Boreholes Could Rescue Katima

The Katima Mulilo Town Council has set aside N$1 million under its current budget to construct boreholes at the town in a bid to avoid future water shortages.

For the past few weeks Katima Mulilo experienced water shortages that hit the town following a pipe burst which took several days to repair due to the difficulty of its location. The pipe runs under a building at the Zambezi Waterfront and Tourism Park (ZWTP) and is believed to have succumbed to the weight and intense pressure of the building on top of it, resulting in the burst.

In an interview the mayor of Katima Mulilo, Charles Matengu, revealed that the town has set aside close to N$1 million to drill boreholes to serve as alternative supply in case of water shortages as experienced over the years.

He could however not say how many boreholes they plan to drill since the drilling of just one borehole already costs about N$1 million.

Although the recently broken pipe was repaired, Matengu said the town has no alternatives such as water tank reservoirs or boreholes, which makes it very difficult to provide residents and essential service providers such as hospitals and schools, among others, with water when there is a crisis.

“We are looking at alternatives. We would like to build one borehole with a big tank in one of the informal settlements where our people are low-income earners. These people cannot afford to pay the high water tariffs of NamWater. So we believe if set up our own borehole we will be able to regulate affordable prices for them,” he revealed.

He said that if such a borehole is drilled it could also be used to provide water to the town and to villages in other constituencies.

Matengu said the town council has also requested NamWater to help build two big reservoirs, adding that the existing one has become too small and is unable to supply the whole town during a water crisis.

“We need big reservoirs on standby if we get a water pipe burst. The one we have is small. It was constructed before independence when Katima Mulilo had a population of around 5 000 people. We already put in our request at the beginning of this year, but we don’t know why NamWater is not pro-active,” he said.

The town now has almost 30 000 residents.

Another urgent need he singled out is for an additional generator to pump water from the Zambezi River to the town, saying the existing one is not sufficient.

In this regard, he noted that the council is in consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to see how they can assist.

“The generator we have is a bit old and at times it switches off by itself. It needs to be serviced every year and during the service it leaves the town without water. So we need a standby generator because now once it stops everyone at the town has no water,” he said.

Moreover, he said, the main water pipe that provides water to the town also supplies water to other constituencies. “The water crisis not only creates problems for residents in town but also villagers in other parts of the region,” he explained.

Residents are normally caught unprepared by the water supply stoppages and are often forced to draw untreated water from the Zambezi River, thus running the risk of contracting waterborne diseases and exposure to crocodile attacks.

Source : New Era