Article Views (non — The Namibia Water Corporation (Namwater) plans to invest about N$3 billion in the water sector over the next five years.
Namwater plans to provide N$1.6 billion of the required funds while the rest of the investment will come from partnerships with bulk customers, and through government ministries and the Treasury.
The desalination plant alone at the coast is expected to cost about N$2 billion, while the development of other water infrastructure at the coast is estimated at N$1.2 billion, Namwater's chief executive officer Dr Vaino Shivute revealed during the recent international water conference in Windhoek.
The money required for the water sector to provide 100 percent access to water throughout the entire country is estimated at N$4.18 billion.
Currently, Namwater has sunk 823 boreholes, including 574 production boreholes and 249 monitoring boreholes, a 422-kilometre distance of canals, 19 dams, 4 210 km of pipelines, 17 treatment plants and 377 reservoirs.
The reservoirs include 13 earth embankments and 172 concrete ground level, 19 concrete elevated, 85 galvanised steel and 88 other types of storage facilities.
Shivute cited the 2 000 population census that showed that 80 percent of the rural population had access to clean drinking water, while 98 percent of the urban population had access to clean drinking water. "Water quality in Namibia is good and the principle to pay for water must be supported and upheld," he urged the conference. Shivute said tariffs are the main source of revenue, as users tend to value water more and reduce waste, if they have to pay for it.
Shivute highlighted the aridity of the country, climate change, as well as accessing the remaining 20 percent of Namibians, as some of the challenges Namwater faces.
Other challenges, according to Shivute, are the public perception of water being something which should be provided for free, misplaced perceptions about the price of water and ageing infrastructure. He also noted that many local authorities face challenges relating to leadership and management capacity, as well as skills shortages.
A lack of funds to invest in new infrastructure, capacity to maintain infrastructure, affordability, low levels of income, and poverty, especially in smaller local authorities are additional challenges facing the water sector.