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NamWater to sign deal with AREVA

Dr Kuiri Tjipangandjara, General Manager of Engineering and Scientific Services at NamWater, at his office here in Windhoek

Dr Kuiri Tjipangandjara, General Manager of Engineering and Scientific Services at NamWater, at his office here in Windhoek

After years of negotiations, the national water utility, NamWater has finally signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AREVA that will pave the way for negotiations and the signing of an off-take and water supply agreements with AREVA.
The agreements will enable NamWater to supply its customers with water from the country’s first desalination plant.
According to the General Manager of Engineering and Scientific Services at NamWater, Dr Kuiri Tjipangandjara (Eng), an off-take agreement with AREVA is expected to be signed within the next few weeks if all outstanding issues are resolved.
AREVA Country Manager, Hilifa Mbako, confirmed that an agreement with NamWater was imminent before referring this newspaper to NamWater for further details. He said: “Yes, we are in the process of finalising an off-take agreement with NamWater, but it is not yet signed. The rest can only be disclosed by NamWater at the appropriate time. If you should need comment on that, please contact them.”
Tjipangandjara said he was hoping that by 01 August 2013, NamWater will be supplying Rössing Uranium mine, Husab Mine and Langer Heinrich Mine with water from this desalination plant.
Negotiations for an uptake agreement for excess water from AREVA’s desalination plant, which has a capacity to produce 20 million cubic meters of water per year, have been ongoing since 2009 without success. But the dwindling water reserves in the Omdel Aquifers and the flood damages experienced in the Kuiseb Aquifer, coupled by the water demand from the operating mines, the construction of the Husab Mine, and the increasing population in towns such as Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Henties Bay and Arandis, meant that a new reliable source of water had to be developed urgently.
Dr Tjipangandjara said: “For the past few years we have been supplying the coastal towns and the mines from the Kuiseb and the Omdel aquifers. The Omdel aquifer relies on the inflow through the Omaruru River, but for the past four years or so we haven’t had any inflow hence the erratic water supply to this part of the country.
“Ideally you take out water then rain comes and replenishes the aquifers but what has been happening is that we are taking water but no inflows have been coming to replace that water; the water levels have been dropping. It can be said that we have been mining the aquifer.
“The Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry has issued us with a water abstraction permit with the understanding that within the shortest time possible we would be able to build a desalination, the Mile 6 Desalination Plant, but unfortunately the construction of that plant has been delayed.
“There is increasing water demand at the coast that we cannot meet. On the other hand, there is a  desalination plant at Wlotzkasbaken, built by AREVA, that is not being fully utilised. Thus, it was then necessary talk to AREVA to see whether we cannot have access to the excess water from that plant.”
Tjipangandjara added: “Initially we wanted to take six million cubic meters by mid year. As we were working on that, Swakop Uranium started moving fast with the construction works of the Husab Mine. Because of the serious water shortage we initiated another project of getting to Husab mine water within the shortest time possible. If everything goes according to plan, we would be supplying Husab Mine with water at 300 cubic meters per hour for the next two to three months before the big project kicks in.”
Tjipangandjara said technical connections to the Husab project are about 90% complete.

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