Onankali-A government official has urged residents of rural areas that receive water from boreholes using powered water pumps to maintain the equipment.
He warned that the failure to look after the equipment properly drains government funds because it constantly has to repair and buy new replacement pumps.
Head of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation in the Oshikoto Region, Stevenson Tuukondjele, issued this caution and expressed shock over the alarming rate at which engines break down due to the communities’ negligence.
The directorate of rural water supply at Onankali already has approximately 50 broken engines stored in its yard.
The majority of them are now irreparably damaged and will have to be auctioned off, while a handful will be transported to Windhoek for repairs.
Tuukondjele said the fault mostly lies with the communities because they do not regularly inspect whether there is enough oil in the engines before they operate them.
“The people operating this equipment do not carry out inspections and only want to rush to start the engines, without checking if there is oil. This practice must stop.
Government spends N$50 000 to purchase one engine, and has to import most of them from overseas.”
“This adds to the cost, considering the expense of transport from the harbour to Windhoek and then to regional offices before we can take them to the site. It all ends up costing not less than N$80 000 for one engine,” an irate Tuukondjele said, while pointing at one of the engines destined for auction.
“We try to repair what we can but some are damaged beyond repair, and the only option left is to auction off the engines for scrap. Those that we can fix we overhaul here at workshop or we send them to head office for further repairs.”
“However, lately we have not transported them for repair elsewhere, mostly due to lack of funds,” Tuukondjele added.
Residents of the region use the pumps mostly in remote areas of Okankolo, Engodhi and King Nehale, which are the worst affected by poor accessibility to water.
The lack of education among villagers also contributes to negligence in taking care of the engines, as not many of them understand the technicalities.