Namibia: Omatako River Basin Plan Mooted

PLANS are afoot to have a 10-year integrated water resources management plan for the Swakop Upper-Omatako river basin.

A consultative workshop on the development of the plan was held in Windhoek last Thursday.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform has contracted Seelenbinder Consulting Engineers and Bigent Kuumba to collect and process data on water resources and infrastructure in the basin as part of the investigation and study for the development of the plan.

Andre Olivier of Bigent Kuumba told the workshop they had engaged stakeholders to clarify the roles and to inform them about the role of the basin management committee (BMC).

According to the ministry of agriculture, the study for developing the plan was set to be finalised by the end of May this year, but, due to Covid 19 some activities had to be delayed to prevent the spread of the virus.

The programme has subsequently been adjusted to compensate for the delays and is now scheduled for completion next month.

Speaking at the event, the director for water resources management in the ministry, Maria Amakali, said the Swakop-Upper Omatako basin covers mainly the central areas of Namibia (including Windhoek), which have endured periods of drought and have seen human activities impact on the quality and quantity of water resources.

"We have attended various platforms in the past where water has been a topic of discussion. All these demonstrate how critical water is to human life, economic growth and prosperity.

"Most of you remember the road we took to get here and may recall that around 2012 the ministry of agriculture in collaboration with NamWater initiated a stakeholders engagement process to address the issue of water pollution, security and proper management thereof.

"This initiative yielded some successes including the formation of a formalised stakeholder platform. Today we have a basin management committee for the Upper Swakop basin," said Amakali.

She said the committee is a platform for all stakeholders with an interest and influence in water to participate and provide advice to central government on its availability, use and management - allowing the government and the community to work together.

"The workshop provided a platform to share outcomes of interviews conducted in the basin by consultants, to validate if they are significant to include in our plan and to confirm if the stakeholders consulted thus far represent the needs and aspirations of the Swakop-Upper Omatako basin."

Amakali the said Swakop-Upper Omatako basin is one of the most important in the country due to the economic significance of the central region, and pressing issues of water security and increasing population, making the integrated water resources management plan very crucial.

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