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Ageing infrastructure derails water restoration

2021-08-18  Obrien Simasiku

Ageing infrastructure derails water restoration

Obrein Simasiku

The dilapidated pipelines installed over 40 years ago are said to be hampering the efforts to restore the water supply in the Zambezi region. The situation has plagued the region for nearly two weeks now, as pipes continue to break, and communities are left without potable water. 

There is a major pipe break between the Katima Mulilo army base and the hospital, said the head of NamWater in Zambezi, Joseph Mulisa, who confirmed that they are heading to ground zero to restore the water crisis. He said continued pipe bursts and leakages have made it impossible to pump to full capacity, despite the earnest issue of cable theft that has been partially addressed. 

“Dilapidated infrastructure is another cause of concern, because these pipes have outlived their lifespan in the ground, thus they cannot withstand the pressure anymore,” he stressed. “When they stole the electric cable, that shut down had an effect on the pumps that cannot operate on automatic anymore whereby the system can regulate the flow and so forth. 

Now on manual, whatever volume is difficult to control, as our current infrastructure cannot withstand such pressure.”  Dry taps left residents thirsty, disrupted day-to-day activities for households, schools and businesses. The problem started when some unscrupulous individuals stole electrical cables powering main pumps at the Zambezi River that pump water to the treatment plant. Because of that, NamWater has been unable to distribute water. 

“We are now hit with another problem of pipe breaks despite managing to fix one pump that we are using to feed the treatment plant for further distribution,” explained Mulisa. 


Meanwhile, three suspects who were arrested last weekend in connection with the rampant cable theft were released on bail of N$1 000 each on Monday, according to community affairs Inspector Kisco Sitali. The suspects are Owen Mukena (20), Mayumbelo Malange (23) as well as Sitamulaho Lutibezi (22). Sitali said the value of the stolen material is N$35 000 and have not been recovered yet. The bail release did, however, not sit well with Mulisa, who fears that the suspects might commit the same crime again. “Why release them on bail? What is N$1 000 compared to the value of the materials? These guys will come back to steal again and derail all our efforts, and affect all the population,” he fumed. - 

2021-08-18  Obrien Simasiku

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