GRN desalination plant to produce 25 million cubic metres of water per annum for the coast

Government will build a new desalination plant with a capacity to produce 25 million cubic metres of water per annum to secure the water supply to the central coast. In the interim, government is investigating the feasibility of extracting even more water from the “severely strained” Omdel and Kuiseb aquifers.

Even though the underground water of the Omaruru Delta (Omdel) and Kuiseb aquifers is worrisome and very low, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MWAF) as well as the national water utility NamWater have been tasked to determine the possibility of providing more volumes of water from these natural sources. This was said by John Mutorwa, Minister in the MWAF, on Friday in Swakopmund.
Mutorwa gave an update on the water supply situation in various parts of Namibia after he recently visited some water supply infrastructure facilities. During his field visit he was accompanied by NamWater CEO Dr. Vaino Shivute and various other officials.
He presented his findings at the end of last week where he gave an update during a press conference in Swakopmund.
“It is an urgent situation. With the coastal towns expanding and the thriving industry, the Kuiseb and Omdel aquifers cannot supply sufficient water anymore. The sea remains in our view the most reliable, permanent water resource,” Mutorwa said during the meeting.
A week before the press conference the minister officially announced that government will not buy the Areva desalination plant anymore, but will instead build its own – a statement, he repeated on Friday.
“We will be constructing a 25 million cubic metres per annum seawater desalination plant by the end of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, being 2016/17 – 2018/19,” he said. He added that this new infrastructure will be developed on a Private Public Partnership (PPP) basis. Mutorwa did not give more details though, where this plant will be constructed or what technology will be utilized. “We are investigating all forms of desalination to come up with the best solution. Currently Reverse Osmosis seems like the best option,” said Dr. Shivute in this regard.
In the interim, though Mutorwa said that investigations are currently ongoing, to determine the possibility of extracting even more water from the Omdel and Kuiseb aquifers in addition to the water from the existing desalination plant to both the towns and the mines. This announcement came as a surprise, as the water levels in both aquifers are very low, which the Minister admitted. “Currently, both are under severe pressure and strains as a result of no significant recharge since the 2011/12 rain season,” Mutorwa said. He described the underground water as “worrisome and very low”.

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