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Nearly N$6 million to fund Ohangwena aquifer

2018-09-03  Edgar Brandt

Nearly N$6 million to fund Ohangwena aquifer

WINDHOEK - NamWater on Friday confirmed that it will commence with the construction of a de-fluoridation plant at the massive Ohangwena aquifer in northern Namibia.

Completion of this project, towards which a N$5.8 million funding grant has been secured from Germany, would help arrest the deteriorating and declining water supply to the town of Eenhana in the Ohangwena Region.

NamWater on Friday confirmed it will commence with the construction of a de-Fluoridation plant in the area. 
The plant, which is being made possible with a grant of about N$5.8 million (350 000 euros) from Germany’s Federal Institute for Geoscience and Natural Resources (BGR), will for now only supply the town of Eenhana. 

Eenhana lies atop the Ohangwena II Aquifer and NamWater has known for more than a decade that the availability of potable water, via the Oshakato-Omakango-Omafo pipeline, to the area was drastically declining due to increasing water demand. 

According to NamWater’s statistics, Eenhana is growing at a fast pace due to infrastructural and industrial development. 
For this reason, three boreholes with a high yield well of 120 cubic metres per hour abstraction rates, were drilled into the

Ohangwena aquifer by May 2017 at a cost of N$2.6 million each. 
However, the water quality concerned NamWater as the aquifer water contained high levels of fluoride and sodium which was not fit for human consumption. 

“This project has been prioritised as a strategic imperative for [NamWater] as we are required to ensure that we provide water of the right quality standard, fit for human consumption as per our mandate enacted in our enabling Act as well as the Water Resources Management Act,” said CEO Dr Vaino Shivute at the signing ceremony with BGR in the capital on Friday. 

Also at the occasion, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Abraham Nehemia said the country is lucky to have the aquifer as a natural resource. 

“Many people who grew up in Eenhana and lived there never knew they were living on a large underground lake. In Namibia, every drop counts and with the success of this project we might find ourselves providing other areas in need of water,” said Nehemia. 

Commenting on plans to construct the plant, BGR representative Martin Quinger said the project would be an eye-opener in terms of determining the replenishing rate of the aquifer which has an estimated volume of 20 billion cubic metres.
“It is important to put stress in one area so that we can establish the replenishing rate,” he said, adding that more funds need to be invested to maximise the infrastructure utilisation of this massive resource. 

Quinger further noted that the aquifer, which stretches for about 200km all the way into southern Angola, is mostly (about 80 percent) recharged in that country which makes it difficult to calculate the amount of recharge the resource receives.
“There is also so much land being irrigated in Angola and this could significantly effect the recharge rate of the aquifer,” said Quinger. 

The aquifer is currently supplying Eenhana with about 40 cubic metres per hour through the three boreholes. However, the water is used concurrently with pipeline water to minimise the high fluoride and sodium content. The planned de-fluoridation plant, which will provide limited employment of up to 10 people due to it being a fairly automated system, will now go out on tender as per regulations in the Public Procurement Act. 

2018-09-03  Edgar Brandt

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