Community owes NamWater N$1 million

Broken pipe has been spouting water since August

31 January 2018 | Local News

A village in the Omusati Region is likely to lose its supply of clean drinking water because of a water debt of over N$1 million.

The community of Omagalanga okathima kaNangolo in the Oshikuku Constituency will have to revert to getting water from earthen dams and oshanas if they do not settle their debt to NamWater, which increases by more than N$30 000 every month.

At the end of November 2017 the water bill stood at N$1 011 542. 54. That amount had increased to N$1 041 264.34 by the end of December 2017 and it is likely to have increased by more than N$30 000 since then.

The villagers blamed the situation on the rural water supply directorate under the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, saying that they do not respond to calls when they experience problems such as water leaks.

Yesterday when Namibian Sun visited the area, water was spouting from a damaged water meter, which was said to have been broken for months.

According to the Omagalanga okathima kaNangolo water committee chairperson, Timoteus Kombala, the leak was reported in August 2017 but nothing has been done to prevent thousands of litres of water going to waste.

“We have reported this matter a lot of times but nothing is being done to rectify it. Whenever we call them they keep on saying that they will come but up until today nobody came to work on it,” Kombala said.

Kombala admitted that the water debt was not entirely the result of water leaks, but also because people did not pay their monthly water bills.

In 2012, non-payment led to the public tap that served the entire village being shut off.

“Our water debt is already high because it led to the closure of the public tap and people had to get their own water meters in their houses,” Kombala explained.

Not all the villagers applied for water connections, though. Some rely on their neighbours for clean water if they do not want to use water from earthen dams and oshanas.

Kombala stressed that the unpaid debt was not the most important matter, but that the waste of water deserved immediate attention.

“Water is life, that's why I want this issue to be addressed. Why is it difficult for those who are responsible to maintain and fix this issue to come here and do the repairs?

“We reported this matter to them a long time ago but they do not come here to fix the problem,” Kombala said.

When contacted for comment, Oshikuku constituency councillor Modestus Amutse said he was aware of the situation and would soon meet with the rural water supply directorate.

“I always inform my community to let me know if they informed the officials and those officials don't turn up on time or don't respond as required, then I intervene,” he said.

“In this case I intervened. I have also called the responsible officials about the situation because I believe whatever happened they still have the duty to maintain such services,” Amutse said.

Amutse said he was also more concerned about the waste of precious water.

“My main concern is the water which is being wasted because it is provided at a cost and this cost is coming from taxpayers and it is concerning me a lot,” Amutse said.

The Omusati Region's head of rural water supply, Petrus Martin, could not be reached for comment.

KENYA KAMBOWE