The Namibia Water Corporation (Namwater) is owed approximately N$300 million in total by regional and local authorities in the 2014/15 financial year, The Villager has learnt.
However, Namwater Chief Executive Officer Dr. Vaino Shivute maintained that the amount is more or less similar to that recorded in the 2013/14 financial year.
“In conjunction with the customers, we have put in place strategies to stop the amount increasing,” Shivute said.
Shivute could however break down which regional and local authorities owed what amount and which had the highest debt as it confidential.
“We are not able to supply this information due to the confidentiality required from water supply agreements signed with the customers. Our 2013/14 annual report, which is public, highlights Katima Mulilo, Rehoboth and Rundu as the biggest debtors,” Shivute said.
He said that Namwater has installed prepaid meters and they disconnect those of customers that are not paying if they believe the client has the money to foot the bill.
“We are also assisting the customers by putting Namwater personnel in the late paying customers’ offices to help with collections. All customers are supposed to pay within 30 days of invoice,” Shivute said.
The state utility has a client base of roughly 28 000 customers and 209 large bulk connections on a wholesale basis. The five largest bulk customers comprise 37% of total operating revenues.
The City of Windhoek (CoW) is the single largest customer, representing 24% of the total operating revenue while government-related entities constitute the bulk of the company’s customers.
Meanwhile, when NamWater inaugurated the Von Bach-Windhoek Transfer Capacity Increase Project, it emerged the state water utility (Namwater) plans to spend N$200 million in increasing water supply capacity to Windhoek over the next three years.
The increase is in the transfer capacity from 2,700 cubic metres per hour to 5,400 cubic metres per hour to address the increasing demand for water.
This goes to show that even though the regional and local authorities owe Namwater roughly N$300 million, Namwater still needs to spend N$200 million on Windhoek alone.
With water from the treatment plant at Von Bach dam, NamWater supplies Windhoek, Okahandja, Otjihase mine and all the major and small customers between Okahandja and Windhoek.
The plant has now reached its limits to supply the intended customers. Since Independence the Windhoek population has been growing at a rate 3% to 5% whilst Okahandja has also been growing because of the process of rural-urban migration as well as other developments.
In addition, earlier The Villager reported that the Water utility will spend N$165 million to harness underground water (aquifers) to supplement water shortage caused by drought.
This was after research that showed that most supplying dams countrywide are at a level lower than expected to sustain demand.
According to Shivute, the estimated demand for the City of Windhoek alone is 24 cubic metres per anum (mm•/a) of which 17 will be sourced from NamWater and the balance from the resources managed by the City of Windhoek such as Windhoek boreholes and Goreangab Water Reclamation Plant.
In addition, NamWater also cleans and repairs the Eastern National Water Carrier (ENWC), installs standby pumps at Berg Aukas and Kombat Mine, in addition to being responsible for replacing the rerouting Kombat Pipelines as part of their projects to improve the security of water throughout Namibia.
Namibia has received below-average rainfall figures during this rainy season; a situation that exacerbated the fear that towns like Windhoek and Okahandja are about to run dry.
The low dam levels were attributed to the three major dams to poor inflow caused by insufficient rain recorded in the country during the recently-ended rainy season.
The Von Bach and Swakopoort dams are currently at 35.3 percent and 34.0 percent capacity levels respectively, while the Omatako dam is at 4.5 percent.
The state utility raised N$200 million to repair and replace the old pump stations of the Von Bach Dam from the bond programme.
Shivute said in an interview with The Villager that the Repair works are a continuous process.
“When you finish repairing certain components, you may need to repair other components that would have failed. We are investing substantial amounts of money on an annual basis to repair water infrastructure,” Shivute said.