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Water conservation call falling on deaf ears?

By: Kelvin Chiringa

As the city of Windhoek emerges from one of the most devastating water scarcity crises, the call for water conservation remains distant as latest indications are that over the past week, Windhoek residents consumed 10% more water than allowable.

According to the city fathers, this means residents have not reached the municipal target of saving at least 10% of consumption.

This wanton use of water continues as a crippling drought looms over the horizon.

Lately, the nation joined the rest of the world in celebration of water, an event otherwise dubbed, the World Wetlands Day.

Agriculture water and forestry minister, Alpheus !Naruseb echoed the statement that a world without water is a lifeless world, saying this  alludes to the fact that lack of water means no future and no life anywhere in the world including Namibia.

Said the minister, “For us, who live in such an arid country, the meaning of water scarcity is well known because of the water shortages and extreme droughts which we periodically experience.”

“That is the situation we are in this year. Water, the blue gold, as sometimes referred to, is the global common good that connects and moves all lives on earth.  Without water our wetlands, forests and vegetation are under threat.”

The city currently relies on Oanob dam for drinking water, industrial utilisation, and fishing as well as for recreation and tourism, said the minister.

But he was quick to mention that most of the time there is no protection of the dam.

“The sewage from the houses built around the dam can spill in it if we are not diligent. The oil from the speed boats can spill in it if we are not careful. For each of us to be able to enjoy the services the wetlands provide, we must take care that our activities do not jeopardise the integrity of this wetland.’’

“When we neglect our ecosystems, we make it harder for the environment to provide the much needed goods and services for human and economic activities,’’ he said.

The Institute for Public Policy Research has noted that the water crisis in Windhoek had been long coming, caused by population growth, urbanisation, economic growth and poor rainfall.

In their 2018 paper, Dianne Scott et al also observe that there are 300 of Namibia’s manufacturing firms in Windhoek, and the high demand for water from households and these industries contribute to the water crisis.

Kelvin Chiringa

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