THE severe drought in Namibia hit Windhoek with a hard hammer blow and not only caused water levels in dams and reservoirs feeding the capital city with potable water to fall dramatically but forced the City Council to take drastic steps to avert a situation where taps will eventually run dry.
As it currently stands the Namibian Water Corporation will only be able to supply a little more than a quarter of the normal demand requirement of the Namibian capital for the coming year and consumers will have to deal with high consumption charges.
During a press briefing on the miserable water supply outlook for 2019/2020, City of Windhoek Chief Execuitve Officer, Robert Kahimise, announced that NamWater will only be able to supply Windhoek with 163 712 cubic metres (m3) of the required demand of 539 350 m3 per week.
“A severe water scarcity condition is therefore declared, and subsequently water restrictions must be implemented accordingly. In line with the provisions of the Water Management Plan, the CoW announces that, based on the current situation with regards to the availability of water for the next two years, the City has no choice but to increase Demand Management actions by moving from the current Category C – Water Scarcity to a Category D – Severe Water Scarcity Drought as per the scarcity severity index which already took effect from 1 May 2019.” he said.
With the demand management plan the CoW set a new weekly water consumption target for Windhoek of 465 000 m3 per week.
“All water consumed beyond the new target consumption of 465 000 m3 per week needs to be produced from the boreholes in the Windhoek Aquifer. All possible savings achieved will thus also be offset against the supply from the Windhoek Aquifer which would then further preserve our aquifer. It should be noted with caution that Windhoek Aquifer cannot be exploited indefinitely and thus consumption should therefore strictly be managed to remain within the quota. Residents should also be informed that high consumption charges will remain in place until the water supply situation has improved.”
Kahimise said the management of the CoW came under heavy criticism for not allowing development that might negatively influence the Windhoek Aquifer.
“It is for situations exactly like this that we jealously guard this extremely valuable asset.”
He applauded city residents for the continuous efforts to use water wisely and for the savings achieved thus far, especially during the 2018/19 season when an average saving of 9% was achieved against a target of 10%.
“Water consumers in Windhoek are urged to continue with the responsibility of increased savings and with the concerted efforts applied during the previous drought. In this regard, residents are requested to manage their consumption within the applicable restrictions to achieve and maintain the water consumption savings target relating to a Category D scenario, which is at least 15%.”
Kahimise said the City of Windhoek will continue to release weekly updates on the savings achieved in relation to this goal, as well as any other pertinent information to keep the public informed about changes in the Water Management Programs.
“In the past Residents have responded positively to our requests to save water and I believe they will continue doing so for the benefit of all who live within Windhoek.