Recycling keeps shortages in check
The City of Windhoek said residents are unlikely to notice any of the ongoing disruptions in the water supply from the Von Bach reservoir thanks to the City’s long-standing practice of re-using water for human consumption. Piet du Pisanie, the Strategic Executive of the Department of Infrastructure, Water, Technical Services of the Windhoek Municipality said the announced series of water disruptions over weekends started in July and will continue for the remainder of August. The disruptions result from upgrading of the pipeline between Von Bach and Windhoek, and from the installation of new pumping stations by Nampower.
According to Du Pisani residents are unlikely to experience any water shortages, because innovative re-use of water ensures there are sufficient reserves to prevent shortages.
The Goreangab reclamation plant provides up to 25% of Windhoek’s water supply turning sewage effluent into potable water within four days after it enters the system. The City of Windhoek and Namwater also embarked on a project to artificially recharge the Windhoek aquifer. Instead of leaving water in the surface reservoir where it evaporates at a rate of 3.4 metres per annum, the water is stored underground in the Windhoek aquifer.
Because of replenishment, the City could survive for two to three years on ground water during periods of drought and lack of surface water.
“The value of all these unconventional sources can be seen during the NamWater shutdowns that are currently happening every second weekend during the winter of 2013,” said Du Pisani.
“NamWater has to shut down supply for periods of 48 hours to connect new pump stations to the Von Bach Windhoek supply line. If the City did not have access to reclaimed water and a recharged aquifer, these shutdowns would have led to severe water restrictions.”