6 February 2013

Namibia: Katima Restores Water to Chotto

Katima Mulilo — Disgruntled residents of the three informal settlements of Chotto, Cowboy and Mahohoma in Katima Mulilo accuse the town council of supplying them with untreated water from the river, following an interruption to their normal water supply due to the breakdown of booster pumps.

However, the authorities have dismissed the accusations and say the normal water supply to the three settlements has been restored. The council had to rope in the services of Namibia Roads Products (NRP) to distribute water to designated points in the affected settlements with the company's water trucks, while repairing the booster pumps.

The CEO of the Katima Mulilo Town Council, Charles Nawa, this week rubbished accusations by residents who claim that they were supplied with untreated water from the river during the crisis.

"People should understand that the town's water is in category B, hence the brownish colour of the water," said Nawa.

"Laboratory results on the water indicate that the water is fit for human consumption, therefore people should not be concerned.

Purification cannot change the colour of the water," he further explained.

"We are still a town council, therefore until such a time that we move up as a municipality our water will remain in category B, which is affordable for the people. If we have to change to category A, it means we will have to increase the rates at which people buy water, meaning most people will not be able to afford water," said Nawa.

Nawa said the three booster pumps that supply water to the settlements have since been repaired. "The truck stopped distributing water on Monday. Although the pumps were repaired last week Thursday, we had to fill up the water tanks which supply the residents before we could stop the trucks from distributing the water," Nawa offered.

In an earlier interview with New Era, Nawa said the affected areas get water from a different source than the rest of the town.

Residents of Cowboy in Katima Mulilo were furious when New Era visited the settlement last week, fearing that the town council had placed their health in jeopardy.

"The council is withholding public information because they did not notify the public about the problem, and it seems the water that we are getting is drawn from the river," Master Sikwenuho, a resident of the settlement charged.

"We just saw a truck coming here to distribute water, and as you can see we have to scramble everyday in order to fill our buckets. As you can see this water is not good for the people, but we have no choice. If the town council hears that people have diarrhoea they should know that it was caused by this dirty water they supply to us," said Sikwenuho.

Sikwenuho was especially concerned over the health of minor children. Meanwhile, Paul Ingenda, a Grade 9 learner at Mabuluma Combined School said he skipped school last Thursday, because he could not fill his bucket before the tanker ran out of water. "I decided not to go to school because the other learners would have teased me for not taking a bath. I would have been the only one smelling in class, and I might have ended up beating someone for teasing me and be chased out of school," he said.

Ingenda said the town council should also fix all broken water points in the area.

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