Mutorwa calls for increased investment in water and sanitation sector
Although Namibia has thus far been able to meet the growing demand for water to sustain development, Mutorwa said there is a continuous need for the improvement of water services to keep abreast with the changing demand patterns through innovation and skills.
He made the remarks on the first day of the inaugural Namibia Water Investment Conference on Wednesday. During his presentation, entitled “Investment opportunities in the water and sanitation sector”, the minister bemoaned the lack of interest from the private sector in the water business saying it is hampering further development.
Mutorwa added that lack of investment was also adversely impacting the development of appropriate technology in the country.
Investment is required in the replacement, upgrading and expansion of the present water supply systems, inter-basin transfers and desalination of sea and brackish water, amongst others.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Director General of the National Planning Commission, Tom Alweendo warned that the water sector will continue to face challenges in meeting the financial requirements for maintaining, extending and upgrading new and ageing water infrastructure in the face of growing water scarcity and competition for capital.
He said the gap between the required financing and the projected financing is said to be growing but there are no good estimates available.
“What is clear however is that government alone might not be in a position to finance the entire required water infrastructure, therefore there is a need for private sector funding,” Alweendo stated.
A recent report from the United Nations estimates that about 1.1 billion people worldwide do not have access to fresh drinking water and 2.6 billion do not have adequate sanitation systems.
Current figures suggest that 85.5 % of all Namibians have access to potable water.
Under the National Development Plan (NDP4), this percentage is to be increased to 100%, however given the future industrialisation need for water, Alweendo said access to potable water could be under threat if the country does not find new water supply sources.