Awareness campaign to help save water on the cards

12 Aug 2015 10:10am
WINDHOEK, 12 AUG (NAMPA) – A massive awareness campaign to encourage citizens to save water will commence soon, more than two years after water shortages were predicted for Namibia.
Namibia, which is a semi-arid country, faces water shortages as from August 2016 when the Swakoppoort Dam is expected to run dry if it does not rain during this rainy season.
The country’s sporadic rainy season normally starts in November and ends in March. Water measurements taken in May 2013 by the City of Windhoek have shown that water levels in boreholes have been dropping by an average of 2.03 metres since December 2012, due to the increased abstraction of water.
At an information-sharing session on the status of water supply in the central areas of Namibia here on Tuesday, the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) Abraham Nehemia raised the concern that the water situation in the country is “critical”.
“We are taking action now which involves all our citizens. One thing we have to do is behavioural change, which is not easy. We have to start educating our people until we realise that we have a water shortage problem,” he said.
Nehemia cautioned that Namibia might have a serious dry spell for the next three to four years.
The MAWF, City of Windhoek and Namibia Water Corporation (NamWater) will have to look for funds for this immediate mitigation plan by educating citizens to save water, according to Nehemia.
He said the campaign will continue until all dams countrywide are full and until Namibians know about saving water.
The way forward is to design a water demand strategy which will be launched 'soon' by Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa or President Hage Geingob.
Implementation will then start thereafter, Nehemia said. The strategy will have specific objectives, initiatives and clear activities. It will also serve as a tool for the City of Windhoek and the City Police to issue fines for water wastage if such situations continue.
The PS said the biggest culprits in the wasting of water are car wash operators, government offices, agencies and ministries, as well as schools. Water leakages in toilets as well as taps and pipes at government offices, ministries as well as flats cost the taxpayer millions of Namibian dollars. The Ministry of Works and Transport is responsible for the maintenance of public institutions, and Nehemia warned that inspections at such institutions will be done in due course to determine the costs and fines would be issued.
“We have to do things differently now. The public will be part of the whole process and we will go the extra mile to educate them in saving water. We need to work together – no water, no life,” he added.