Wlotzkas desalination plant running at 75% capacity

The desalination plant located near the coast at Wlotzkasbaken, north of Swakopmund, is currently running at 75% capacity and is supplying close to 50% of total water demand of the Erongo Region. This statistic was revealed by Areva Resources.
While Areva emphasises the fact the plant operates smoothly, the price for its desalinated water remains high.
The low capacity the plant is running at is the main culprit.
“It has to be ramped up to its full capacity to deliver its nominal performance in terms of volume and tariff”, states Areva.
Adding it would give the plant a long-term perspective that would benefit all stakeholders.
Currently, the desalination plant is 100% owned by Areva Resources Namibia, but Areva is still examining several avenues for a divestment, as water is not part of the group’s core activities.
Regarding the ownership of the desalination plant, there has been a continuous tug-of-war between Government and Areva. Government publicly indicates several times its intention to purchase the plant.
The reason for not yet committing to a deal is possibly Government’s opinion that the technology used at Wlotzkasbaken is outdated.
Evolving desalination technology has become available that can deliver the desired outputs more cost effectively.
To the contrary Areva emphasises its plant “benefits from the latest available technologies in desalination”. Furthermore, according to Areva no major breakthroughs in newer desalination technologies has been made since the plant’s commissioning.
“The plant requires no expensive technology upgrades to be implemented. The seawater desalination process combines ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis – the most efficient method of desalinating water on an industrial scale.
The plant’s exceptionally low electrical energy consumption is also on par with the latest technology of other desalination plants around the world”, Areva states.
Government has recognised though that the desalination plant is critical in supplying the Erongo region with sufficient water. Currently the plant bridges the shortfall between the water need in the region and the volume that available ground-water resources can sustainably supply.
The plant can currently produce 20 million cubic meters of desalinated water a year, but existing infrastructure can allow for an expansion of the output to 26 million cubic meters per year.
This is, according to Areva, more cost effective than constructing a second, separate desalination facility.

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