The water situation for residents in Tsumeb’s informal settlement Kuvukiland is slowly but surely improving. Most
of the estimated 9 000 residents of Kuvukiland have to collect water from nine water points, known as standpoints.
The municipality says it is aware of the dire situation and is in the process of improving and extending the water infrastructure in the area.
According to the town engineer, Junias Jacob, the municipality will soon add three more standpoints as part of its process of extending the water points. In fact, the municipality has increased the number of water collection points from four to nine during the last 14 months.
Jacob said that water pressure and ownership of the land on which part of Kuvukiland is situated are two of the challenges the municipality has to deal with. “We are going to start working on a project to construct a tank in
the vicinity to increase the water pressure. In fact, we already have some standpoints ready that can be commissioned as soon as we can increase the pressure,” explained Jacob.
He also noted that while local mining company, Weatherly, has already donated the land on which part of Kuvukiland is situated, there are some areas of Kuvukiland which still belong to the mine. “It doesn’t make sense for the municipality to extend water infrastructure on land it does not own, so until that is sorted out our hands
are tied,” added Jacob. The municipality recently inaugurated a N$3 million solar power plant to pump water from three of its boreholes that produce potable drinking water. The 350-kilowatt solar plant reduces the cost of
pumping water for Tsumeb by 40 percent. The solar plant will reduce the N$800 000 a month the municipality spends on electricity to pump water from the boreholes and should enable it to recover the capital investment over the next four years.
The municipality sources underground water from ten boreholes in the area. A recent study by hydrologists indicates that the supply is sustainable but Jacob noted that rehabilitation work is needed on three of the boreholes to improve
the efficiency of the supply system.
He added that three boreholes would need to be added in the short-term to cater for Tsumeb’s increasing population.
The study determined that current water resources stand at 15.5 megalitres (about 15.5 million litres). Jacob explained that the treated water from these boreholes is distributed via three service towers with capacities of 0.9, 0.26 and 13.6 megalitres respectively. Water is pumped for 12 hours a day at a rate of 720 cubic metres per hour.
“We have an 11th borehole with a capacity of 40 litres per hour that we expect to come on line by the first quarter of next year,” noted Jacob.