The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $121.7-million loan, along with a €3-million grant from the Rural Water Supply Sanitation Initiative Trust Fund, to support Namibia’s Water Sector Support Programme.
The five-year programme aims to improve access to potable water and for agricultural and industrial use through the sustainable production and transfer of water resources, as well as enhance sanitation in rural areas, enrich institutional capacity and promote sustainable management and use.
Under the Water Sector Support Programme bulk water infrastructure and associated fixtures will be constructed and rehabilitated, along with water supply schemes and climate resilient inclusive sanitation facilities.
This is in an effort to increase access to sustainable water services from the current level of 85% and sanitation services from 54% to the universal 100% target by 2030 as Namibia grapples with a national water crisis owing to severe droughts.
The 2018/19 rainy season was one of the driest since 1981, with 50% or less of average seasonal rainfall received during the year.
Hygiene interventions and institutional capacity building initiatives are also a priority.
“A key element of the project is sanitation marketing, focusing on behavioural change. It is critical to improve sanitation, including reducing the number of people practising open defecation,” said Water Development and Sanitation Department director Gladys Wambui Gichuri.
The programme will build on innovative technology in sanitation in Namibia and includes the preparation of studies and designs for direct potable water reclamation in Windhoek to increase the existing capacity by 17 000 m3/day.
Namibia treats its wastewater in Windhoek to potable standards and injects 30% of the recycled water into the system for distribution to consumers.
“At completion in 2024, the interventions will directly benefit an estimated one-million people and 250 000 indirect beneficiaries, mostly women. Rural residents will gain better health from improved environmental and sanitary conditions,” she concluded.