Water governance outdated

23 March 2020 | Infrastructure

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



There is an urgent need for a legally binding water regulatory framework, therefore government should enforce the Water Resource Management Act of 2013.

This is according to the latest publication by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), titled 'Weak Policies and Conflicting Visions: Drought, Water Shortages and Climate Change in Namibia'.

The report said within the water governance sector, an outdated and semi-functional regulatory framework is paired with inadequate finance and funding mechanisms.

It said the current water governance situation in the country suggests that overall little has changed in this sector over the past years.



Abandoned

“With regard to legislation, it is worrisome to observe that it appears that the Water Resource Management Act of 2013 is still not in force as neither its regulations nor the date of its enforcement could be identified.”

Therefore, for all intents and purposes, the outdated Water Act of 1956 is still governing the sector.

Even more unclear is the status of the extensive and detailed Integrated Water Resources Management Plan of 2010.

“Indeed, it appears that government has mostly and quietly abandoned the national plan.

“For example, the document cannot be located on the website of the agriculture ministry, the key public institution tasked with water governance.

“The plan is not mentioned in the ministry's recent and publicly available annual reports nor its strategic plans,” the report stated.



Maintenence

According to the report, only a handful of major bulk water infrastructure construction projects have materialised since independence, most of which have focused on maintaining and rehabilitating existing structures.

It said, to some extent, this is understandable as Namibia remains a developing country with limited public finances and a host of socio-economic challenges, which complicate prioritisation and planning by decision-makers.

Government had agreed to provide funding for these urgent water infrastructure projects at a cost of roughly N$3 billion, while a further N$1 billion would be sourced from the national bulk water supplier NamWater and local authorities.

The implementation of the priority projects is planned to take place over the next five years.

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