By Confidente Reporter
GOVERNMENT will early next year begin the construction of a multi-billion dollar desalination water plant as part of the Harambee Prosperity Plan, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa has said.
Mutorwa without disclosing further details said Government had decided to construct its own desalination plant.
Mutorwa wasn’t also keen on disclosing whether Government still has interest in purchasing the Areva desalination plant at a cost of N$3 billion.
“Construction of the desalination plant will start early next year,” he said.
When asked whether the construction of a desalination plant will not take long before its commissioning vis-à-vis the dire water crisis areas like Windhoek already find themselves in, Mutorwa while quoting what Presidential advisor, Dr John Steytler said when presenting the Harambee Review 2016 at State House on Tuesday, said central areas of the country will still have water until December 2017 even if it doesn’t rain.
“They will be water as Dr Steytler said already in all central areas even if it doesn’t rain,” Mutorwa said.
At the time of going to print, Confidente could not independently verify whether the construction of the desalination plant will be a joint partnership with the country’s eastern neighbour-Botswana which has also been battling recurrent droughts -to construct the multi-billion dollar plant.
Confidente then was informed that high level talks were taking place between the two governments. President Hage Geingob, had also revealed at a function held at State House that the two governments were in discussions to pump water from the Atlantic Ocean through a pipeline that will stretch to Botswana.
“There is a regional project that will be commissioned between the Namibian Government and Botswana to tap water from the sea but we are not going to discuss that at this juncture because it’s a government to government project,” Geingob said.
According to a document shown to Confidente early this year if the Namibian Government is to construct its own desalination plant it would cost about N$3.6 billion currently while the costs of pumping the water from the coast to Windhoek through Usakos, Karibib and Okahandja to the Von Bach Dam in Windhoek would amount to about N$2.75 billion. The project would require at least three years to complete.
“In principle, several such development corridors can be created across Namibia. Of great strategic importance will be the Coast-to-Capital Corridor: it would unlock the unlimited supplies of the Atlantic Ocean as a source of potable water, using seawater desalination powered in part by solar and other renewable energy sources. Once available, this water could be piped via Usakos, Karibib and Okahandja to the Von Bach Dam and thus complement Windhoek’s other water supplies.” The report adds that although drawing water from the Atlantic Ocean is costly it is however a necessary investment. “In early 2016, a modern desalination plant producing some 25 million cubic metres of water per year would cost about N$3.6 billion. If commissioned in 2016, such a plant would commence production. It could be financed through Namibian dollar denominated loan facilities, including local insurance companies, pension funds and development banks. At an interest rate of 8.5 percent per year over 20 years, water would cost some N$36 per cubic metre in 2019 and rise to between N$50 per cubic metre and N$62 per cubic metre in 2030.”
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