Windhoek misses water targets
Windhoek is falling far short of the water saving target of 25% set by the City Council two months ago. By this time the City was expecting a reduction of one quarter on normal consumption, instead the target has been overshot by 12.5%.
On Thursday, visibly unsettled city officials told a press conference that residents are not heeding the urgent call to conserve water. “During October the target of saving 25% on water consumption has not been reached, but rather the city was 12.5% over the target” said City spokesperson, Joshua Amukugo.
He was however mindful that some saving has been achieved saying the public understands the critical water scarcity but pointed out that water consumption in October was higher than in September.
Explaining the City’s strategy, Amukugo said they are focusing intensively on demand side management, which includes tariff structuring, and implementation and enforcement of drought regulations pertaining to the watering of gardens, the covering and filling of pools and other non-portable forms of domestic consumption.
“At the moment we are mostly having issues with car washes, people not covering their pools and people watering their gardens, even twice a day, but we are patrolling and if we find anyone who is not adhering to the restriction, they will not be warned any more but will be given a fine” he warned sternly.
He said they have consulted with the construction sector so that the industry, from its own motivation, can find ways to save water. As an interim measure, road construction companies are using semi-purified irrigation water but all building sites still use copious amounts of potable water.
Meanwhile during the briefing, elder residence were demonstrating downstairs in front of the Mayor’s office because of high water and electricity tariffs and incorrect statements that they receive from The City. Amukugo promised to deal with these issues as soon as possibly and urged residents to come to their offices if they feel that there are any discrepancies.
Furthermore as a major consumer of water, he said the City is fully prepared to shoulder the responsibility of driving demand side management and augmenting supply through the development of all internal sources. “The City has implemented programmes such as the continuous development of the Managed Aquifer Recharge Scheme to utilize underground storage and aquifer reserves to bridge drought periods and to raise the yield of the current supply system” he said adding that the reduction in the overall water demand through the production of treated waste water for irrigation, is an important element of water saving from the City’s side. The City has started to disconnect all public lawns and school grounds from the potable water reticulation system. These are all in the process of being switched over to semi-purified irrigation water. Amukugo also emphasised the seriousness of the situation by stating that even their lawn at the municipality head office is no longer being watered. “We will continue to patrol around the city to monitor and enforce water saving mechanisms at individual and business level especially car washes and construction sites,” he concluded.