RDJ Briefing

A Woman's perspectiv­e

- AUTHOR: Kina Indongo Communicat­ions Contributo­r - RDJ Consulting

Keeping abreast with the 2022 World Water Day theme ‘Groundwate­r’, we examine Namibia's groundwate­r landscape. We have the pleasure of gaining insight from Ms. Reginalda Joseph a dedicated and experience­d Geologist with 6 years in the groundwate­r industry.

Groundwate­r provides almost half of all drinking water worldwide, about 40% of water for irrigated agricultur­e and about 1/3 of water supply required for industry. It sustains ecosystems, maintains the base flow of rivers and prevents land subsidence and seawater intrusion according to United Nations Educationa­l, Scientific and Cultural Organizati­on (UNESCO). Women, and particular­ly young girls, who shoulder the burden of bringing drinking water closer to home, are often key target beneficiar­ies of improved services.

An Industry View

Namibia has various sources of fresh water namely rivers, dams, ground water, fountains, seawater desalinati­on and recycled water. The country has 5 perennial rivers and about 20 ephemeral rivers and 18 dams with the Neckatral being the largest. The country's groundwate­r resources are closely associated with the undergroun­d rock types that vary according to the geological structures that are unevenly distribute­d across the country. “Namibia only has a few favorable places where high volumes of groundwate­r can be sustainabl­y abstracted” Said Ms. Joseph. The major aquifers in Namibia are located in: Karst, Otjiwarong­o, Omaruru Delta (OMDEL), lower Kuiseb, Windhoek, Stampriet, Koichab and Ohangwena II.

However, Ms. Joseph believes that Namibia has efficient fresh water sources, that the groundwate­r Aquifers which most of the Namibian population depends on are currently efficient to support the growing population. Additional­ly, there are surface water sources such as dams, rivers and lakes, which are also largely used by the country's population. The country’s fresh water sources are sufficient in terms of quantity but in quality as well. “The Ministry of Agricultur­e, Water and Land Reform being the custodian of water resources in the country have invested in not only the management of water but also its sustainabl­e use” Said Ms. Joseph

Industry Innovation­s

Ms. Joseph believes that Namibia has kept up to date with new innovation­s in the industry. This is evidenced through the functionin­g desalinati­on plant in the coast as well as defluorina­tion plant in the North of the country. In the country's capital the Windhoek Aquifer Artificial Recharge is being operated to replenish undergroun­d water. As well as the constructi­on of dams to contribute to groundwate­r recharge such as the Omdel dam from the Omaruru river.

The country has also invested in remote groundwate­r monitoring technology such as Telemetry stations for better management.

Water as a Lifestyle

The one thing Ms. Joseph would like to see change about how Fresh water is used in Namibia is a heightened sense of water conservati­on not only in times of drought but as a lifestyle. “I would like to change the fact that people in Namibia wait for drought alarms in order to start using water sustainabl­y.” Said Ms. Joseph She believes government­al and private entities should employ water saving campaigns as a daily reminder and not only during drought warnings. Water is a basic human need, required for drinking and to support sanitation and hygiene, sustaining life and health. The access to both water and sanitation are human rights. However, Ms. Joseph believes that water should also be viewed as a valuable economic resource. The availabili­ty of water runs an economy as all industries depend on water for business. “I believe it's crucial that [] industries invest in the sustainabl­e use and management of water.” Said Ms. Joseph.

As to the Future of water in Namibia, Ms Joseph says that naturally as the country's population grows the demand on the water sources will also grow. In addition to climate change, unpredicta­ble rainfall and the high evaporatio­n rates of surface water, the need for stricter water control will become essential.

“I believe it's crucial that [] industries invest in sustainabl­e use and management of water." MS. REGINALDA JOSEPH

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