Water shortages cripple Rundu

Water shortages cripple Rundu

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John Muyamba

Rundu-Residents and businesses of Rundu are annoyed by the constant water cuts at the town.
The untenable situation compels residents to wake up in the middle of the night to fill up their water containers for use during the day, when taps run dry by morning and sometimes lasts all day, which has become a daily occurrence.

Residents have described the situation as a disaster, and likened it to living in a desert. This despite the fact the Kavango River from where the town sources water is within walking distance.
The water crisis in Rundu has lasted for several months now with no end in sight and it seems to be getting worse with each passing day.

There is discord among residents as the water crisis affects their daily activities,
as only a few households and some businesses can afford reservoir tanks.

Everyone, including businesses and various institutions, is being affected by the water shortage that has crippled Rundu.

“We only have uninterrupted water from our taps, maybe for two days in a week, but on most days we don’t have water, especially during the day. Our clients run out of the hotel to lodges that are not affected by water cuts, like the ones on the lower ground near the river,” said Frans Flory at Hotel Rundu along the Trans-Caprivi Highway.
“We have connected some rooms to a reservoir container but the rest of the rooms cannot be connected at the moment and we are losing business,” Frans added.

“Everyday you wake up to take a shower but there is no water – you have to get to work without bathing and it is so uncomfortable. What is the town council doing? I heard they are not buying enough prepaid units of water. I tried to investigate and some officials in the water department said it’s the town council’s fault because they are not paying NamWater, so NamWater cut us off when the units are up,” said Daniel Langhart.

Residents now flock to the river to bath or fetch water – running the risk of drowning or getting caught by a crocodile, despite the fact they always paid their water utility bills with the town council. New Era spoke to the acting CEO of Rundu, Mathews Naironga, who was defensive, saying the town council is not to blame but rather NamWater, as the utility is apparently unable to meet the town’s water needs.

“The volume of purified water NamWater is pumping to the town is small and only suburbs that are close to the reservoirs like Tutungeni, Safari and Nkarapamwe get most of the water and the rest of the locations suffer,” Naironga said.

The acting CEO emphasised that the biggest problem is that NamWater is purifying very little water for the town while “the demand is too high”.

New Era heard some people say that since the town was connected to a prepaid water meter by NamWater the council has not bought enough water units for the town, and thus water gets cut, but Naironga said this is not the case as the town council pays for enough units.

New Era further went on to seek answers from the water corporation, NamWater, but no response was got despite sending several emails and making calls to NamWater senior manager for corporate communications, Johannes Shigwedha.

“Just send the questions to my email, I will get them,” he said when this reporter phoned him on September 18 – but since then his phone went unanswered and he has not responded to the emails.

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