Windhoek – Cabinet approved a decision for its committee on treasury to consider the financial implications of purchasing the N$3 billion Areva Resources Namibia desalination plant in the Erongo Region.
The matter was referred to Cabinet late last year, following years of negotiations and significant progress on the potential deal.
Last week Cabinet took note of a report submitted by the State’s negotiating team before putting the Cabinet Committee on Treasury (CCT) to task.
The committee was instructed to: “Further consider the detailed financial implications involved and submit a report to the Cabinet Committee on Overall Policy and Priorities.”
“[This] is before the item is re-submitted to Cabinet, for final decision. The CCT should take into account the two options available to the government as solutions to ensure water provision,” the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tjekero Tweya, announced at a recent Cabinet briefing.
If purchased, Areva will be part of government’s long-term plans and strategies to beef up water supply to the coastal towns and industries in Erongo.
When government through the water utility, NamWater, embarked on the journey to purchase the desalination plant, its expectations were for the plant to start supplying water by 2016.
In September 2014, Cabinet appointed a government negotiating team consisting of senior civil servants to handle all relevant issues relating to Cabinet’s decision to purchase the only available desalination plant in the country, which is currently privately owned.
The country is currently experiencing water shortages, with government resorting to strict measures to stem the situation.
The desalination plant, which is approximately 30km north of Swakopmund, has a capacity to produce 20 million cubic metres of fresh water per year and can be upgraded to 26 million cubic metres using the existing structure. The plant’s connection to the NamWater pipeline feeding from the Omdel aquifer was completed in August 2013.
A first agreement between NamWater and Areva was signed in August 2013 to make provision for up to 10 million cubic metres a year to supply water to large consumers in the Erongo Region, which include Rössing Uranium, Langer Heinrich Mine and Swakop Uranium’s new Husab Mine.