Query: Ministry of Agriculture, we want to know, when will you start with the construction of a desalination plant in the Erongo Region?
Response: Before the ministry starts with the construction of the desalination plant in Erongo Region, a feasibility study is required. This feasibility study, amongst other things, will determine the optimum size and location of the desalination plant. The ministry will commerce with the process of acquiring services for the feasibility study. In addition, the ministry is busy discussing with KfW (German Development Bank) for grant funding towards the feasibility study. It is expected that the feasibility will be completed towards the end of 2018. Thereafter, tenders for the construction will be out.
Query: How much does Government need to set up the desalination plant in the Erongo Region and where will the money come from?
Response: The price will vary depending on the chosen technology. According to Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) on page 51 the target is designed to address water security for the coastal towns by augmenting water supply in order to meet the growing demands of the mining sector and coastal towns of the Erongo Region. In the spirit of HPP, and to free up resources for construction, water infrastructure will be given to develop this desalination plant on a Public Private Partnership basis.
Query: Why is the government establishing the regulator, and will the establishment of the regulator mean Independent Water Producers will be allowed?
Response: Water is a basic human right and government should ensure equitable access to safe drinking water, mainly on cost recovery basis. As such with the establishment of the water regulator tariffs of fees and charges to be paid will be set in the supply of water, ensuring affordability by all and recovery of cost to supply water for all. That way government will aim to reconcile opposing principles such as social equity, affordability and access to all, on the one side, and preventing waste, actual costs, commercialisation of water supply. Thus ensuring payment for true value or true cost of water, the water regulator will then aim to harmonize the expectations of the consumers and policy makers without compromising the financial sustainability of the service providers. It is essential to control the increase in tariffs by service providers, to assess the performance of service providers through performance indicators and to evaluate their service plans as stipulated in the Water Supply and Sanitation Policy of 2008. Lastly, it should be noted that Part 10 of the Water Resource Management Act provides for licensing of water service providers and as such no person may operate as a water service provider without holding a licence as a water service provider issued by the Minister. The Minister has the discretion to determine when to allow private water producers as described in the Water Act.
• Ms Margaret Kalo, Senior Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, E-Mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org