Following years of unabated water disruptions at the town the Katima Mulilo Town Council has finally drilled three boreholes to arrest the situation, which has in the past left residents without water for weeks.
Last year the Katima Mulilo Town Council set aside N$1 million under its budget to sink boreholes at the town in a bid to avoid future water shortages.
Katima Mulilo has in the past experienced water shortages following pipe bursts, which normally take several days to repair due to the difficulty of their location.
In an interview with New Era, Katima Mulilo Mayor Charles Matengu confirmed the three boreholes had already been drilled.
He said the three boreholes cost an estimated N$300 000 and have been drilled in the three informal settlements of Chotto, Cowboy and Mahohoma.
Matengu said the drilling of boreholes would relieve residents of high water tariffs being charged by the bulk water supplier NamWater.
He justified that the council drilled boreholes in the three informal settlements since residents cannot afford to pay the high water tariffs of NamWater.
He said that the boreholes would allow the council to regulate affordable prices for residents of whom many are low-income earners.
“This will help residents in the cost of water, because the water will be cheaper. And if we have water disruptions then we will be able to switch to the boreholes. There will be a management meeting to approve the connections. What is needed now is just the materials to put up the tanks,” he noted.
He also revealed the town council was planning to extend the drilling of boreholes to other areas to reduce the pre-paid bill from NamWater in future.
Last year the pipe that runs under a building at the Zambezi Waterfront and Tourism Park (ZWTP) burst causing a lot of inconveniences to residents who were compelled to fetch untreated water from the river.
Matengu said there was also a need for an additional generator to pump water from the Zambezi River to the town, saying the existing one was inadequate.
In this regard, he noted the additional generator was yet to be realised.
The town council is in consultations with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and NamWater to see how they can assist.
“The town is quite big, we still have to rely on NamWater. But the generator we have is a bit old and at times it switches off by itself. It needs to be serviced every year and during the service it leaves the town without water. So we need a standby generator because now once it stops everyone at the town has no water,” he said.
Water disruptions negatively affect residents at household level, while also causing distress to schools, health services and businesses.
Over the years the town had no alternatives such as water tank reservoirs, which made it very difficult to provide residents and essential service providers such as hospitals and schools, among others, with water when there was a crisis.
Residents are normally caught unprepared by the water supply stoppages and are often forced to draw untreated water from the Zambezi River, thus running the risk of contracting waterborne diseases and exposure to crocodile attacks.
Katima Mulilo’s population has risen to nearly 30 000 residents.