NamWater charges expensive -Calle

Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Minister Calle Schlettwein says the national water utility, NamWater, is more expensive than its regional peers in providing the precious commodity of water.

The Minister cautioned the institution to make water available at lower prices to make it affordable and accessible to everyone.

"We have a policy in place and that is not to make water a business, but provide cheaper water to the populace. We have many people living in large informal settlements, these are the poor consumers who need it most because they cannot afford, and hence it [water] should be provided as a human right, just like [it is provided to] the rich [people] and businesses. Therefore, there is no room for profit making if you want to supply these poor people," said Schlettwein.

"NamWater is already expensive when compared to others. If we want to be competitive and industrialise, we must actually provide cheaper water rather than more expensive. Therefore, there is no platform to be profit oriented on a commodity that is already costly in comparison to others. We have a firm policy that profit motive should not be implemented on water as a commodity. You can make money with equipment and other viable means but not water," the Minister said when unveiling NamWater's seven board members.

The Minister also announced that an Act on Water will be gazetted soon and will contain pricing models to be used, and serve as a guide. 

"The Act has already [been] passed by Parliament and regulations are formulated already, therefore once gazetted we shall be putting this Act into force," he stated.

Meanwhile, newly appointed board chairperson, Luther Rukira, begged to differ saying, for NamWater to continue providing water they need to generate income and operate as a business.

 "I am aware of the challenges NamWater faces, and we are ready to work as a team to tackle them, however, we need to generate money in order to provide these services," he said.

Furthermore, Schlettwein said the board is entrusted to implement all projects that are contained in the government's Water Sector Support Programme with an estimated funding of N$3.3 billion. The programme started in 2020 and is being rolled out in phases for five years.

Among the crucial projects he highlighted is the desalination plant which is split into three phases termed SS, of which SS1, he said, was ready for implementation.

"SS1 to supply Henties-Swakopmund-Walvis Bay will need to stretch further to reach areas such as Daures, Uis, and other settlements in the deserts, while SS2 is the second phase where desalinated water will reach Windhoek. Whereas SS3 which will be a stand-alone project linking Botswana. SS1 is ready for implementation, while for others, detailed design studies will be conducted soon. These are projects you should focus on," he stressed. 

He emphasised projections indicating that there might be a water shortage after three years as the existing water sources will no longer be able to sustain the demand, as more mines are envisaged to be opened.

"The desalination plant will be situated next to the existing Orano. We have started with rehabilitation of pipelines as we do not want to be faced with an aging infrastructure when we complete the second plant, where there is high water value and smaller pipes. For now, we are replacing so that when done, we just connect," he said.

Other projects lined up include the upgrade of Windhoek Gammams reclamation plant, re-routing of Oshikuku canal, purification plants at Oshakati, Zambezi Region, Kavango, as well as developing the Ohangwena aquifer as a crucial water source.

"We have realised that a single source of supply has been problematic, thus we need to have an alternative, of which we have the Ohangwena aquifer to link with West and East. We believe this will resolve the water problems experienced," he added.










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Last modified on Tuesday, 23 May 2023 19:02

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