THE close to N$3 million water investment conference taking place this weekend has attracted more than 300 people from across the region and internationally, the undersecretary in the department of water affairs and forestry, Abraham Nehemia, announced yesterday.
In arid Namibia, extensive treatment of water to all levels of water users has been identified as a major challenge that requires collective intervention and investment, hence the first conference that hopes for more private-sector investments in water provision.
So far, there has been little private investment in the sector, which has led to high costs in manufacturing and development of technology; Namibia thus has to rely on imported equipment, plants, machinery and spares.
The areas under discussion at the conference are investment in water supply and sanitation, infrastructure development and technology; management of water supply and sanitation services; water for economic development; water resources management; public-private partnerships; and capacity building in the sector.
Nehemia said it is hoped that greater networking and cooperation in the sector will continue after this weekend's event.
Speakers from outside the country will notably come from Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
There will be presentations by the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the United Nations Commission for Africa, the Orange-Senqu River Commission (Orasecom), and the Permanent Okavango River Basin Commission (Okacom).
About 60 per cent of Namibia's water supply is groundwater extracted from aquifers, and the few perennial rivers - Kavango, Kunene, and Orange, all shared with other countries in the north and south - supply 20 per cent. The remaining 20 per cent of the country's water supply is from internal river basins.