Leaking pipes aggravate water crisis

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Windhoek

Leaking pipes and ageing infrastructure worsen the water shortage faced by the City of Windhoek that could incapacitate industry while bringing a raft of challenges to domestic consumers.

ITEM Engineering director Anton Kake said a quarter of the water supply to the city is being lost purely because of leaking water systems.

Kake’s remarks follows the municipality’s revelation last week that the city already uses the water supply meant for October, a month ahead in water usage and during a time when the central areas of the country face a crippling water crisis because the dams supplying the city with water are running dry.

NamWater’s weekly dam bulletin of August 31 shows that the Omatako Dam is empty, Swakoppoort Dam is 25.5 percent full and the water level in Von Bach Dam stands at 32.5 percent.

ITEM is a Namibian electrical and water engineering support and supply company with interests in Oshakati, Walvis Bay and Windhoek. It offers general and specialist electrical engineering and water consultancy services.

Windhoek Municipality spokesperson Joshua Amukugo said he fully agrees that ageing infrastructure and mostly water leakages contribute to the problem.

“Our maintenance programme is one of the best and there is no way if we find water pipes leaking we will go without having them repaired,” he said.

Amukugo said it is individuals or institutions that do not repair their leaking pipes on time or fail to repair them at all, which causes the water loss.

He indicated that there has been a pipe leakage at Augustineum Secondary School for almost five to six months, and he does not know if this is due to ineffectiveness of the school or the works ministry.

“When water is flowing, you will think there is a river and that is water going to waste,” he stated.
Kake said they have partnered with Water Resources Planning (WRP) consulting engineers, a global leader in the field of water engineering to focus on water conservation and water-loss management, with the use of a remote, web-based, automatic, meter-reading solution for large water users.

“The solution offers sophisticated machine-to-machine (M2M) technology that effectively addresses the skills shortage barriers by allowing industrial clients access to daily monitoring and control of their water consumption in terms of flow, pressure and usage,” said Kake.

He explained that the M2M water management solution replaces the need to do monthly manual meter readings by providing clients with direct access to graphical reporting of their water consumption, as well as early identification of system, infrastructure or water meter problems.

“Automated alarm notifications via SMS or email alert the client to system defects, such as leaks or meter-reading errors, which can be then addressed immediately,” he elaborated.

He said the rollout is expected to play a crucial role in helping the industrial, agricultural, mining and mixed-tenant sectors to improve their water consumption and management.

They have installed an automatic meter reader at government institutions such Windhoek prison and Eros Primary School. He said it was deployed at the Windhoek prison on July 2015 at the on-site water meter. The solution is able to help the customer in the identification of a leak by analyzing the flow profile to the property.

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