What if the drought persists?

13 May 2019 | Opinion

We are back where we were two to three years ago with Windhoek crippled by a water shortage. It appears however, that residents do not know or choose to ignore the warnings issued by the City. The most recent figures indicate that residents consumed 6% more of the total allowable cubic metres in the past week.

The total water reserves from the three central dams is 21.4%. We were in trouble last year and then it stood at just over 37%.

Windhoek is using its aquifer, which is its savings fund, to supply residents, along with purified and reclaimed water, boreholes and 30 000 cubic metres daily, halved from 60 000.

It has long been known that Windhoek's development is limited by its water availability and yet, while there is development at the coast and in the north, there has been little effort made for decentralisation. We have said this before: Keetmanshoop, where the youth languish at shebeens, jobless, has enough water for several industries and yet, major brewery operations are in Windhoek and Okahandja, both reliant on the same dams.

Our small towns are falling apart. The roads and the general infrastructure are in full decay but, there are no jobs, no opportunities and the local authorities have no money.

And Windhoek has no water.

Predictions, if they hold, for the coming three years, indicate that the rainfall will remain meagre and if there is an improvement, it will be slight.

So we will become drier over the next couple of years and more water stressed. Our farmers need bailouts. Our households need food.

What are we going to do if this drought persists for the next two to three years?

Neckartal is almost complete. It is time, not to discuss N$10 billion for a high-speed rail link, we need the water master plan implemented so that the dams are interconnected. And we need to start offering incentives so that decentralisation, and job creation, can begin, countrywide.

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