RUNDU – Government on Thursday reached an agreement with NamWater, to provide water to the Rundu Town Council, without council having to pay its monthly water bill of N$2 million, which would have amounted to N$6 million over three months while it puts its house in order.
This arrangement will allow the debt-stricken town council to have an uninterupted supply of water from NamWater where it has a debt of N$60 million a situation that resulted in residents having to trek to the river to draw water and to wash their dishes and to swim as Rundu had to resort to daily water rationing lasting for several hours over the past months.
After extensive consultations with all relevant stakeholders on the water crisis NamWater has decided to re-connect water at Rundu – and the Rundu Town Council will be allowed to have water for the next three months without payment.
Before government’s intervention on Thursday the town council had of late been unable to buy pre-paid water units for the town and was compelled to implement water rationing that lasted for several hours a day
“The water supply situation in Rundu has featured prominently in both local print and electronic media in the past few days.
The issue has been receiving the attention of the Government of the Republic of Namibia and NamWater. The following has been decided upon: water will be re-connected and Rundu will be allowed to have water for the next three months without payments,” said the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Permanent Secretary, Percy Misika, in a press statement released late on Thursday afternoon. During the three months that water will be available the town council is urged to intensify the campaign of collecting revenue from water consumers at Rundu to help the town council settle its water bill with NamWater timeously. Rundu consumes about N$2 million worth of water monthly.
“The first amount of N$2 million will be paid for by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development directly to NamWater. The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development will notify all government-related institutions that owes Rundu Town Council to settle their water accounts with immediate effect,” Misika said. However, the condition now is that the town council will be required to ring-fence the water bill to ensure that money paid for water use by the consumer is strictly used to settle the water account with NamWater, not to pay for salaries and other operational expenses.
“The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in collaboration with NamWater will monitor the situation and regularly update the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development to ensure adherence to the arrangements as agreed upon. Government would like to appeal to all residents in Rundu, including the business community to settle their water bills in order to help address the current water supply situation in the town,” Misika added.
The town of Rundu has been without water since Saturday and the situation affected schools, hospitals, clinics, training centres, businesses and over 80 000 residents in so many ways. A child recently drowned at the river where children usually go to cool off from the heat.