Karasburg taps run dry

The Karasburg Town Council on Tuesday issued a water rationing warning following an ongoing water shortage at the town.

The water rationing introduced on Tuesday is necessary due to the critically low levels of the water reservoirs and underground water sources, said Karasburg acting chief executive Lorraine Jossop.

“There is no rain in this place, and the water levels in the dams have dropped. We are almost below 60% dam levels,” she said.

The council is waiting for a contractor to connect the water treatment plant, which will improve the situation, added Jossop.

With the schools going on a midterm break, Jossop said she is hopeful the situation will improve.

According to the notice, taps in Westerkim and Lordville will be closed from 10h00 to 13h00 daily. For the central business areas, taps will be closed from 13h00 to 16h00, and for the entire town, taps will be closed from 22h00 to 05h30.

This is to reduce demand as the Namibia Water Corporation (NamWater) might not be able to keep up with the water supply in the town.

During this period, Jossop has asked that residents use water sparingly, especially when watering gardens and washing vehicles.

NamWater’s acting chief operations officer Andries Kok confirmed that the Bondels and Dreihuk dams, which feed the town, are currently empty as there has been no inflow this year.

According to him, the Bondels Dam runs dry every year, but the boreholes are inside the dam basin.

“For that reason, even if there is no water in the dam, the boreholes are still operating. But the more water, the better. We do not use the surface water but the groundwater, which comes from the dam. The Dreihuk Dam is in the same situation, but this dam can keep water for a longer period,” he said.

He added that downstream of the Dreihuk Dam, is the borehole where NamWater extracts water from.
The borehole is fed by the dam.

Kok further said the sustainable yield of the boreholes decreases if there is a longer dry spell.

NamWater, according to Kok, holds regular engagements with the Karasburg Town Council for updates on the water situation.

“We know that the water situation is not good at the moment. We have already started to engage them even before the Dreihuk Dam became empty. We indicated to them that we foresee a problem and that we have to strictly look at the water demand within the town. We also explained to them that the sustainable yield of the boreholes will slowly decrease. The ability of NamWater to supply will also decrease,” he said.

Kok added that for several years now, NamWater has been working on a contingency plan, including drilling six boreholes southwest of Karasburg.

The company is now busy with the design and plans to connect them to the system to assist Karasburg with water supply.

This is expected to be completed in the next 18 months.
Kok said pumping water from the Orange River is not currently being considered as it is a very costly exercise which is capital and energy-intensive.

Even if the government or donors come on board, Kok said the operational cost will be very high.

“In order to operate that system, it would most probably be very expensive. And we need to supply affordable water to the customers because we work on a cost recovery basis as per the NamWater Act,” he said.

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