Let’s pull together on water

06 June 2019 | Columns

There was much justified moaning and groaning earlier this year when the City of Windhoek sent out its water accounts, which reflected the implementation of a drought rate from 1 August last year, without little or any publicising of the measure.

Residents queued relentlessly as they queried sky-high accounts, which later led to the City announcing it would be implementing the drought rate tariffs from 1 January.

Be that as it may, the undeniable fact is that the City is in a water crisis, and we all need to pull together to make a difference.

The City warned this week that taps will run dry unless residents cooperate to achieve the mandatory 15% monthly water savings target.

“Overconsumption is worrisome, because it means we are overexploiting our last resource, which is the boreholes,” City spokesperson Lydia Amutenya said.

The municipality’s water report for the week that ended 27 May showed a 10% overconsumption, 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.

This is worrying indeed, and will have grave impacts on residents and business activities. The fact the City’s bona fides, in initially implementing higher drought rate tariffs without a widespread public awareness campaign, can be questioned, should not deter us from saving water.

It is our wholesale responsibility to ensure the crisis does not escalate to the point where lives and livelihoods are threatened.

It is up to us as business owners, government entities and residents to stave off this impending catastrophe.

Further, it confounds and bemuses that, as country, we have not fully invested in proper infrastructure and alternative water supplies, including through desalination and harvesting the precious liquid from unused aquifers, among others.

Until when will be left to the mercy of our climatic conditions, which continue to be characterised by sporadic rainfall, if any?

Clearly more foresight and will is needed in this regard.

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