The future generation would be at the risk of enduring the burden of a resource curse if no priority attention is accorded in investing into long term sustainable water resources such as a desalination plant and water treatment technology and other essential public necessities like energy, Simonis Storm has warned.
The stock brokering firm blames poor water infrastructure planning over the past years and the lack of embracing the concept of sustainable development in budgets as some of the reasons that led to the current water shortages. “We believe that the concept of sustainable development is not adequately embraced in the national development plans, and that there are good reasons for it to serve as a departure point for the formulation of the NDP5. To this end, we appeal to the Government and the industry at large to continuously cultivate the discipline of embracing the concept of sustainable development in their budgetary processes – whether there is a crisis or not,” it said in its special report on the water crisis.
In the report released on Tuesday, the firm discussed the demand and supply dynamics of water in the central areas of Namibia (CAN) with a particular focus on Windhoek.
The population of Windhoek has almost tripled, increasing by 189.6% from 140,860 in 1990 to 407,950 in 2015, while total water supply (including boreholes, reclaimed and surface water) has only increased by 73.0% from 15.2 million m3 to 26.3 million m3 during the same period. This translated into a perpetual decline in the daily water consumption per capita of 42.9% from 308.7 litres in 1990 to 176.3 litres in 2015.
The firm reiterated the importance of “prioritising the sustainable provision of public goods in Government policy to ensure that future generations do not endure the burden of a resource curse that could stem from poor implementation of national development projects today.” It said the scarcity of water in CAN is a well-known and long standing issue since 1995. In 1995 and 1996, a critical poor run-off was experienced and led to a steady depletion of surface water and over-pumping of ground water. Had the situation persisted, a crisis was anticipated in 1997. It was on the basis of that assumption that the then Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development instituted emergency measures to avert the crisis. Part of the measures taken was to initiate a feasibility study to explore the establishment of a pipeline from the Okavango River to the CAN.
The main conclusion in the report made note of how climate change has changed the rainfall pattern.
Furthermore, the firm made reference to earlier assessments done of recent policy developments, which confirmed that the fourth National Development Plan (NDP4) has responded fairly to most aspirations enshrined in Vision 2030, such as fostering food security through green scheme projects and value addition initiatives.
The company also made several proposals of measures that can be implemented to help save water such as the imposing an additional 10 per cent on water restrictions; water rationing; and suspension of wet industries, such as car wash and construction activities within the city boundaries.-Additional reporting by Nampa
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