Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

7 December 2012

Namibia: Safe Water Is Essential to Human Life - Tjivikua

The treatment of water for human consumption poses many challenges both in developing and developed countries. Major technological and scientific challenges arise from the pressure to provide readily available and sustainable technologies for the societal requirements for health and a clean environment.

Polytechnic Rector, Tjama Tjiviua said that water especially safe water is essential to human life, hence government since independence has had a concerted drive to expand access to water and sanitation services for the citizens of Namibia.

"A recent independent evaluation of the status quo indicated that government has made substantive progress in relation to access to water, however, in some rural communities there is still preference for drawing water from traditional wells." he said.

According to Tjiviua, at the International Water Conference held recently, NamWater pronounced that an investment of over N$40 billion is required in the next five years in order to meet growth demands of economic sectors such as energy production, agriculture, mining, manufacturing and tourism.

"But more importantly, this will also ensure that the entire population has access to water. It is clear that with respect to the water situation, challenges facing government are still enormous and it therefore makes sense that universities should work with government and other stakeholders to find appropriate solutions," he added.

Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa said synthetic materials currently used for water treatment are not only expensive but there are also health and environmental safety concerns associated with them. As a result, it is desirable to explore other cost effective and more environmentally acceptable materials.

"The importance of Polytechnics and Research Institutions in solving real practical life changing problems through research, innovation and appropriate technologies. Sometimes we unnecessarily get bogged down in and frustrated by terminologies, names and pure semantics," he said.

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