Water interruptions plague northern Namibia

A large part of three northern regions has had water interruptions since 28 October because of a broken pump and electricity interruptions.

17 November 2021 | Infrastructure

ESTER KAMATI

WINDHOEK

A water shortage has been reported at villages in the Omusati, Oshikoto and Ohangwena regions, mainly those at the end of the water supply chain.

“Of recent, circumstances beyond the water utility’s control have affected the normal supply of water to a larger part of Oshana, Oshikoto and Ohangwena regions,” NamWater spokesperson Johannes Shigwedha said in a statement.

NamWater has blamed ageing water infrastructure, an increasing population and unplanned power interruptions for the low water supply.

It says the Outapi water treatment plant cannot cater for the growing population in the area, adding that the flow of water to the plant has also been slowed down by illegal offtake from the Olushandja-Oshakati canal.

Two more weeks

A large part of the three regions has had water interruptions since 28 October because of a broken pump and electricity interruptions.

NamWater has since transported a water pump from Windhoek to be used in Oshakati, which was in operation by 9 November.

NamPower has stated that at least two weeks are needed for the situation to normalise in the absence of major interruptions.

Filling reservoirs

“NamWater’s Oshakati Plant has started to fill up the reservoirs in order to start water distribution to Oshana, Oshikoto and Ohangwena through their distribution centres of Omafo, Omakango, Ondangwa Omuthiya,” the utility said.

In an attempt to fill up the reservoirs, NamWater has resorted to water rationing between 22:00 and 05:00.

Akazulu, Otatashe and Omuntele South will be subject to extended interruptions as they are furthest from the water supply.

“The water demand in the NamWater Business Unit North has outstripped the supply,” stated Shigwedha in the statement.

Old infrastructure has been identified as the main cause of water pipes constantly breaking in the Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Zambezi, Kavango West and East regions.

In an attempt to improve the flow of water, the company has deployed machinery to remove weeds and sand from the Calueque-Oshakati canal. This, they plan to extend to the Outapi Treatment Plant and Oshakati Purification Plant.

“A project to build a second dam, which will receive raw water from the canal, at the Oshakati Plant is already in the pipeline.

“A second fore-dam will ensure that there is enough water to purify,” it said, adding that another project is under way to reconstruct the Olushandja – Calueque canal from the Omahenene border post to Oshakati Plant.

“This will allow more water flow to the Oshakati Purification Plant,”

Water tankers have also been deployed to make water more accessible, while a generator set has been made available at Oshakati to ease the situation in case of a power outage.

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