Windhoek to run dry by August

23 Feb 2016 10:50am
OKAHANDJA, 23 FEB (NAMPA) - The unavailability and scarcity of water in Namibia is so severe that officials from the Namibia Water Corporation (NamWater) predict Windhoek will run dry by August this year.
Residents, schools, bsuinesses and government institutions within the central part of the country need to save up to a minimum of 15 cubic meters of water every month with immediate effect.
Currently, the combined available water at the Von Bach, Omatako and Swakoppoort Dam amounts up to 23 million cubic meters, of which a huge portion is utilised within the central parts of the country.
This is according to André Mostert, a Hydrologist at NamWater who made the observation during a one-day consultative media briefing at the company’s reclamation facility on the outskirts of Okahandja on Friday.
Mostert predicted severe consequences, noting the unsuccessful awareness on the scarcity of water and usage thereof, which translates to reality striking and Windhoek foreseen to run dry in August this year, if no restrictions are adhered to.
“We had good rains but unfortunately we did not have inflows. We targeted to save at least 15 cubic meters of water every month and that operation was not successful. We are amazed that people do not realise the severity of the situation that we might run out of water soon.”
He said emergency measures have been put in place such as having the Kombat aquifer and Berg Aukas water systems running at maximum capacity to provide water to the three main dams.
“It is a very, very serious situation and if we can save that 15 per cent of water, the run dry date will be postponed by at least two months. We received a 7 per cent inflow at Omatako Dam during mid January this year but no inflows were recorded at Swakoppoort Dam and Von Bach Dam.”
The national water utility, NamWater last week Friday announced it will reduce the water supply to the City of Windhoek (CoW) by 20 per cent in efforts to postpone the run dry date of supply dams from August 2016 to April 2017.
Mostert said it is however not just Windhoek that is experiencing a water shortage but the whole of Namibia and reduction in consumption should be viewed in a broader perspective.
“When there is no water, we as NamWater are responsible and we did not have a positive response of saving at least 15 per cent of water, hence the decision to cut the provision of water to the City of Windhoek. It is not just Windhoek that needs water, the entire country is also experiencing a similar shortcoming but there are areas that are still fine.”
The reduction comes into effect on 01 March 2016, as the corporation is experiencing a critically poor inflow into its dams. CoW customers were notified that a reduction in supply from NamWater will not affect the pricing of water.
In addition, Mostert proclaimed that the situation can be so severe that companies might be obliged to decrease production or close for business, which can result in employment loses and a heavy blow to the domestic economy.
Furthermore, NamWater Chief Business Unit, Cliff Olivier disclosed that the quality of water at the Swakoppoort Dam has depreciated due to human activities such as unwanted contents found in laundry detergents and other soaps, and algae that build up in the dams as a result.
“Most of that pollution comes from the central areas, specifically Windhoek, and evaporation which is one of our biggest threats.”
The predicted water usage for Windhoek stood at 442, 780 cubic meters but it exceeded to 452 778 from the 25 January to 01 February this year.
Olivier added that if all stakeholders such as households, schools and companies adhere to the severity of the crisis and opt to use water sparingly, then the run dry date will be postponed to roughly two months, being November this year.
“I predict that there might be a situation where you will open your tap and no water will come out. We are now in a domestic drought and it is extreme,”he said.