Windhoek water supply on brink of failure

05 October 2016 | Disasters

Water savings plunged from 32% to 24% in recent weeks, prompting the City of Windhoek to once again plead with residents to take the water crisis seriously and increase savings to reach the 40% target.

“We expected people to behave otherwise, but what we are observing is really quite discouraging,” City of Windhoek spokesperson Joshua Amukugo said on Monday.

He said the refusal of many in the city to save water is “disappointing and scary” and emphasised that the municipality’s strategy for weathering the storm is heavily dependent on the cooperation of all residents.

Amukugo warned that the water crisis has not abated, but is facing its most serious challenge yet, as the dams are expected to run dry soon.

“Given the current water crisis with the traditional supply system on the brink of failing, the supply to Windhoek is in a very precarious situation.”

The Omatako Dam has run dry, with the Swakoppoort measuring approximately 7.8% of capacity and the Von Bach Dam 15.8%. Overall the dams are at 8.1% capacity, compared to 18.7% last year.

Once the dams run dry, the only water supply will be from the municipality’s boreholes (46%), reclaimed water (16%) and only 8% from NamWater. Those sources can only supply about a third of the city’s normal water usage.

Amukugo said the 40% water saving target set for residents, including businesses and the public sector, is “critical to get us through to the next rainy season”.

The bulk of the supply will be sourced from the aquifer, which holds “sufficient water to sustain the city for between two and three years in the absence of the NamWater supply system, and not 13 years as reported,” Amukugo added.

Nevertheless, much needs to be done in order to harvest the groundwater.

“The City of Windhoek is currently actively developing the Windhoek aquifer as the only viable source to sustain the city through the drought. The City is increasing the potential for abstraction from this source to meet the emergency demand brought on as a result of the failure of the normal supply system,” Amukugo said.

However, this is “by no means considered a sustainable (long-term) supply solution and is only implemented as an emergency action to fight the effects of the devastating drought currently experienced.”

The City clarified that the aquifer currently shows a high water table as a result of recharge activities implemented between 2009 and 2011.

The water in the aquifer “has been stored as an emergency supply” and exceptional rains experienced in the previous decade replenished it at an above-normal rate.

According to the City, the plan is to continue to develop the aquifer as a “full backup supply for emergencies” over the next years and to continue to recharge it when sufficient water is available.

The municipality and some members of the public blame the steep decline in water savings on recent media reports in which the minister of agriculture, water and forestry, John Mutorwa, said the city would not run dry because it had alternative water resources.

Similar News

 

Water security still high on agenda

3 weeks ago - 30 October 2017 | Disasters

Water supply to Windhoek and the rest of central Namibia could be theoretically secured until 2020 subject to efficient water demand measures, a three-year model...

Harvey's path of destruction

2 months ago - 30 August 2017 | Disasters

More than three days after Harvey ravaged the Texas coastline as a Category 4 hurricane, authorities had confirmed only three deaths - including a woman...

Government drafts disaster plan

3 months ago - 25 August 2017 | Disasters

Following several years of natural disasters of devastating floods and droughts that have struck the north-central areas of Namibia, an integrated drought and flood management...

Regional force to distribute food in Kunene

3 months ago - 25 August 2017 | Disasters

Roughly 1 000 military personnel are expected to participate in the Blue Kunene exercise that will distribute humanitarian aid in the Kunene Region from 20...

Zuma stays put

3 months ago - 09 August 2017 | Disasters

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has survived a motion of no confidence in his presidency, held via secret ballot in parliament.Following a two-hour debate and...

Water secure until 2020

3 months ago - 01 August 2017 | Disasters

With the available water resources, as well as the stipulated Windhoek water savings, NamWater is confident that the water security of the central region, particularly...

104 drought boreholes in limbo

3 months ago - 27 July 2017 | Disasters

The unused boreholes reported on by Namibian Sun last week were not drilled under the South African government's N$100 million donation to Namibia. That funding...

Windhoek digs deep for water

4 months ago - 24 July 2017 | Disasters

The City of Windhoek is hard at work to diversify water supply options in order to reduce its reliance on bulk supplier NamWater as part...

Enough water for 24 months in central area

4 months ago - 19 July 2017 | Disasters

Cabinet committee member on water supply Pedro Maritz said the central area of Namibia now has enough water to last at least for the next...

Fukushima trial kicks off

4 months ago - 03 July 2017 | Disasters

Three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) on Friday pleaded not guilty to professional negligence leading to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, though an...

Latest News

Mnangagwa sworn in...

21 hours ago | Africa

Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose removal as vice president by Robert Mugabe led to the veteran leader's ouster, was sworn in as Zimbabwe's new president on Friday."I...

S. African court doubles...

1 day - 24 November 2017 | Crime

A South African appeals court increased paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius' sentence for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to 13 years and five months today.The Supreme...

Swapo's moment of truth

1 day - 24 November 2017 | Politics

FESTUS NAKATANA Despite weeks of bickering over leadership matters, Swapo members yesterday attempted to put up a show of unity...

NWR empowers women in tourism

1 day - 24 November 2017 | Education

The women mainly from groups within the ARTP were selected as part of a development programme in Southern Namibia and Northern South Africa, based...

FNB Staff Assistance Trust awards...

1 day - 24 November 2017 | Education

FNB Namibia has proudly announced that another 12 employees have received bursaries from the FNB Staff Assistance Trust for assistance with tertiary education fees for...

Making a career out of...

1 day - 24 November 2017 | Education

Q: What motivated you to leave your job at the property development company? A: I realized that I had no passion for the Corporate Finance...

MUN’s urgent application struck from...

1 day - 24 November 2017 | Politics

CATHERINE SASMAN AND FRED GOEIEMAN An urgent court application seeking to stop National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) delegates from...

Rhino poached outside capital

1 day - 24 November 2017 | Crime

Investigations are ongoing at a farm on the outskirts of Windhoek where a rhino was poached over the weekend and its horns removed.Two rhinos were...

Corruption - A social disease...

1 day - 24 November 2017 | Columns

The Transparency International (TI) trend for 1998-2016 demonstrates that perceptions about Namibian governance and anti-corruption initiatives are negative.With an average rating of below five out...

Load More