WINDHOEK - AB InBev Namibia in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry (MAWF) this week officially signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) related to ensuring Namibia’s water sustainability. The partnership initiated by AB InBev Namibia is aimed at addressing the critical issue of water supply in the country.
Studies reveal that Namibia is the most arid of all the sub-Saharan countries, a situation exacerbated by the lack of perennial rivers within the country’s borders and accentuated scattered rainfall patterns across the country, further exasperating and highlighting the need for the development of innovative means of water sourcing.
AB InBev, through a strategic partnership with SLR Environmental Consulting Namibia, will be conducting a hydrogeological investigation of the Swakop River between the Von Bach and Swakoppoort dams with the main objective of confirming the availability of groundwater resources and understanding the potential impact of increased abstraction.
This is in line with AB InBev’s 2025 sustainability goals, which are designed to positively impact communities around the world and deliver measurable results in areas of smart agriculture, circular packaging, climate action and water stewardship.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Renaud Beauchamp, managing director for AB InBev Namibia and Botswana, said: “Our commitment to this initiative is undergirded by our principle of ‘Bringing People Together for a Better World’ and one of our goals as AB InBev is to have communities in high stress areas have measurably improved water availability and quality by 2025. This project is therefore one way to achieve this objective.”
“Water is more than just a key ingredient in our beer, it is a critical resource for the economic and environmental well-being of our communities. We brew our beers at the highest level of water efficiency and we continually challenge ourselves to do even more. That is why we are looking beyond our own operations and improving high-risk watersheds in the areas where we operate,” he added.
The ultimate goal under the AB InBev Water Stewardship pillar is to ensure water access and quality for both the communities and the brewery. Such undertakings require hard work, collaboration and active engagement from strategic partners such as MWAF.
Echoing this sentiment during the ceremony, Beauchamp said: “Together with MWAF and other strategic partners, we will continue to invest financial and technical resources into projects like this one and we are very happy to be a part of this partnership.”
Based on the MoU, AB InBev Namibia will be the funding partner whilst MAWF will be the custodian of the resources, with the following benefits: Assessment and quantification of potential resources, the development of a groundwater quality map with potential pollution sources, overall contribution towards enhancing knowledge relating to existing aquifers with implication as contingent supply in times of need. In addition, skills transfer to benefit MWAF and the development of a numerical model that may prove useful for control of groundwater utilisation that also includes potential to control abstraction of groundwater by Osona plot farmers utilising the Swakop River alluvial aquifer.
On behalf of the MAWF, the permanent secretary, Percy Misika, said: “We have a water situation where we need to ensure that every drop of water in Namibia counts and to do what we need to utilise all the water sources that we have and find additional sources in order to ensure water supply security for all Namibians. That is why this study is important, to help us identify whether we have additional water resources in this area and if so, what the quantity and quality is and how much of it can be abstracted without depleting the resource.”
This partnership between AB InBev Namibia and MAWF provides an opportunity to understand the aquifer and potential for future use and also offers an opportunity for strategic partnerships and advancement of IWRM in the basins which may improve water planning, especially during times of water scarcity.