Businesses operating within the City of Windhoek were yesterday warned that the water shortage in the capital is much more severe than initially reported.
According to Pierre van Rensburg, who heads Windhoek’s Department of Infrastructure, Water and Technical Services, the city’s water demand is far outstripping the municipality’s ability to supply it, which means the water crisis could continue, even if and when good rains start to fall.
“The only way we’re going to get through this crisis is if we work together as businesses and private citizens, government and private institutions,” said van Rensburg during a Mayoral Business Forum breakfast that the municipality held in conjunction with the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) at a local hotel yesterday morning.
Van Rensburg noted that as of Monday the city achieved 30 percent water savings, which is unfortunately still not up to the 40 percent target the city needs to save to continue providing water to residents and businesses.
During the keynote address, Mayor of Windhoek Muesee Kazapua told members of the business community that the persistent economic downturn in the macro-economic environment, has particularly affected the capital.
He noted that a combination of factors have had a negative impact on the country’s economic outlook, among them slow growth, persistent imbalances, less foreign direct investment and the recurrent drought which has resulted in a severe water shortage.
“The sustained water availability challenge remains a serious concern, and, therefore, is high on the City Council’s agenda. We’re also cognisant of the negative impact that water scarcity has on industry.
“However, as Council we’re sparing no effort in our quest to keep water flowing in Windhoek, for both human consumption and economic activities,” he said.
He added that Council is working closely with central government on how best to mitigate the water shortage, specifically in the central parts of the country.
Kazapua also pointed out that despite numerous challenges the city has still seen significant developments over the past few years.
He specifically mentioned the extension of the Wernhil Mall, City Junction, the new FNB head office, Hilton Hotel and the mixed development by Broll Namibia opposite City Hall.
He also pointed to Grove Mall, the B1 City, the extension of the Western Bypass and the upgrading of the Windhoek to Okahandja road as key developments in the city.
“These mixed developments in our central business district (CBD) area is a clear testimony that our business community is positively responding to the City’s call to revitalise the CBD area, which becomes almost motionless after 18h00 on weekdays,” said Kazapua.
While acknowledging positive contributions from the business community, Kazapua said he was nevertheless concerned about the slow pace at which investors are taking up developmental opportunities in the western suburbs of the city.
He thus appealed to businesses to “seriously consider” investing in major projects in Katutura.
“Council stands ready to avail land for developments that it deems will make positive impacts in the livelihoods of our people, particularly in the western suburbs of the city,” said Kazapua.
At the same event, chairman of NCCI’s Windhoek branch Parastus Nepolo cited water security and solutions for water scarcity as some the major concerns raised by firms operating in the capital.
“There’s a need for a technical team to be introduced between the City of Windhoek and the NCCI Windhoek branch to meet on a regular basis to tackle challenges and bring forth solutions,” Nepolo said.