Water supply remains a daunting task

WINDHOEK - The prevailing water scarcity in the country and the persisting drought should serve as a reminder that water management and supply in Namibia remain a daunting task.

These were the words of Marina Amakali, Director of Water Resources Management in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry when she addressed the Namibia Water Partnership workshop in Windhoek yesterday.

She said 2018/19 season saw extreme drought prevailing countrywide, where Namibia received less than 50 percent of average seasonal rainfall.

President Hage Geingob declared a drought state of emergency, where drought contingency measures are underway. Latest statistics released as of April this year of dam levels show that Naute dam remains the highest with 86.7 percent compared to 82 percent last year during the same period.

It was followed by Oanob dam which stood at 47.7 percent which is lower than 64.7 percent last year, while Von Bach Dam stood at 41.5 percent compared to 53.4 percent in 2018. last year.

Additionally, Hardap dam stood at 19 percent this year, compared 43.7 percent in 2018, while Swakoppoort recorded 11.4 percent compared to 35.2 percent, and the lowest was Omatako which had no water all this year, compared to last when it stood at 2.2 percent. She said different user groups can assist and influence how approaches to water management, development, and use efficiency. “Therefore, water management is the key responsibility of all stakeholders and it is up to all of us to play our role in the management, provision and safeguarding the water resources in Namibia. Today, we are gathered here, as stakeholders to deliberate on how best we can revive and strengthen the Namibia Water Partnership and how we can collaborate on the management of this precious resource which connects us all ‘water’,” Amakali noted. However, she mentioned financing constraints for the backlog of infrastructure development, aged bulk water infrastructure from source abstraction to delivery points of municipalities, limited human resource capacity in the sector institutions to effectively manage and implement water resources and sanitation are some of the challenges facing the water supply. She stated for the past two decades, water resources management has called for a change of mindset and adoption of new approaches towards the management of the limited and ever pressured water resources. One of these approaches advocates the concept of integrated water resources management.

This concept, she says requires the integration of land, water and related natural resources for socio-economic development, while recognizing the integrity of the environment as a water user. With this concept, Amakali said water is recognised as a finite resource with economic value for all its competing uses.

Moreover, she said its management and planning must thus be done involving all stakeholders at different levels: national, regional and international.

The Namibian Water Partnership (NWP), which was launched in February 2001, hosted by Water Association of Namibia (WAN) and later by the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) is affiliated to the Global Water Partnership (GWP-SA).