KfW still keen on funding desalination plant

28 June 2019
German state-owned development bank, KfW says it is still keen to provide funding towards the construction of a desalination plant at the coast should the results of on-going feasibility study recommend its construction.
The bank, however, said due to the possible size of the project, it would be open to partnerships with other funders to implement the project, which is expected to cost billions of dollars to implement.
“Definitely we are very much interested and would like to continue to provide highly attractive loans with very preferential conditions,” said KfW Director, Uwe Stoll told the Windhoek Observer.
“The project will have a desalination plant, transmission line, the pumping stations to pump water to Windhoek, it will be a quiet costly infrastructure project and so it will not be KfW to fund it alone; we will search for partners from other development financing institutions and also the private sector to engage in this huge project.”
He said the agency had already availed N$21 million (€1.3 million) towards the study, which is ongoing is expected to be complete at the beginning of next year.
“The desalination study, like all other studies is being financed by KfW and the German Development Corporation. The money has been provided and its €1.3 million and the study started in January and is expected to be complete by the beginning of next year,” Stoll said.
“It’s a huge team of local and international consultants in the field. The study is being done under NamWater and they are doing assessments now, holding stakeholder engagements in order to identify the best solution to using desalination water for the coastal towns and Windhoek in the future.”
The country’s only desalination plant owned by Orano Resources (formerly AREVA) was built in 2010 and the company has offered to sell it to government, a deal which has stalled over pricing disagreements.
A few years ago, government set up a government negotiating team to advise whether Namibia should buy the Orano desalination plant, only for it to opt out at the conclusion of the lengthy discussions.
The plant which has a design capacity of 54 million cubic meters and water from the plant is supplied to mines as well as Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.  
Orano currently supplies, under a temporary take or pay water supply agreement, just over 12 million cubic meters of water per annum to NamWater, which in turn sells the desalinated water mainly to the adjacent uranium mines.
The Windhoek Observer reported in June last year that the Government of Botswana, which is desperate to find additional water sources, is said to be in talks with Orano to buy the desalination plant.
The long-term move, which is unlikely to bring the much-needed relief to the existing water woes faced by the central region which has started using boreholes as supply dams run dry, is expected to drag further the issue of securing consistent water supplies.
This comes as the City of Windhoek announced water restrictions last month,  moving from the current category C which is water scarcity to a category D - severe water scarcity (drought), which is at least 15 percent.
Car washes, hotels, lodges, and other large water consumers are expected to implement water saving measurements, with certified commercial carwashes only allowed to use 30 litres of water per vehicle.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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