The Windhoek Municipality says if residents change their lifestyles and use water sparingly by saving at least 15 percent then the planned water rationing could be avoided.
The desperate attempt to save water has left many residents questioning why the municipality has to wait until September to impose water restrictions rather than starting now. However, the Windhoek Municipality’s manager for corporate communications, Joshua Amukugo, says residents are first being given an opportunity to change their lifestyles to help save water. Public concerns follow the municipality’s announcement it plans to punish, through extra charges, households that use over 50 000 litres of water a month. The municipality said it would consider rationing water as a last resort if the new measures do not yield the desired results within the next month.
The municipality also revealed that previous attempts to save water had not worked, with water savings of a mere 5.7 percent as of April.
When asked whether experts were not able to predict the severe water shortage in the city before things got out of hand, Amukugo said water supply to Windhoek is highly dependent on rainfall and surface runoff.
“It’s not easy to predict the amount of rain that will be received. Other supply options for the central area are being considered at government, national and NamWater level, that is, the supply from the Kavango River or getting water from the ocean (desalination) and others,” he said. When asked about underground aquifers, he said the city already sources water from groundwater aquifers – supply for this year from this source was 25 percent of water demand. Regarding alternative water sources that the municipality is considering to stabilize water supply, he said the city is busy extending the semi-purified or irrigation water supply network to schools and gardens to reduce demand on potable water sources.
He said the city is using both the new Goreangab water reclamation plant as well as the Windhoek aquifer to stabilize current water supply.