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Demand for water outstrips northern supply

2021-11-12  Nuusita Ashipala

Demand for water outstrips northern supply
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Water demand in the northern regions of the country has exceeded supply, Namwater said this week. The debilitating water crisis has largely been felt in the Oshana, Ohangwena, Omusati and Oshikoto regions, leading to numerous interruptions.

“Government and NamWater are fully aware of the above challenges facing water supply services in these areas, and are not taking it lightly,” NamWater spokesperson Johannes Shigwedha said in a statement. He explained that the recent water interruptions were caused by a sudden breakdown of a water supply pump at Oshakati, coupled with power interruptions. 

“Villages which are normally at the end of the supply line have been experiencing low water pressure to no water for some time now,” said Shigwedha. 

The affected villages include Okatsaidhi and Amaupa in the Omusati region, as well as several areas in Oshikoto and Ohangwena, including Akazulu, Otatashe, Onankee, Omapale, Onambutu and Oshaango. Besides the recent interruptions, NamWater has been experiencing water supply issues to some parts of the northern regions because of the ageing water infrastructure and illegal take-offs from the Olushandja-Oshakati canal, which has slowed down the flow to the purification plant at Oshakati. 

There is also vandalism of the canal and unplanned power interruptions affecting the supply, Shigwedha stated, noting that the ageing infrastructure affects the northern regions as well as Zambezi, Kavango West and East. 

To address the issue, NamWater has employed both short and long-term solutions. The water utility has also deployed machinery to remove weeds and sand from the Calueque-Oshakati canal in order to speed up the flow of water.

In addition, there are projects in place to extend the Outapi treatment plant as well as extending the Oshakati purification plant. Plans to construct a second dam, which receives raw water from the canal at the Oshakati treatment plant, are already in the pipeline. 

“A project to reconstruct the Olushandja-Calueque canal from the Omahenene border post to the Oshakati plant is currently ongoing. 

This will allow more water flow to the Oshakati purification plant,” said Shigwedha. Meanwhile, a generator set was deployed at Oshakati and other critical water plants to cater for water interruptions, while water tankers have likewise been deployed to supply water to critical areas. 

The water utility will also continue to ration water from 22h00 to 05h00 in Omusati, Oshana and Ohangwena in order to help build up the reservoirs’ capacity. “NamWater is appealing to the people to timeously report pipe breakages and acts of vandalism,” he continued.

2021-11-12  Nuusita Ashipala

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