Ondangwa water woes drag on

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Nuusita Ashipala
Ongwediva

Residents of some parts of Ondangwa are infuriated by the constant lack of water at their homes, which has been ongoing problem for more than two weeks.
The affected areas include Okangwena, Uupopo and Oluno where the Oluno Correctional Facility and the army base are situated.

Residents say the water problem started long before the canal broke and accuse the town council of doing nothing to address their plight.

Some claim they have now relocated family members to live with relatives elsewhere in town where there is water, or to nearby towns.

“You cannot live with children in a house for weeks where there is no water.  It is unhygienic and puts us at risk of contracting illnesses,” one resident said.

Approached for comment, Ondangwa Town Council Chief Executive Officer, Ismael Namgongo, said council was aware of the plight of affected residents and was working around the clock to resolve the crisis.

Namgongo explained that the water shortage stemmed from the fact that water utility NamWater had not been able to pump sufficient water to the town.

New Era understands the water utility only has one pumping machine in Ondangwa that only has sufficient capacity to pump water to Ondangwa proper, leaving areas further from the water tower without water.

Currently, the utility pumps the water supply into a reservoir from where it then pumps it to residents, but due to a limited water supply, the pressure is not adequate for pumping water to households promptly.

In the meantime, council is working on redirecting the water supply to bypass the reservoir so that it goes straight to resident’s homes. It plans to have the redirecting process completed by Wednesday.

“But it is also not a guarantee that the residents will receive water, because we still depend on NamWater to pump sufficient water to the town,” Namgongo said.
In addition, the council has also been ferrying water to the affected areas.

Namgongo noted that they still faced challenges because once water levels in the reservoir dropped, council would no longer be able to ferry water to the residents.
He said council had written several letters to NamWater, but to no avail.
The council is looking into the possibilities of constructing its own reservoir, which would cater to the needs of the affected areas when a water crisis hits.

“But that is for the future, because a reservoir would cost the council millions and it something that we need to budget for,” Namgongo said.
Spokesperson for NamWater, Johannes Shigwedha, said factors such as the canal being washed away during the rainy season plus the constant power outages all contributed to the limited supply of water at the town.

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