Areva quenches coastal thirst

17 February 2017 | Local News

Despite the fact that Areva was dragged to the Namibia Competition Commission in 2016, NamWater and the Erongo Region have found an unlikely saviour in its desalination plant following the signing of an agreement in December 2016 for the supply of water in the region.

This is despite the “excessive” fee Areva charged the thirsty coastal clients of N$35 per cubic metre of water supplied and the reason why Areva and NamWater squared off at the commission. Expressing his displeasure at the time, NamWater CEO Vaino Shivute said: “We are convinced that the tariff is on the high side and can be better. We are currently considering our options in taking this issue forward,” he said speaking to the media.

Areva through its plant, now supplies 1 million cubic metres of water per month to the Erongo Region, thus securing water for the towns of Arandis, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund as well as the three uranium mines.

In response, Areva Namibia spokesperson Sugnet Smit said: “We supply water to NamWater, who distributes desalinated water to its customers. We currently produce about 1 million cubic metres per month and deliver it to NamWater as from December 2016.”

Namibian Sun reported in April last year that no significant inflows were recorded from the Omaruru River flowing into the underground Omdel Dam. Over the past two years, demand for water from the Omdel aquifer rose by 10% and 6%, compared to an average annual increase of roughly 3%, a reliable source said at the time. “One has to accept that demand at the coast is increasing. Especially household demand is growing. They use more than the groundwater resources can supply,” the source said. The desalinated water is mixed with groundwater, making up for the shortfall.

Meanwhile, Areva was positive it could start mining operations on its Trejkoppe mine as soon as the price recovers to a level sufficient to resume activities. “It is difficult for us to give any prediction when the uranium price will recover, but our care and maintenance plan is working well and will allow us to start up efficiently when required.

The desalination plant has the ability to expand capacity from its current 20 million cubic metres per year to 45 million cubic metres per year to meet the demand.

OGONE TLHAGE

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