Dr Sam Nujoma visits desalination project – Henties Bay

“Desalination Namibia’s only option for the future”

Sharlien Tjambari

A 3 000 liters per hour pilot desalination plant at the Sam Nujoma Campus at Hen-ties Bay, fully powered by solar energy, is a tiny step towards delivering desalinated water to communities as far inland as the capital Windhoek. It is also a step towards taming the oldest desert on earth, the Namib, and turn it into a bread basket through massive desert agriculture projects.

Namibia’s Founding President, Dr Sam Nujoma and a delegation of regional and national leaders, including the Governor of Erongo Clr Cleophas Mutjavikua, visited the Campus at Henties Bay this week, to see how progress is made towards fully activating the pilot desalination plant.
Once in operation, this plant will be a world-first project: it would be the first desalination plant fully powered by solar energy and also the first time that desalinated water will be used for growing crops. Sam Nujoma Campus for that purpose constructed a green-scheme.
During the visit, the University of Namibia’s Acting Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Development, Professor Frank Kavishe, briefed delegates on the desalination water pilot project. He explained Namibia is an arid country and periodic droughts are not only increasing, but periods of droughts are also growing. Without embracing desalination technology and partnering up with inter-national partners, Namibia could soon find itself in a water crisis.
Professor Kavishe referred to the capital city Windhoek as an example. The city’s water demand would reach 30 million cubic metres per annum by as early as next year and the supply and demand situation would worsen countrywide.
The pilot project at Henties Bay would not produce 27 kw of electricity to power the desalination plant. Seawater would be pumped from the ocean nearby and through the process of reverse osmosis the salt and the water would be separated. The brine (salt-water) which is in essence a by-product would for now be pumped back into the ocean, but future planning also include salt production from the brine.
This project in its entirety would lay the ground principle for a network of desalination plants to dot the Namibian coastline from the Kunene River to Lüderitz. An elaborated pipe network would trans-port the water from the desalination plants inland to communities as far as Windhoek. A system of tanks and booster pumps would overcome challenges like elevation, explained professor Kavishe.
A desalination network of the size and magnitude that is planned for Namibia would not only guarantee the country’s water future. The water would also be used for massive irrigation projects and farming to ensure Namibia’s food security future.

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