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Namibia Set to Launch Major Desalination Project in 2025 to Tackle Effects of Drought

© AP Photo / Jerome DelayPuros Canyon, northern Namibia
Puros Canyon, northern Namibia - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 27.06.2024
In May, President Nangolo Mbumba declared a national state of emergency in 14 regions due to the unprecedented drought conditions. The country experienced record-low agricultural production and nearly 100,000 livestock fatalities during the latest drought in 2019.
In January 2025, Namibia's second desalination plant will commence construction, according to Calle Schlettwein, the Minister of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform, as the country is currently experiencing its most severe drought in over a century.
The project, which was initially proposed in 1998 and would have a capacity of more than 20 million cubic meters, has been approved and is expected to be operational by early 2027.
Namibia's need for water has grown since it produces 11% of the world's uranium, making it the third-largest producer; moreover, exploration and uranium industry acquisitions are expanding in the country.
To meet their water needs, miners in the Erongo region, between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, have historically relied on two groundwater aquifers and the Orano Desalination Plant, which opened in 2010. However, with somewhat more than 30 million cubic meters per year, these sources are almost at their limit.
"Our ambitious development plans, increased mining activities, industrial demand, agriculture, and food production have pushed projected demand beyond what these sources can deliver," Schlettwein stated.
Despite predictions of 3.7% economic growth in 2024, the central bank warns that the ongoing drought and water supply issues pose significant risks.