Namibia to build second desalination plant in coastal region

Social Desalination Plant
Desalination Plant

Plans to build a major desalination plant to provide water to domestic and industrial customers in Namibia’s uranium-producing Erongo region are at an advanced stage, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Calle Schlettwein said on Thursday.

The plant, which is expected to produce 70,000 cubic meters of desalinated water a day, will be part of an integrated water supply system for the Central Coastal Areas and the hinterland, he said in a statement.

The feasibility study on desalination is finalized and the process of a public-private partnership on the project is entering an advanced stage, Schlettwein said.

The land site has already being acquired and that water abstraction and power off-take arrangements are also underway, he said.

The central coastal region, which is home to mining, tourism and fishing industries through hubs in Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, is expected to require 36.5 billion liters of water a year by 2030 for public and private use, but current sources can only meet less than a third of that demand.

Due to its location between the Namib and Kalahari deserts, Namibia is home to the most arid climate in sub- Saharan Africa. Only 2 percent of Namibia’s unpredictable rainfall is captured as surface run-off and only 1 percent is available to recharge groundwater, Schlettwein said, adding that Namibia’s high evaporation rates lead to an annual water deficit relative to rainfall of 1,300 millimeters to 2,500 millimeters, which can be compounded by periodic droughts.

Namibia’s sparse population exacerbates challenges in distributing its limited, erratic ground/surface water supply to both rural and urban settlements, while the limited perennial rivers run along Namibia’s northern and southern borders, 700-800 kilometers away from high-demand areas such as Windhoek and Walvis Bay. Enditem

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