Quality of Kalkfeld water compromised by rusty pipes

KALKFELD: Residents of Kalkfeld in the Otjozondjupa Region risk their health by consuming the settlement’s poor quality water which is said to have turned brownish in colour due to rusted water pipes.

The Namibia Water Corporation’s (NamWater) Otjiwarongo-based Water Works Officer, Jim Fourie told Nampa on Monday that the quality of Kalkfeld’s water is compromised by the corrosion and rust in the old water pipelines channelling water from the reservoirs to the households.

Fourie said the problem of the dirty brownish-yellow water in Kalkfeld is well-known and documented with his office in Otjiwarongo because the problem has been coming on since last year.

“It is caused by the rusted water-pipelines that need total and complete replacement. We advised the Otjozondjupa Regional Council last year to replace the entire aged pipelines channelling water from the reservoirs to the community of Kalkfeld, but the council has failed to do this. That’s why Kalkfeld residents are still drinking dirty water today,” said Fourie.

The majority of Kalkfeld residents interviewed by Nampa on this matter on Monday blamed sorry state of affairs on the settlement’s chief control officer Dona Endjala.

The residents suspect that Endjala has not reported the matter to the Otjozondjupa Regional Council for their immediate action.

Manfred Nguvaru, 63, said his family continues to drink the ‘dirty’ water, as they have no other choice.

This reporter also observed the brownish colour of the water, and noticed some rust particles settling at the bottom of water buckets.

According to Nguvaru, the water comes like that from the taps and it can only be used after the rust particles have settled down at the bottom of a bucket or water container.

“This is the water we are drinking here from the taps. In my house, we are all at risk because we drink it without boiling. The situation has been like this since November 2014,” Nguvaru said.

Another resident, 84-year-old Usela Oases said her grandchildren are the ones at greater risk, as they often drink the dirty water straight from the taps.

The G.K Wahl Combined School Office Administrator, Expolinda Havarua said more than 300 children at her school are also at risk of compromising their health, as they continue to drink the water.

“Some of us here at the school even experienced severe stomach aches last year after drinking the water,” said Havarua.

A nurse at the Kalkfeld State Clinic, Whysley Useb said four patients complained about having non-stop diarrhoea on Monday.

He said the patients were treated for diarrhoea at the clinic that day, but the problem is likely to come up again in other patients.

He said his office also detected some water-borne bacteria in the Kalkfeld water in February 2014.

Useb said a laboratory report on the problematic water was even shared with the Otjozondjupa Regional Health Directorate in Otjiwarongo last year.

On her part, the Kalkfeld Settlement Chief Control Officer, Dona Endjala said her office is aware of the community’s water concerns.

She said her office addressed several letters about the water problem to the Otjozondjupa Regional Council in 2014, but nothing was done.

She said there was nothing to hide on the issue, as it is a well-known problem to her office.

Kalkfeld is situated about 70 kilometres south of Otjiwarongo in the Otjozondjupa Region, with a population of about 5 000 residents.

The Otjiwarongo Regional Constituency Councillor, Otto Ipinge on Tuesday said he was not aware of the rusty water problems facing the community at Kalkfeld.

He promised to take the matter up with the relevant officials at NamWater.