Water could cripple industry

Water shortages and restriction on some business operations in and around Windhoek, according to an analysis by Simonis Storm Securities, will force them to scale down operations or relocate.
Water intensive manufacturers are said to be using water efficiently in their operations with minimal wastage. Any significant additional water savings, the Simonis Storm report states, will have to come from introducing a water recycling plant or different manufacturing processes, or even moving location to an area where there is sufficient water.
But these are all long term initiatives and likely to involve large capital investments.
According to the report, the government is the largest water user in Windhoek. Wastage is mostly due to leaking taps, toilets and broken pipes. The City of Windhoek has said that the most progress in terms of saving water will likely happen here.
Businesses such as Namib Poultry Industries which requires about 6 litres of water to rear a chicken will also have to trim down on consumption. Another 12 litres of water per chicken processed is spent in the abattoir. At a production rate of 250,000 chickens per week, the entire operation requires approximately 240,000 m3 of fresh water per year (or 240 million litres) to function.
The company is in the process of investing N$5 to N$6 million in a reverse osmosis plant to recover 80% of the water used in the abattoir. This will reduce its water demand for fresh water from NamWater by 50%. There are some boreholes on site that the broiler and abattoir could make use of to increase fresh water supply.
About 80% of Namibia Dairy’s water usage is for the production of fruit juices from concentrate, the rest is used in the production process of milk products, such as steam for the making of UHT milk and the cleaning of equipment. The company is currently looking at various contingency plans, but is also concentrating on using water sparingly.
Even with a borehole on site, it is too weak to supply sufficient water for production. Should water supply be interrupted for an extended period, the dairy is likely to suffer milk losses due to a halt in production.
Namibia Breweries is also making plans to lessen the demand strains on the City of Windhoek. This includes the activation of two new boreholes and the rehabilitation of an existing borehole. In the 2014 financial year, Namibia Breweries reported that they used on average 4 litres of water to produce one litre of final product. According to the assessment by Simonis Storm Securities, about 1.6 million litres of beer was produced pushing the brewer above 6 million litres consumption. Simonis Storm is of the view that if water restrictions are implemented, Namibia Breweries will feel the impact as they are heavily reliant on the local water supply.
The Meatco feedlot at Okapuka currently holds about 9000 cattle on a daily basis. Each animal drinks about 50 litres of water a day, equating to 450,000 litres or 450m3 of water per day.
The total capacity of the feed lot is close to 11000 cattle, making it by far the largest consumer in the Windhoek district.
If the number of cattle in the feedlot is reduced, it will create a knock-on effect on the Meatco abattoir which relies on a steady supply of slaughter animals from Okapuka.