KEETMANSHOOP – The Keetmanshoop municipality is working towards upgrading its ageing water network system with the help of a N$12 million grant from the local French embassy.
Speaking during a ceremony on Tuesday, where details of the deal were revealed, Keetmanshoop Mayor Gaudentia Kröhne said that with the help of the FASEP grant, the N$12 million will be used to address the obsolete state of the supply and distribution water network at the town and to rehabilitate the Naute dam-Keetmanshoop pipeline.
She said the municipality’s challenges with the water network are well documented with the frequent pipe bursts, causing not only water wastage but a significant loss of income for the municipality, and this she said is why the project is important to ensure sustainable and optimal performance of the system and an end to water wastage.
“We are sitting with pipes that are 40-50 years old, and the frequent pipe bursts and subsequent water losses have had a very negative impact on the financial situation of the municipality,” she noted.
She stressed that if such water losses are avoided, money lost due to pipe bursts can then be used to improve service delivery to residents, such as servicing of land and provision of affordable housing to the people, and therefore the project is very important and a light at the end of a tunnel for the municipality.
Keetmanshoop CEO Desmond Basson put the municipality’s losses into perspective, saying that the municipality keeps making losses of over a million per month, which is recorded as unaccounted for due to pipe bursts, as residents cannot pay for water that they have not used, noting that it is thus imperative that the water network be upgraded.
“With our N$5 million water bill per month, 25 percent of that is lost and unaccounted for due to water pipe bursts, so if we fix this we will be able to collect what we should collect as payments,” he said.
French ambassador to Namibia, Claire Bodonyi in her brief remarks said France remains a friend to Namibia and that the agreement with the municipality and NamWater was made possible due to the two countries’ good relationships and that the project will see French specialists share their skills and knowledge on water management, but she was quick to note that all will be done on Namibia’s terms.
“Water is key for everyone and we are here to carry on the friendship of the two countries and to transfer the highest skills we can, but we are not here to impose on what you do not want,” she said.
The 18-month project is to be carried out by French firm Altereo.