Omaruru community activits calls for water conference

21 Dec 2016 16:40pm
By Dirck Kuzatjike
OMARURU, 21 DEC (NAMPA) – The Omaruru Concerned Group (OCG) is calling for a water conference to discuss the town’s water shortage.
Most parts of the high-lying Ozondje area where the majority of the town’s inhabitants reside, have not had water for over five months, leaving them to walk long distances for water at municipal offices and the town’s museum.
Hundreds of residents from the Hakahana settlement, several Build Together and Shackdwellers’ housing schemes, and Ozondje now fight every day over the valued liquid from a 3 000 litre fire brigade water truck provided by the municipality.
Water restrictions were instituted in July. The truck supplies water for two hours in the morning and evening, while council seek solutions to the crisis that could cripple major projects.
Several projects like a defence force base, elitist “Welwitschia Village”, SME incubation centre, construction of over 200 houses through public private partnerships, servicing of 700 erven, and construction of a rest camp could be jeopardised if the shortage of water persists.
Barminus Swartbooi of the OCG said Omaruru’s water sources are vast and with proper planning, the town could have avoided a scenario where more than half of its residents are scavenging for water.
Swartbooi told Nampa on Tuesday, their council has been reduced to a “crisis management team”.
“Solutions are readily available if council just listens to the advice of community members, among them experienced, although retired experts in the water sources of the town,” he said.
The activist said the appeal by the community for the municipality to better manage its infrastructure is not new.
Heiner Dorgeloh, the former chairperson of the Omaruru Residents Association, exposed the town’s vulnerability to water shortages two years ago after he conducted an independent study of the town’s water infrastructure. The study indicated that most of Omaruru’s water pumps do not have working meters, and no reliable water extraction and usage data existed.
Acting CEO of the Omaruru Municipality, Elifas Amunyela told Nampa Tuesday the municipality is busy setting up 6 000 litre tanks at four designated spots in Ozondje to provide pre-paid water for those affected.
He said the municipality is working on connecting a newly drilled borehole to its water system early next year to increase water pressure and assure water availability to residents.