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Rundu residents struggle to survive amid water shortages

Written by on June 4, 2024

Despite being located along the Okavango River, some Rundu residents face persistent water shortages as the town struggles to deliver potable water.

Residents of Sikanduko and Ndama and other areas of Rundu have been without running water for several months.

Since September last year, residents have faced water rationing, with water initially only available between 22h00 and the early morning hours. However, in January, the situation worsened, with residents only being able to access water two to three times a week or less.

The water shortages have forced some residents to start collecting water from the river, while others have begun selling containers of water they collect from the river.

The Namibian attempted to contact Rundu Town Council spokesperson Benjamin Makayi telephonically but got no response.

However, a source in the town council says due to high demand and an increase in the population of the town, the Namibia Water Corporation (NamWater) is unable to supply water to all areas.

“Our wish is for NamWater to upgrade water supply as they have land behind the police station and Mashare Lodge, where they are planning to construct a new water purification plant to cater for the entire town,” says the source.

“Currently, the town council has drilled two to three boreholes which supply water into the reservoir at Andreas [Kandjimi Primary] School in Ndama-Kehemu.”

Another borehole was drilled to supply areas such as Suncity, Ndama, Sikanduko, Sauyemwa and others, he says.

The source further says NamWater’s new project will soon be able to supply water to nearby villages.

Suncity resident Joseph Mulyata expressed his frustration with the water shortages.

“We have been patient for so long and complaining [daily] on the radio and different types of social media but our cries [fell] on deaf ears. Our children are suffering and our livelihoods are at risk daily. We are drained by this situation … and we need immediate solutions,” he says.

Amid the water crisis, some residents have resorted to collecting water from leaking pipes.

The community has called on the Rundu Town Council to prioritise solutions to address the water shortages urgently. They say access to clean water is a fundamental human right and the people of Suncity, Ndama and Sikanduko deserve better.

Suncity resident Sarah Siwoko says despite promises, the Rundu Town Council has failed to resolve the matter.

“Residents have started collecting water from the river, dormant pipes and went to the extent of buying water from other people who are selling water in containers. In the beginning, a 25-litre container of water cost N$10, whereas20-litres cost N$5. As the sellers realised that water is in high demand, the price per container increased from N$5 to N$10, and from N$10 to N$20,” she says.

“We are really suffering, as if we do not have a natural river that doesn’t dry up. Why should we suffer like this?”

Resident Cosmos Kapwita says since the water issues started last September, the community has become “slaves of containers”.

“We wake up early daily to make sure that we can get water, as early as 04h00 or 05h00, to make sure our children bath to go for classes. We don’t know when this issue will be resolved, the town council don’t even try alternative ways to provide essential water to the community. The prepaid [meters] they brought a month ago [have not been] installed and are just placed here for decoration.”

He says residents risk their lives when collecting water from pipes due to the risk of encountering snakes.

The post Rundu residents struggle to survive amid water shortages appeared first on The Namibian.

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