THE Kamanjab Village Council is owed N$5 million by residents, acting village secretary Jacobus Namaseb has revealed.
Namaseb told The Namibian yesterday that the majority of those defaulting on council payments are pensioners, while many people who are deceased also left huge bills unsettled.
The debt from those who are deceased has been accumulating every year, with N$300 000 written off as bad debt by the council, with the approval of the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, in 2017.
Namaseb said this year, the village council has approached the ministry again to write off N$500 000 from the N$5 million owed by residents as non-recoverable debt.
"Businesses and government ministries are good customers as they pay on time, and do not owe us anything. The problem is with the residents," he said.
The council has thus resorted to disconnecting water supplies if an unpaid bill reaches N$3 000. Namaseb said NamWater is currently drilling five boreholes to supply water to residents.
An earlier independent investigation by engineers and the line ministry revealed that 84 000 cubic metres of water are wasted at Kamanjab each year, and this translates to a monthly loss of about N$900 000.
The investigation furthermore showed that about N$41 million is needed to replace ageing water infrastructure.
Due to financial constraints, the council is, however, unable to acquire new pipes and fittings for maintenance in the problematic areas.
Namaseb thus urged residents to use water sparingly, as the levels in the village council's storage systems are critically low. He also appealed to residents to report leakages on time.
"There will be no possibility of Kamanjab going without water. However, we do not know if rains will come before October," he added. The north-western village has about 6 000 people.