The pipeline is critical

01 April 2019 | Opinion

While we recognise that government has many priorities not the least of which are healthcare, education and coping with the crippling drought that has our country in its firm grip, there is one priority that must not fall by the wayside and that is the pipeline which connects the dams in Namibia.

This forms part of the master plan of the agriculture ministry and has, no pun intended, been in the pipeline for quite some time.

Now that the Neckartal Dam is complete, there is no excuse.

The central area is a critical area for the country and there is no way to undo Windhoek's growth and development. We know that water is the limiting factor for the city but, there is no other place to go, except possibly the coast, to try and find a job. Our sprawling informal settlements are proof of this and the urbanisation rate, set to stand around 4% per annum, will continue to grow as the economic activity in the regions declines.

Windhoek is in trouble. Again. It is not our first and not our last. We have been told that we are using our savings fund, our emergency fund and it is the second year in a row that the city must rely on the aquifer. And without rain, there is not sufficient recharge.

The latest NamWater dam bulletin, issued on 25 March, indicated that Swakoppoort Dam is currently at 16.9% of its capacity, compared to 36.8% capacity last year this time.

Following transfers from Swakoppoort and Omatako dams, the Von Bach Dam is currently at 45.7% while Omatako is essentially empty, at 0.2%. In total, the three central dams are at 21.1% of their total capacity, compared to last year's 34.1%.

And we were in trouble last year.

What happens if the water runs out? What happens if there is no rain next year but Naute Dam is full and Neckartal has water? What is the point of that?