Authorities urged to optimise water sources
The City of Windhoek says it plans to optimise its water sources through various means in order to meet a growing demand of the resource.
This was said by the City of Windhoek Communications Manager, Joshua Amukugo ahead of Namibia’s first Water Investment Conference organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, and NamWater, which is slated for September this year.
Residents and industries in the city consume approximately 25 million cubic metres of water per year with a growth factor of 3%. The city’s main sources of water supply are the Von Bach Dam outside Okahandja, the New Goreangab Water Reclamation Plant (NGWRC) in the city and the Windhoek Aquifer (boreholes).
Amukugo says while boreholes contribute less than 10% to the annual demand of the city under normal circumstances, they can produce up to 40% of the city’s demand during emergencies.
“Our sources (Von Bach and NGWRP), with their current limitations cannot supply the daily demand in peak season. Hence, abstracting water from boreholes is also required.”
The Swakoppoort Dam is heavily polluted as Windhoek and Okahandja lie within the catchment of this dam and will require expensive new treatment steps before being ready for use. The Von Bach Dam is also threatened by tourism and housing developments taking place within the dam basin.
Due to high levels of reuse, Amukugo says the reclaimed water salinity levels are rising and would require further treatment in the near future.
The city contends that it will not be able to meet future demands brought about by the growth in resident numbers. It says that higher than average rainfall in recent years has created a false impression that the supply systems are meeting demand and that the next dry cycle will stretch the resources to their limit and the city may not be able to meet the demand of its residents and industry.
“Therefore, the city would need to optimise the existing water sources in the medium term, through the storing of surplus dam water in the Windhoek Aquifer. The city has been drilling additional large diameter deep boreholes and is expanding the borehole infrastructure to be able to artificially recharge the Windhoek Aquifer in order to abstract larger volumes of water when required.”
In addition to the current unconventional sources to maximise the potential yield of existing sources available, the city’s long term solution will be the cleaning of the Swakoppoort Dam as well as the investigation into trans-basin transfer of water to the central areas.
Most Namibian urban centres are located far away from the primary source of water such as perennial rivers making it one of the leading challenges the country faces.
This and other challenges together with the investment opportunities within the water and sanitation sectors will be discussed at the forthcoming Namibia Water Investment Conference, taking place from 12 to 14 September in Windhoek. The Conference aims to collectively address the increasing demand and pressure on the country’s water resources and sanitation facilities.