Floods Play Havoc with Walvis Water

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK The residents of Walvis Bay have been hit by yet another setback. Their already diminishing water supply was abruptly cut off this week. This occurred after the heavy flow of the Kuiseb River that got into motion since Tuesday this week once again damaged the electrical infrastructure of the pipes situated in the river bed, that drive the water to the town. In an e-mailed statement, Namwater’s Manager of Corporate Communications Johannes Shigwedha stated that the electricity for water supply to the coastal town was cut off since 04:00 yesterday morning due to flood damage. The flow of water reportedly also reached the Rooibank area and affected the power installations that pump the water to the town. “The river level as measured at Gobabeb is 1.0 metre this morning (Wednesday), down from 2.6 13:00 on 21st February 2006. We hope that it continues to drop during the course of the day,” said Shigwedha. He said that this time round, five electrical poles were knocked down in the Kuiseb River. “We cannot tell how long it will take before we repair the damage as our technical teams from Okahandja are unable to access the river,” he added. With the latest flooding of the Kuiseb River, it has become apparent that the residents of the harbour town are feeling yet another pinch in getting water to flow through their taps. According to the Public Relations Officer of the Walvis Bay Municipality Utaara Hoveka , the already reduced water supply will have to be cut during certain times of the day. “The municipality will have to completely shut down the water at night and reduce the flow during other hours of the day,” said Hoveka. The strictly reduced flow is mainly done to allow all six reservoirs near the town to fill up to capacity and to prepare the municipality as distributor to be more adequately prepared should another flood cause damage again. In light of the latest incident, the Mile 7 reservoir, which supplies Walvis Bay is 88 percent full at the moment. Presently, Namwater can only supply 133 cubic meters per hour from the normal 700 plus cubic meters per hour. Ever since the incident occurred a team of maintenance experts and technicians from Namwater and Erongo Red have been sent to the area to deal with the breakdown. However, Shighweda stated that they would only be able to get to the river site once the water level has subsided and under safe prevailing conditions. Previously, close to 40 pipes were damaged by the flooding of the Kuiseb River as a result of the recent heavy rains throughout the country. These pipes normally carry 12 000 cubic meters of water to the coastal town every day. Yet it turns out that just as much as Namwater experts have been busy trying to fix the damaged infrastructure, a second river gush caused further wreckage to the site. Meanwhile, residents of the harbour town have been urged to use water sparingly.