THE City of Windhoek, together with NamWater, yesterday cautioned water users in central Namibia, and Windhoek in particular, to start using water sparingly as the wells supplying water to these areas are running dry because of a lack of rain this year.
The City of Windhoek says this year's rainy season is the worst since 1996, which marked the end of the last drought experienced in central Namibia.
The manager of corporate communications at the City of Windhoek, Joshua Amukugo, says the three dams serving central Namibia have received no inflow this rainy season.
"Dam levels are substantially lower than at the same time last year and total water in storage in the three central area dams as on February 25 2013 was 54% compared to the 91% on February 27 2012. The three central area dams are hence 37% lower than last year," said Amukugo.
The three central dams are the Von Bach Dam, the Omatako Dam and the Swakoppoort Dam.
Ferdi Brinkman, the chief engineer in the department of infrastructure, water and waste management at the City of Windhoek, said if no inflow is received by the end of next year, the country could run dry by August next year.
Amukugo said in terms of supply planning, the central area has to ensure that there is enough water for two rainy seasons without any inflow into the three dams.
"Due to the dry and extremely hot conditions in January 2013, demand in Windhoek was more than 10% higher than January 2012. At the current demand patterns, and taking normal demand growth into consideration, the current effective supply from storage will not be able to sustain the demand," said Amukugo.
He stressed that there is no reason for panic yet, but that it is necessary for consumers to use less water.
As a result, the City of Windhoek has imposed water restrictions including a ban on the use of hosepipes to wash cars, the mandatory covering of all private swimming pools when not in use, and no watering of gardens between the hours of 10h00 and 16h00.
Amukugo said the water supply situation will be reassessed at the end of the rainy season and the restrictions will be relaxed or tightened depending on the situation at that time.
The annual consumption of water in Windhoek is 24 million cubic metres.
"We encourage the different municipalities and local authorities to take caution because we don't know what the future holds as far as our water supply is concerned," Brinkman said.