After nearly a decade on the Namwater board of directors, Abraham Nehemia took over his position as Namwater CEO in January of 2019 with the intention to lead the company until 2023. Previously, Nehemia worked with the Namibia National Planning Commission and assisted in the implementation of Namibia’s first census. Nehemia replaced previous Namwater CEO Vaino Shivute, who had headed the entity from 2002 until he eventually passed the reins to Nehemia. Namwater deems Nehemia to be fit for his position due to his prior involvement in international water issues, particularly his work with the Southern Africa Development Community and his contributions to the the Zambezi Commission, the Kunene Permanent Joint Technical Commission and the Orasecom Commission. “I have actually been in the water sector since 1992, just after independence. I joined the department of water affairs where I have been involved in both technical and policy development issues. I have been on the ground as a person doing technical work and engaging communities and I was part of the project that first looked into the introduction of community-based water supplies,” he says. Nehemia formed part of pilot water projects in the Erongo and Omusati regions before being assigned to upgrade the water sector in Namibia with the Namibia Water Sector Review. “We looked into the legal processes in the water sector at the time, the policy frameworks and the issues of capacity building,” says Nehemia, stressing the emphasis on capacity-building among the youth in the water sector with this venture.Nehemia then took up his space in ministerial management as the director responsible for rural water supply. “We really worked on large infrastructure development. For instance, in the central north, there were only a few pipelines along the main roads, but now there are rural water supply pipelines all over the area, that was in the early to late 1990s when we were focusing on infrastructure development,” he says. Nehemia also provided oversight for the drilling of hundreds of boreholes in rural Namibia. “We really improved the access to water for our people. From the mere 30% - 40% at independence, to almost 80% - 90% by the year 2000 and that was really a serious commitment that we set ourselves to at the time,” he says. He simultaneously served on the Namwater board of directors and was previously the chairperson of the board. Currently, Nehemia devotes himself to strategic planning of water supply and refreshing company policy to allow the company to grow to new heights. “One of our critical strategic intents is to look into infrastructure development. Most of the infrastructure we have as a company, we obtained from the department of water affairs at the establishment of the company and most of it is reaching its age. We get a lot of disruptions of water supply and therefore we have developed new master plans that are going to help us look into the development of new infrastructure and also rehabilitation of those that we can,” he says. Namwater is currently looking to implement a master working plan for the coastal area. “We have revamped all the infrastructure in that area, whether it is reservoirs, pipelines or pump stations. In the next one to two years, we will have sorted out the coastal areas, especially the anticipation of the new desalination plant which will bring more water in the area, so we should have all the infrastructure required to supply water to the points of demand,” he says. Development of infrastructure at the coast, however, does not mean that Namwater intends to leave the remaining parts of the country high and dry. “We are busy with a master plan for the central north and we have a consultant that is working with us to develop a plan and that will look at revamping the whole system. It will take some time, because a lot of work is required and a lot of support will be needed – we already have support from the Africa Development Bank,” he says. These plans will venture into the possibility of expansion and rehabilitation of the Oshakati and Outapi water treatment plants.“We are revamping a lot of pipelines and we are now looking at the connection of the existing systems to the Ohangwena II Aquifer,” he says.