Following the screaming headlines about water scarcity in the country, the Development Bank of Namibia has issued a statement that it would prioritise the financing of bulk water infrastructure in the country. This is of course, provided that the proposal is feasible and financial viable.
The statement, which cites Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) CEO Martin Inkumbi, invites “enterprises with plans to implement new water efficient technology or to rehabilitate existing technology should contact the bank concerning finance.”
The DBN chief says the “immediate focus of the bank will be local authorities, as these are the key providers of water to households and enterprises.”
He says that the bank believes that rehabilitation of aging water infrastructure, as well as provision of new infrastructure to distribute water in a more efficient manner, are areas with a high potential to generate water savings.
DBN would also consider finance for the better administration of water resources and services. “By improving payment and administration systems for water, more funds can be released through local authorities to further develop the supply of water on a national level,” he says.
The severe drought has left the country’s water catchment without sufficient water, and the City of Windhoek in Khomas Region, which is one of the severely hit regions, says the water situation is critical.
This is because of the supply shortage and persistent drought for the third time this year has caused a lack of much-needed water in the dams that provide Windhoek with its water.
The City of Windhoek has also announced that given the low level of water in the dams supplying Khomas Region, some 3 800 households in Windhoek could have their water disconnected if they do not reduce their consumption to below 40 000 litres of water per month, which is the volume of an average-sized swimming pool.
“In the current circumstance of the pressing need for water security, DBN is stepping up to the plate to assist with finance for feasible projects that work towards water security,” says Inkumbi.
Inkumbi cites previous projects financed by DBN as evidence of the bank’s ability to finance bulk water infrastructure in the country. These include the Aqua Utilities, which semi-purifies water for industrial purposes in Walvis Bay, as well as the financing of water reticulation infrastructure for various local authorities and private developers, as part and parcel of finance provided for servicing land.
Given feasibility and financial viability, the bank will prioritise finance for water infrastructure. He goes on to say the bank is aware that finance will be a barrier to planning, so an indication of the availability of finance can be a means to speed up the planning and early implementation of water infrastructure and water delivery services.
“We should not risk immediate solutions that are not sustainable in the long-term, or that remove water from the local authority system, as is the case with grey water which has to be reclaimed for purification,” Inkumbi said in the statement.
Inkumbi says the DBN has a strong body of experience in assessing public-private partnerships (PPPs), and the bank’s assessment of an application for finance will be a strong indicator of the feasibility of the project.