NamWater’s N$40m water-hole

…COVID-19 runs water suppliers’ bill into millions

By Hilary Mare

NAMWATER will incur financial implications of over N$40 million for restoring full water supply to a number of local authorities and for the provision of free water using water tankers to identified communities during the COVID-19 lockdown period between March 27 and May 4, the company has said.

If the period is to be extended to three month, the financial strain felt will reach N$123 million and N$246 million if these measures were to be maintained for six months.

“It is thus, necessary to look at the long term financial solutions such as the creation of a water scarcity fund that can be used to subsidise the Corporation in case of events such as this one,” said the Corporation in a statement this week adding that NamWater has always emphasized the fact that water does not have a price, but it is the service of providing water to the nation that has financial implications.

In the face of COVID-19 and as a result of NamWater being a national bulk water supplier, the Corporation had to develop measures that ensures continuous water supply for twenty four hours.

As the first measure, NamWater has lifted water rationing to all village Councils, which were previously affected in order to supply water 24 hours to such Councils.

Further, all NamWater customers who have been put on pre-paid water metering systems have been placed on the by-pass system to allow for access to water in their respective towns or village Councils.

“It is, however, worth mentioning that despite this measure taken, it does not mean that the outstanding debts will be cancelled and arrangements have been put in place for the local authorities to pay for their current consumptions when the situation returns to normal. The Corporation is however engaging Central government to look at how to look into measures of a subsidy,” the Corporation added.

The Corporation also noted that NamWater has five business units and the five business units chiefs in consultation with the regional governments have identified and will continue to identify vulnerable communities that do not have access to water supply at the current moment, so that these communities are supplied water with water tankers.

“To date a number of communities were identified and are being supplied with water using water tankers,” said NamWater.

Water tanker services in the North West business unit have been installed at Olushendje village in Oshikoto Region and Ohameva in Ohangwena. Water tanker services in the North East business unit are at Makaanga at (Chivanga village, Lubunge village, Mutotela village and Nziba), Tuhingireni location, Tumweneni location, SunCity location, Kasote location, Ngwangwa location, Baramasone village, Vikota Village and Ngaramateya Village.

Apart from this the Corporation said that Greiters conference facility is one of the quarantine centres in the country and NamWater is supplying the centre with water. Furthermore, NamWater is currently engaging the City of Windhoek to determine the assistance required by the City to deliver water to the community along the Nauasport-Oamites pipeline where NamWater will provide water to the informal settlements with a water tanker.

In the business unit coastal, NamWater is supplying water through water tankers to Topnaar community, Uis settlement areas, Berseba Rural schemes and Tubusis, Okombahe and Spitzkoppe.