International Water Conference in October
The International Water Association (IWA) specialist group on re-use has chosen Windhoek because of the city’s long-standing expertise on re-using water for human consumption.
Recycling water for human consumption started in Windhoek in the late nineteen sixties when the first reclamation works were built at Goreangab Dam, then a fair distance outside the city. Over the next half a century, Windhoek became one of the leading city’s in reclaiming and reprocessing potable water.
The water conference will attract 450 water experts from all over the world. The water scientists will discuss issues like re-use of water for irrigation, potable re-use, desalination, climate change and groundwater recharge.
“Windhoek won the bid to host the 9th International Water Re-use Conference over cities like Denver, Colorado, because of its long-standing relation and experience with water re-use. It will be the first time this conference is hosted in Africa in a city where direct potable reclamation, artificial aquifer recharge, water demand management and dual pipe irrigation systems have become part of the standard vocabulary.” said conference chairman, Piet Du Pisani.
“The IWA conference will undoubtedly provide networking opportunities for shared innovations and emerging solutions in water re-use. Windhoek being the only city in the world where drinking water re-use technologies are practiced, will be honoured to share its experiences in this highly technical field,” added Windhoek Mayor Agnes Kafula.
The conference will contribute to the local economy through the booking of flights and hotels, as well as banking and shopping. The organisers also will boost the SME sector through the use of local tour operators and catering services. A good number of participants will make use of the opportunity to tour the country accompanied by their spouses, who will also need to be entertained during their visit to the City and its environment.
Windhoek arts and crafts dealers and purveyors of African specialities can look forward to providing visitors with the opportunity to ensure that there are enough mementos going home with them to sustain good memories of their visit to Africa.
“The people of Windhoek are requested to ensure that true African hospitality is accorded to all our visitors. A happy experience in Windhoek and Namibia makes for pleasant memories which bring people back to our country as tourists. One bad experience will ensure that people will not return,” said du Pisani.
He said, the Organising Committee requests “Windhoekers to invest in future tourism opportunities by welcoming our conference delegates and treating them as celebrities, thereby ensuring that they spread the good news of this unexplored gem on the south western coast of Africa.
Windhoek’s reclamation plant, commissioned in 1968 was the first in the world. The New Goreangab Reclamation Plant that was built alongside it in 2002, is still the only plant reclaiming sewage effluent and directly turning it into potable water.
The City of Windhoek is also special in the way it banks water for the future through the innovative recharging of its aquifer. This aquifer was stressed through years of over-abstraction during periods of drought, but is currently ready to be replenished after an intensive drilling programme that saw the addition of a number of recharge boreholes.
Currently, Windhoek is constructing a third reclamation plant that will treat industrial effluent to use it for the irrigation of gardens and sports fields. This plant was necessary because of Windhoek’s growing population and increasing water stress, and an outdated treatment facility at Ujams.
The conference participants will visit the Goreangab reclamation plant and the Gammans Wastewater Careworks, Windhoek’s aquifer recharge scheme as well as the von Bach-Swakoppoort water supply scheme.