Namibia: Govt Dives Into Rundu Water Crisis

The ministry of agriculture has announced that it will reconnect Rundu's water for the next three months after a week of disconnection.

The town's spokesperson, Sikongo Haihambo, last week said the Rundu Town Council was struggling to settle a N$60 million water bill with NamWater, which led to the disconnection. Several Rundu business people and residents also had to flock to the Okavango River to fetch water using containers after the council failed to buy more units.

The town is just among many, such as Katima Mulilo and Rehoboth, who owe NamWater. The town's mayor, Verna Sinimbo, had begged for a N$20 million bailout from the ministry of urban and rural development last week.

In a press statement issued on Thursday, permanent secretary of agriculture Percy Misika announced that the council's water will be reconnected, and that the town will be allowed to have water for the next three months. He further revealed that Rundu consumes about N$2 million worth of water monthly.

The first amount of N$2 million will be paid by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development directly to NamWater.

"Rundu is urged to intensify the campaign of collecting revenue from the water consumers within the town to help the town council settle its water bill with NamWater timeously," said Misika.

He added that the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development will notify all government-related institutions which owe the Rundu Town Council to settle their water accounts with immediate effect. The town will be required to create a ring-fenced system to ensure that money paid for water use by the water consumer is strictly used to settle the water account of the water utility.

"The ministry of agriculture, in collaboration with NamWater, will monitor the situation, and regularly update the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development to ensure adherence to the arrangements as agreed upon," said the permanent secretary.

He also appealed to all residents at Rundu, including the business community, to settle their water bills in order to help address the current water supply situation at the town. Spokesperson at the agriculture ministry Margaret Kalo yesterday said the water at Rundu was reconnected on Friday after the statement was issued.

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