While Namibia joined the rest of the world to mark World Water Day earlier this week, the Tobias Hainyeko constituency community is distressed by water wastage due to dilapidated communal taps and ablution facilities, as well as leaking pipes in the area.
According to some members of the community, they have seen an increase in water wastage since last year when the government provided free water to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“The municipality has fixed some taps and toilets – but due to people’s negligence, they broke them again,” complained community activist Kores Nakatumbe, adding that some taps have been leaking since February, while some water pipes have been broken since last year.
Nakatumbe also said water wastage is mainly caused by children due to lack of parental guidance and also other irresponsible residents who do laundry at the taps and leave them running after use.
He said meetings have been conducted in the area to help curb the wasting of water; however, little has been done to address the issue.
“We appreciate the government’s effort to give us free water but we believe if we get back to prepaid, water people will be more responsible,” said another resident, who prefers anonymity.
While the country is battling Hepatitis E, especially in the informal settlements, residents said they are also at risk of contracting Hepatitis E and other waterborne diseases – due to poor hygiene conditions.
After hearing the complaints, Windhoek councillor Fransina Kahungu contacted the city’s municipal workers, who managed to fix two communal taps and broken pipes this week.
Kahungu, who informed community members about the importance of valuing water, said as much as the Windhoek city council commits to improving water and sanitation in informal settlements, members of the community should also be responsible for what is provided to them.
City of Windhoek spokesperson Harold Akwenye said there was a general concern about the wastage and destruction of council infrastructure as a result of the provision of free water.
“We normally patrol the areas and we fix broken taps and pipes we come across as well as those reported. We have noticed people coming with bakkies to fill up containers of water to use for car wash and building. That is a big concern. Residents in those areas leave the taps open and also vandalise the
infrastructure,” he noted.
Akwenye further added that the situation resulted in an increase in water usage in those settlements. “Luckily, we are blessed with good rains. However, at the end of the day, the government has to reimburse the City of Windhoek for every drop consumed in the informal settlements,” he said.
Akwenye also added that the city wants to revert to prepaid water, but government regulations don’t allow it; therefore, they have to comply with the authority’s directive to have the water available to those who cannot afford it. When asked for a comment, the constituency councillor Christoph Likuwa said he is not aware of such condition, as nobody has informed him.
“I believe the community leader is yet to report that to me,” he said.