The Governing Board of the African Development Bank on Wednesday agreed to a loan of $121.7 million (ZAR 1,893 billion) and a grant of €3 million for Namibia’s’ Water Sector Support Program’ from the Rural Water Supply Trust project Trust Fund (RWSF). The plan would promote sustainable development and water resource transfer in order to improve access to drinking water for agricultural and industrial use. It will also increase rural sanitation and institutional efficiency, sustainable management and use.
In particular, it aims to increase access from the current 85% point to sustainable water services and sanitation from 54% to the total goal of 100% by 2030. Because of severe droughts, Namibia has been facing a regional water crisis. The 2018/19 rainy season, one of the driest since 1981, was subject to only 50% or less of average seasonal precipitation, thus placing severe constraints on the economic, environmental and social development agenda of the South African country.
The five-year plan involves construction and renovation of bulk water infrastructure and related structures, construction of water supply schemes and climate responsive, including sanitation services, hygiene programs and institutional capacity building initiatives. Sanitation marketing, which focuses on behavioral improvement, is a key element of the project, said Gladys Wambi Gichuri, Director of the Water Supply and Sanitation Department. “It’s important to improve sanitation, including to reduce the number of people who practice open defecation,” she said.
The project conforms to the National Development Plan for Namibia and a government goal to increase water availability and affordability as a fundamental element in making Namibia a prosperous and developed country by 2030.
The program builds on innovative sanitation technology in Namibia which treats its wastewater in Windhoek to drinking standards and delivers 30% of recycled water to the system for consumer distribution. The plan involves studies and designs for direct drinking water recovery in Windhoek to expand current efficiency by 17,000 m3/day.
The programs would help approximately 1 million people directly and 250,000 indirect beneficiaries, mostly women, by 2024. The improved environmental and safety standards would improve the health of rural residents. Vulnerable households should be granted a special priority in the fields of improved sanitation. This would also create job opportunities and motivate women and youth groups in the water and sanitation chain for future companies.
Data Source: African Development Bank Group (AfDB)