Groundwater exploitation critical to averting water scarcity

In the quest to find alternative sources of water to avert the water scarcity that plagues the country, one of the most promising ways to permanently sort out Namibia from the water concerns could be based on a “water-mix” approach, combining short, mid and long terms levels, according to French Ambassador to Namibia, H.E Jacqueline Bassa-Mazzoni.
Bassa-Mazzoni said that French companies have specific proposals for all these different stages, “In particular Saint-Gobain, in order to refurbish some pipelines very quickly and to save 20% of water.” She said this at an event where, Acting Permanent Secretary, of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), Sophia Kasheeta signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BRGM, the French Geological Survey, to establish a framework for the identification and management of groundwater resources.
The framework is set to be critical, in the view of the current water shortage crisis.The agreement identified specific activities like the exchange and enhancement of scientific and technical knowledge to strengthen the scientific and technical capabilities of MAWF with respect to groundwater resources development and use.
“I’m convinced that with the support of the EU Delegation and the commitment of the National Planning Commission, handling the Technical Fund Facility which could fund a pre-feasibility study of an expert of BRGM in Namibia for a 2 to 3 week-time mission,” she added.
Furthermore she said, to support such an initiative given its strategic importance, the unborn project included in the MoU will soon start.“BRGM have planned to discuss their ideas with Ministry’s officials to move forward on a possible joint-work programme on this critical issue.”
Speaking at the signing, Prof. Jean-Phillippe Rancon, BRGM Area Manager, Sahelin, Southern and Eastern Africa International Division, said the MoU was a milestone which will be a fruitful cooperation between the two institutes.
“The visit of 2 officials from MAWF, Aina Iieka and Abram Nehemia at the Technical and Scientific Centre of BRGM in Orleans in May was opportunity for BRGM to present its skills and know-how in the field of groundwater exploration and management,” he said. Furthermore he said, the next step is now to build up a joint work programme.
Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry, Sophia Kasheeta, said that specific plans will be discussed immediately to get the project on track and she added that BGRM came at the right time considering that last month H.E. President, Hage Geingob declared a state of emergency due to the ongoing drought.
Meanwhile water resources remain scarce and vulnerable, mainly due to the arid and variable nature of the climate and the prevalent drought.

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