By Reagan Malumo
Contrary to the saying “water is life,” Katima Mulilo residents have been without water for the past five days because of a rupture of a NamWater underground water pipeline that supplies water to the town, leaving residents dry.
The pipe burst has left thousands of residents without water. Some residents have now resorted to measures such as drawing untreated water from the Zambezi, a risky undertaking.
The hospital and schools have been hard hit by the water shortage as they can hardly operate without a drop of water, which has now been for the past five days.
The situation has made things very difficult for patients at the hospital and learners at all schools because toilets and bathing facilities are not functioning and cooks at these institutions have run out of water to prepare food for both patients and hostel learners.
Since Monday morning, all school learners could not attend classes and were given emergency holiday until yesterday with school management optimistic the water could be restored by the end of the day.
The town’s chief executive officer Vincent Sazita earlier described the situation as horrible and confirmed to the media that his municipality had decided to use water tankers from the Road Construction Company to supply water to schools, clinics and hospitals at the town.
Sazita said that the main pipe supplying water from the intake at the river to the purification reservoir broke down mainly because it was an old pipe installed by the old dispensation.
He confirmed that since Friday, both the municipality and Namwater have been working to repair the broken pipe but by Sunday the pipe had remained unrepaired.
According to NamWater’s Public Relations Officer Tommi Numbala, up until yesterday artisans had been working hard to build a concrete wall that would back up the water pipe to counteract the water load.
He also confirmed that since most pipes that pump water from the river to the purification pipe are old, NamWater is in the process of replacing them with new ones.
“It depends on the finances,” said Numbala.
Throughout the past five days, thousands of Katima Mulilo residents have flocked to the banks of the Zambezi River to fetch water and to do their washing. Some of those who spent their weekend outside town and arrived late Sunday were unlucky to have to wake up the following morning without taking a bath before going to work.
Meanwhile, Monday’s heavy rains at the town rescued many people with drinking water.
Both NamWater and Katima Mulilo Town Council earlier promised that water would be restored by late yesterday. New Era confirmed with artisans on the site who assured that all repairs are complete.