More industries, more water

Namibia heats up
The overall change in average temperatures, repeated and frequent droughts and devastating floods in parts of the country are evidence of the impact of climate change.
Ellanie Smit
The national demand for water in Namibia is expected to reach 538 million cubic meters (m³) per year - almost double the estimated demand of 223 million m³ in 2015. By 2030, demand is expected to reach an estimated 722 million m³.
According to water, agriculture and land reform minister Calle Schlettwein, good planning and engineering are essential to ensure increased water supply, but this alone cannot guarantee access to additional water.
“The demand for water will continue to increase as new industries emerge,” he said.
This includes the development of mines and energy as well as the discovery of oil and gas in different regions of the country, as well as the development of budding green hydrogen projects.
The minister, whose speech was read by his deputy executive director, Eliah Ngurare, at the national workshop for water security and climate change, says no sector can develop without water.
Schlettwein said that based on available data, the occurrence of droughts and floods worldwide has increased by an average of 18% over the past four decades. According to him, records show there is a strong link between the increase in water-related disasters and global warming, which is the key contributor to climate change.
“Scientific evidence shows that Namibia is getting warmer. Surface temperatures have risen by 1.2 degrees Celsius in the last 100 years. The occurrence of extreme temperatures has increased by 10% over the past four decades.”
According to Schlettwein, climate change is causing rising temperatures and increased erratic rainfall in Africa, which is already affecting the availability of water resources. Surface water resources are declining in many areas, which are particularly vulnerable to climate change and pollution.
He singled out the overall change in average temperatures, repeated and frequent droughts and devastating floods in parts of the country as evidence of how climate change is affecting the country.
“Businesses and the economy in general are already feeling the impact, but the most vulnerable are communities whose livelihoods are based on natural resources and which include subsistence farming.”
Schlettwein warned that it is essential that Namibia manages the increasing pressure on its freshwater resources.
Challenges include deteriorating water quality and infrastructure, limited technological capacity and partial investment in the water industry, as well as the implementation of related policies and strategies. – [email protected]