Eveline de Klerk
HENTIES BAY - Former president of Namibia, Sam Nujoma says government should consider prioritising and fast-track the implementation of a large-scale seawater desalination plant that would provide water for the country.
Nujoma made the remarks on Friday at the launch of the University of Namibia’s (Unam) Henties Bay campus solar-powered desalination pilot plant that cleans seawater for human, animal and agricultural use.
The University of Turku is funding the Unam solar desalination plant at the cost of N$3.2 million. The facility is the first in the world to be fully operated by solar power.
The plant can produce 3 000 litres of water at no operational cost. It also uses reverse osmosis to filter water, meaning it works both in converting breakage and saline water for human consumption.
Nujoma said about 80 percent of Namibia depends on groundwater as a major water resource but due to prolonged drought and climate change, the country’s groundwater and surface water resources could be depleted. “Ironically, Namibia is blessed with 1 500 kilometres of the Atlantic Ocean that provides us with unlimited water resource. Hence, the time is now to abstract seawater and desalinate seawater for human consumption,” Nujoma said.
The former president explained that the pre-feasibility study from Unam proposes the implementation of large-scale seawater desalination using renewable energy.
“I, therefore, hereby take the opportunity to appeal to the government of Namibia through the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry and in the presence of the Vice President Nangolo Mbumba to consider the implementation of a large-scale seawater desalination plant as a priority national project in the country,” Nujoma appealed.
He added that desalinated water should also be a source for irrigation and animal consumption and that the line ministry should embrace the concept of desert agriculture and use desalinated water to convert the desert into a large-scale green scheme for crop production and animal husbandry.