Mercy mission to waterless Uis

11 January 2017 | Disasters

ELLANIE SMIT

Tens of thousands of litres of water were yesterday donated to residents of Uis who had been without water for several days.

Namibians opened their hearts to intervene in the dire situation when an urgent message was circulated on Facebook asking for any help to bail out Uis residents who had been without water for nearly nine days. Yesterday two trucks left for Uis with 35 000 litres of water.

Since March this year, Uis has been receiving water only for a few hours in a day as most boreholes that supply the settlement have run dry. NamWater informed the residents that it was using only four of the ten boreholes in the nearby Nei-Neis aquifer, which supply the town.

About six months later, in September, boreholes were virtually dry and residents had no water while the water from the taps was only available for a few hours and NamWater had to start supplying water to the town.

Over the holiday period, the water situation in the town became dire and the taps ran dry.

For more than a week residents have been struggling without running water and had to depend on an “unreliable” water tanker to deliver water.

The water is delivered from Achimab in the Ugab River and pumped into seven tanks at the town, which residents claim stood empty this week.

The residents also say the 10 000 litres of water delivered by the tanker was not enough to meet the needs of about 3 000 residents.

The owner of the Brandberg Rest Camp, Basil Calitz, told Namibian Sun that for the past three months residents had been struggling with the water situation at the town.

“There is no water and the boreholes are dry,” said Calitz.

He said what made matters worse was the fact that the residents were not getting any feedback from the authorities on the dire situation.

Apparently, the infrastructure at the pipeline leading to the boreholes is in shambles and it is alleged that some farmers tap water from the pipeline illegally.

Calitz said the fact that NamWater had known about the situation for more than a year and done nothing to rectify it amounted to “pure negligence.”

Restaurants at the town had to close because of the water shortage and only traded during peak hours.

Calitz said a truck was delivering 20 0000 litres of donated water from Henties Bay. Another donation of 15 000 litres would be delivered from Windhoek. Bottled water was also delivered to the residents yesterday.

According to Calitz, they will ration this water to compel residents to use it sparingly. Each resident will receive 20 litres of water per day.

The minister of agriculture, water and forestry, John Mutorwa, said in September that the situation at Uis was dire, unacceptable and dangerous because people were going without water for a full day.

“NamWater is currently supplying the Uis settlement with water from one water tanker which is totally inadequate and insufficient,” said Mutorwa.

Attempts to speak to the Uis settlement office about the situation proved futile. The NamWater spokesperson, John Shigwedha, said he was waiting for “the technical person on the ground” to provide feedback before he could comment on the situation.