Namibia’s Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Calle Schlettwein on Friday called for intensified collaboration among sectors to ensure sustainable water supply and safeguard the country’s freshwater resources.
Speaking at the commemoration of World Water Day, which falls on March 22, Schlettwein highlighted the growing challenge faced by Namibia in managing freshwater resources sustainably due to increasing demand for water resulting from population growth, socio-economic development, and food production.
According to Schlettwein, the effects of climate change, such as rising temperatures and increased rainfall variability, are taking a toll on surface water resources, making them increasingly unpredictable and vulnerable to pollution.
Water is valuable to households for food production, cultural norms, provision of health, education, economic activities, and maintenance of the natural environment, Schlettwein said, adding that if demand for water is mismatched with available water resources, there is a risk of depleting resources and not meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.
To address these challenges, Schlettwein called for increased investment in water infrastructure, including water treatment facilities, and equitable distribution of water to all communities, including rural areas.
He also emphasized the need to encourage young water professionals to develop interests in water-related research to determine resource potential and sustainable development.
Informed management requires an improved knowledge base, institutional capacity, and enhanced governance to unlock sustainable development of groundwater resources for socio-economic development, water and food security, and climate change resilience, according to Schlettwein.
“Our aim is to create awareness that we need to increase our efforts and interventions to accelerate change so that our communities, who are less privileged, have access to improved sanitation and water services,” he said.