The government is set to speed up the construction of the envisioned second desalination plant in Namibia in a bid to uphold water security. The project’s feasibility study estimates and could cost in excess of N$3,5 billion.
The Government will pursue loans to fund the construction of a desalination plant that would deliver water to the coastal and central regions of the country, including Windhoek. The government is also considering associating with Botswana to supply water to the drought-prone neighboring country.
Through the minister of agriculture, water, and land reform, Calle Schlettwein, the only best and most reliable solution is desalination. The ocean is a sure supply of water thus the creation of the necessary infrastructure to utilize that supply is inevitable. Additionally, making ocean water drinkable and further supplies it where it is needed the most.
Desalination is potentially a favorable and reliable source of water going into the future. Therefore, public and private partnerships should be finalized before this year’s lapses. Moreover, all stakeholders should engage and reprioritize efforts thus construction of the Second Desalination Plant should start immediately. Further, there is a rapidly growing water demand that needs to be addressed with immediate effect.
Desalination should not only focus on ocean water but also on inland water sources as well. Having reliable alternatives for water supply is necessary to avoid strain. Therefore, for this to be effective, full implementation of a totally integrated water supply system is necessary. Further, this system will allow water delivery to all consumers in the country.
Importance of Second Desalination Plant in Namibia’s water supply amidst the existence of the Erongo Desalination Plant (EDP)
Despite the existence of the Erongo Desalination plant (EDP), the second desalination plant will boost the capacity produced from 20 million cubic meters of water up to 45 million cubic meters. Erongo Desalination plant (EDP) is operated by Orano Mining Namibia.
With an adequate water supply, the Namibian citizens will have adequate resources to run their economy.
Namibia’s Second Desalination Plant Project Gets a Go-Ahead
The government plans to proceed with the acquisition of a second multibillion-dollar desalination facility for the coast in collaboration with NamWater. This was revealed by Agriculture Minister Calle Schlettwein during the commissioning of water reservoirs by the Rossing Uranium mine.
These plans have reportedly been in the works since the government decided not to purchase the Orano desalination plant in Wlotzkasbaken in 2016, owing to its high cost. According to reports, Areva offered the plant to the government for N$3 billion at the time, claiming that such a utility could not be privately held.
The desalination facility and other mines, notably Rossing Uranium, supply over half of the region’s freshwater use. However, increased water demand has compelled the government to take a risk and build a second desalination plant down the coast.
Current Progress on Namibia’s Second Desalination Plant Project
According to Schlettwein the feasibility study for the building of a new desalination plant has been completed and demonstrates that an extra desalination plant is possible and necessary. The minister explained that the new facility would be built through a public-private partnership in which private funding will be leveraged, and private operational capacity will be enlisted.
The minister said that in conjunction with NamWater, the government is nearing the end of the process and would shortly begin the real public-private partnership procurement stage. This will be a scalable modular desalination plant facility that will offer desalinated water to the central areas and support water supplies to Botswana later.
He went on to say that they replaced the infrastructure of both groundwater resources that feed water to the western portion of the nation, from the Kuiseb River and Omdel Dam to Swakopmund. It presently has a life expectancy of 2037.