Get serious about water

The City of Windhoek's water report for the week that ended 27 May showed a 10% over-consumption, despite persistent warnings.

05 June 2019 | Government

The City of Windhoek warns that the city's taps will run dry unless residents cooperate to achieve the mandatory 15% monthly water savings target.

“Overconsumption is worrisome, because it means we are over-exploiting our last resource, which is the boreholes,” City spokesperson Lydia Amutenya says.

The municipality's water report for the week that ended 27 May showed a 10% over-consumption despite persistent warnings about the urgency of saving every possible drop.

The weekly target consumption is 465 000 cubic metres but the actual consumption recorded that week was above 500 000 cubic metres. Monday's weekly water watch, for the week ending 3 June, showed a more positive trend, with consumption only 1% above target.

“The weekly water watch below shows that there was slight progress in water saving for the past week, although the over-consumption stood at 1% more than allowable,” Amutenya says.

The municipality urges all residents to frequently check their water meters to ensure leaks are detected quickly. Individuals should use no more than 90 litres per person per day at home, and 20 litres per person at businesses.

“We should not wait for the seriousness of severe water scarcity to hit us, when there is no single drop of water coming from the taps, but we should do it now when we still have a little water available,” Amutenya says.

With dam levels low after a poor rainy season, the City is increasingly leaning on its own water sources - the Windhoek Aquifer and reclamation plant. These two sources are supplying 65% of Windhoek's targeted 465 000 cubic metres weekly consumption.

The 15% savings target is crucial to the City's management of the available water.

Amutenya says if residents continue to consume more than allowed, “it is just a matter of time before the resource reaches its limit.” Once this happens, the taps will run dry because no other water sources are available.

“It is of critical importance for all of us to revise our water consumption and save every drop.”

Amutenya says City officials believe that “residents will respond to water saving calls, not only because it is affecting their pockets, but also because it is the right thing to do, looking at the current severe drought situation we are in.”

In July, when the City's new water restrictions become effective, new penalty tariffs will become applicable.

Amutenya says this penalty tariff is “simply an indicator of the consumption limit” to remind clients they are consuming more water than allowed.

“The call to save water relies on the consumer's cooperation and understanding of the reason why it is important to save water. Our preference is to encourage water savings to change consumer behaviours and to make it part of our lifestyle,” she says.

JANA-MARI SMITH

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