• July 6th, 2020

NamWater needs N$13 billion for water infrastructure

Albertina Nakale

WINDHOEK- NamWater needs N$12.7 billion over the next five years to develop new water schemes and to rehabilitate aging infrastructures in Namibia.
This was revealed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Executive Director Percy Misika when he addressed the financing of water projects roundtable discussion in Windhoek yesterday. 
The roundtable talk was designed to focus on building and maintaining ‘best-in-class’ water assets across Namibia. The talks aim to subsequently provide government with a specialised industry platform that can be used to illustrate how the Namibian water sector may be developed over the next five to 10 years.
Misika revealed that NamWater has only been able to secure N$2.3 billion - out of the needed N$12.7 billion.
To address this, Misika said government will be investigating the feasibility of establishing a water scarcity fund, which will preserve funds for emergencies related to drought. 
Furthermore, he indicated that NamWater will explore the possibility of converting a portion of its tariff to a basic charge, which will be required to cater for water infrastructure replacement.
The indicative development budget allocated to the water sector during the current Mid Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) (2019/20-2021/22) is N$1.7 billion for water supply infrastructure development, of which 71 percent is for the emergency water supply projects and 12 percent (N$204 million) for rural water supply infrastructure. 

Misika said N$22 million has been allocated for sanitation infrastructure and N$45 million for integrated water resource management. 
According to him, rural water supply and sanitation infrastructure requires about N$2 billion and only about N$271 million is budgeted for in the current MTEF. Therefore, the emerging funding gap is about N$1.429 billion, he revealed. 
The event covers a full range of issues connected with the preparation and delivery of water related infrastructure in Namibia. The event will draw on proven regional strategies that effectively facilitated the integration of public sector resources with private sector finances in developing water infrastructure and building resilience through better water management. 
Specifically, the event which has been organised by Open Africa Business, a Dubai based company focuses on appropriate financing mechanisms (in particular Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) or project finance) for procuring and developing major water projects and services, and on how such mechanisms could successfully be applied, given Namibia’s water sector needs.
He stated that government with the assistance of the African Development Bank is developing a Water Supply and Sanitation Investment Programme that will be used as a tool for mobilising public and private sector investments in the water and sanitation sector. 
“These are the projects that are deemed critical and urgent to ensure water supply security countrywide, alleviate the current drought effects, enhance resilience to climate change effects and meet the UN sustainable development goal six, of ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all,” Misika maintained. 
Equally, he mentioned that there has been many offers received from private individuals proposing different technical solutions to alleviate the current drought and future water needs. 
These ranges from desalination of seawater to developing the groundwater resources and construction of inter-basin water transfer schemes and pipelines. 
He indicated establishing the strategic alliances through Public Private Partnership to address the financial constraints facing the water sector is one of the financing strategic options, aimed at achieving the objectives of Fifth National Development Plan (NDP 5).
In an infrastructure-intensive sector, he says improving access and service quality to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be done without massive investment. 
“In Namibia, the water sector is particularly under-funded. In this context, public-private partnerships can be a mechanism, among others, to help government fund much needed infrastructure and bring technology and efficiency that can improve the performance and financial sustainability of the water sector,” Misika said.
The Government promulgated the 2017 Public Private Partnership Law and Framework aimed at facilitating private sector investment. This Law highlights the rules of engagement for PPPs – to address infrastructure development.
Moreover, he added that Namibia faces enormous challenges to construct water supply and sanitation infrastructure and to, extend and maintain water supply and sanitation services to its people. 
These include the sparsely populated settlement pattern, which makes service provision more challenging in terms of unit cost and affordability coupled with the water resource base constraint in Namibia. 
The dry climate and unpredictable and low rainfall is also a significant challenge to the country, making the need for conscious efficient utilisation of water resources imperative.
Pic: NamWater

Albertina Nakale
2019-07-19 09:15:54 | 11 months ago

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