Query: What plans has government put in place for future developments in light of the water crisis? Are there any plans that have already been implemented?
Response: Government and Namwater have plans to develop water infrastructure in Namibia. The latest plan is the Integrated Water Resources Management Plan for Namibia that looks at existing and potential water development initiatives. The overall aim is to secure water for all Namibians.
Namwater has regional master plans, whereby different water supply sources and schemes are elaborated. The Directorate of Rural Water Supply (also has plans as part of community-based management to ensure access to all by increasing the coverage of water supply to rural communities. As such, the north-central areas of Namibia are supplied by a network of pipelines from Calueque Dam on the Kunene River. These are both rural and bulk pipelines.
Von Bach, Omatako and Swakoppoort dams supply the central areas, the southern areas are covered by the Hardap and Naute dams for domestic and irrigation purposes, while the Orange River is used mainly for irrigation and supply of the southern mining towns.
Borehole schemes supply the coastal areas and the rest of the country, where pipelines and surface water is not available. The objective is to ensure access to safe drinking water for all Namibians. Since independence, the pipeline scheme has been developed to cover areas not serviced with piped water.
Bulk water supply and rural feeder pipelines were constructed in the following areas: Otjozondjupa Region, Zambezi Region, Kavango East Region and Omaheke Region. Furthermore, short pipeline extensions were implemented in most regions. These extensions run mostly from borehole water points to areas where there are no boreholes.
Query: What cooperation has taken place with the line ministries, the City of Windhoek and other stakeholders to minimise migration and/or improve the water reticulation of Windhoek?
Response: The ministry and City of Windhoek have been collaborating on the Artificial Recharge of Groundwater under Managed Aquifer Recharge project. This collaboration allowed water to be injected into the boreholes for use during water shortage periods, like Windhoek is experiencing currently. As readers may be aware, President Hage Geingob under the Harambee Prosperity Plan established a Cabinet Committee on Water Supply Security with its Technical Committee of Experts. Under this initiative, the ministry, NamWater and the City of Windhoek are working together to ensure that Windhoek and the central areas of Namibia do not run out of water. Water is piped from the Karstland aquifers at Kombat and Berg Aukas to Omatako Dam through the Eastern National Water Carrier to Von Bach Dam for purification and then to the central areas of Namibia.
Query: Does government have any other further water storage plans in place for the central area?
Response: The capacity to store surface water for the central area has been developed by means of the three-dam system and has currently reached its use limit. The artificial recharge of aquifers is recommended and will be carried out by the City of Windhoek during times of good inflows into dams.
Other plans to bring more water to the central areas include the construction of a desalination plant at the coast, as well the Okavango link pipeline. These are under feasibility study investigations at present.
Water demand management is something that must be encouraged and implemented countrywide to ensure that water is not wasted and is used efficiently. Water saving campaigns are also being conducted to bring about change in consumer habits and the attitudes of water users, bearing in mind Namibia’s dry and arid climate.
Margaret Kalo, senior public relations officer in the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry, E-mail: email@example.com