HENTIES BAY - Namibia needs at least three solar powered desalination plants to provide water to the entire country and it could also supply water to other arid Southern African countries facing the same predicament in terms of concurrent droughts.
The estimated cost of a desalination plant that was built from scratch at the coast a few years ago is at N$3 billion.
This is according to Frank Kavishe, a mechanical and industrial engineering professor at the University of Namibia (Unam).
Kavishe was briefing the Founding Father Dr Sam Nujoma and Swapo Secretary-General Sophia Shaningwa who toured the seawater desalination pilot project, located at the Sam Nujoma Campus at Henties Bay.
Namibia’s only desalination plant is privately owned by Orano resources, previously Areva Namibia.
Kavishe said that Namibia should strongly consider sourcing funds for the construction of desalination plants along the coast in such a way that fresh water can be supplied to the rest of the country.
Namibia has been experiencing concurrent droughts resulting in President Hage Geingob declaring it an emergency and government availing N$573 million to assist drought-stricken families and farmers.
However, Kavishe says water for household and agricultural purposes should not be a challenge for Namibia, as the country possesses a 1500 kilometere coastline to cater for three desalination plants.
“One plant should be between Swakopmund and Henties Bay to supply water to the central areas of Namibia including Windhoek.
Another one at the mouth of the Kunene River that can avail water to northern Namibia,” he said.
A third, he says should be located at Luderitz to cater for southern Namibia. He explained that all the plants power should entirely be generated from a combination of solar photovoltaic, concentrate solar power, wind energy and ocean wave energy.
“The establishment of these desalination plants will allow Namibia to adapt to climate change by providing a sustainable and reliable water source in the midst of recurrent drought while also mitigating against climate change by increasing dependency on clean renewable energy with its associated zero carbon emissions,” Kavishe said.
Nujoma on his part says the issue of seawater desalination has been in the pipeline since 1998, when Namwater initially looked into the prospects of desalination water but could never get the project off the ground.
Nujoma explained that the idea of a seawater desalination plant not only an additional source of water but a must.
“Therefore, it is time now to abstract seawater for human and livestock consumption,’’ Nujoma said.
He explained a report compiled shows that a desalination plant between Henties Bay and Swakopmund that produces about 40 million cubic water per year and could supply the whole of central Namibia including the city of Windhoek.
“Of course the water will have to be pumped to a total elevation of about 1700 metres above sea level. Hence the proposal is to use affordable solar and wind energy to drive the desalination plant and the booster pumps,” Nujoma said.
Eveline de Klerk
2019-06-20 09:07:03 27 days ago