he further said.
By Staff Reporter