Windhoek already using October’s water

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Windhoek

Windhoek residents are already consuming October’s water, a month ahead in water usage, at a time when the central areas of the country face a water crisis.

This was revealed by Windhoek Municipality spokesperson Joshua Amukugo at a media briefing yesterday. He was responding to a question on why the municipality closed a public swimming pool, with a sign indicating that the closure is ‘to save water’.

NamWater’s weekly dam bulletin of August 31 shows that the Omatako Dam is emptier than last year during the same period, when it was 6.1% of capacity.

The bulletin also indicated that Swakoppoort Dam is 25.5% full compared to last year’s 54.0%. The Von Bach Dam holds 32.5% of capacity, while it had 55.5% this time last year.

“The shortage of water is more serious than any luxury [swimming pool]. We are in September and according to NamWater and the City’s calculations we are using October’s water already, which is a month in advance in using water,” said Amukugo.

He added that the situation is rapidly deteriorating. “We started using water a week ahead, now it’s a month!”

He said that the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has budgeted more than N$20 million to be spent on a water saving awareness campaign. “This will be a national commitment as it is not for the City only, and will cover 2015 and years to come.”

When questioned on whether the efforts were not too late, Amukugo said:  “It’s better late than never. Let’s not see this (water shortage) as a 2015 issue only. The weather is not promising and the campaign is a long-term programme.”

He asked what would residents do if no rain falls and they don’t use water sparingly. “What if we are told by June next year or April or December that we don’t have water, and to be told don’t wash your car with a hosepipe, [not even] a bucket  … you don’t need a swimming pool to survive?”

He elaborated: “Today (yesterday) we have a debriefing with NamWater to map out water usage in the City.  We don’t want to arrive at water rationing, whereby water supply is closed during the evening and opened in the morning.” The Ministry of Works and Transport will be in on the meeting.

Amukugo further said that statistics show that government entities including houses, flats and ministries are not taking care to use water sparingly, and that some of them let the taps run 24 hours a day.

He also advised big institutions such as hospitals and schools to start using semi-purified water for gardens.

In a related development, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa, met with the Water Technical Committee, comprised of officials from the Windhoek Municipality and NamWater, as well as engineers and technicians from the ministry and the private sector.

The committee briefed the minister on the progress of the pre-feasibility study on ‘Augmentation of Water Supply to the Central Areas of Namibia and the Cuvelai’. The committee is headed by the acting permanent secretary in the agriculture and water ministry, Abraham Nehemia.

The committee informed the minister that detailed findings of the study would be made available within the next two weeks.

Mutorwa focused on the importance of the study and the need to expedite the work due to the critical water shortage plaguing the country.

  • Additional reporting by Albertina Nakale

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