Breweries prepared for water shortage
Namibia Breweries said they have contingency plans in place to mitigate the risks of a severe water shortage if drought conditions deteriorate and water consumers in the City of Windhoek is rationed.
While dam levels may be at their lowest in many years, Namibia Breweries is cognisant of an anticipated water shortfall expected to hit consumers and industry in the second half of the year. The brewer has implemented measures to mitigate this operational risk. This was revealed to the Economist by O&L spokesperson, Roux-che Locke this week.
“We are cognisant of and understand the concern around a possible water shortage should the anticipated drought spell in the country not be alleviated. Equally so, as a business, this matter receives due consideration and as such the necessary measures have been implemented to mitigate risk,” said Locke.
The latest dam report released by the Namibia Water Corporation indicates that the von Bach dam currently contains only 34.5% of its capacity. Windhoek receives about 40% of its water supply from the von Bach dam. While the City of Windhoek also extracts groundwater and recycles used water, its officials are concerned over the current dam level saying that a disruption in supply will affect all industries. The City of Windhoek is Namwater’s biggest bulk water client.
According to Locke the water situation has been identified as the highest risk for Namibia Breweries and the matter is being dealt with seriously. Said Locke, “The real concern is the unavailability of water.”
Will the lack of water hurt operations at the brewing plant in Windhoek’s Northern Industrial Area? It appears not as Locke explained, “In case of an extreme water shortage, we will supplement beer production from our partner brewery in South Africa to distribute Namibia Breweries products under Namibia Breweries’ expert supervision from South Africa to Namibia.”
Dispelling any fears of job losses Locke added, “The plant will continue to operate as normal with the possibility of reduced shifts.”
The apparent lack of water will further not affect the quality of beer produced Locke explained. Following the installation of a highly advanced water treatment plant, the amount of water is optimised with minimum water loss on site. The water treatment plant is able to handle any possible fluctuation in water quality, which is anticipated when local reservoirs near the brewing plant go below a critical level.
Namibia Breweries investigated the possibility of obtaining water from an aquifer situated in the south of Windhoek but its ability to serve industrial users, in particular Namibia Breweries, remains in question. “NBL regards the only short term feasible mitigation action the abstraction of water from the underground aquifer in the South of Windhoek.
This project is unfortunately not completed to such an extent as to supply the complete city with the required amount of water, especially the Northern Industrial Area” she said.