Local authorities owe NamWater N$2,1b

Minister of agriculture, water and land reform Calle Schlettwein says various town councils and individuals owe Namibia Water Corporation (NamWater) a total of N$2,1 billion in unpaid water bills.

Schlettwein revealed this on Monday at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Rundu Water Treatment Plant Extension and Associated Works at Rundu.

He also said the Rundu Town Council alone owes NamWater over N$280 million in unpaid water bills.

“It is every council’s responsibility to ensure that the little contribution required by each consumer within the town boundary is collected and contributes to funding continuous water supply operations such as cleaning, infrastructure maintenance and supply,” Schlettwein said.

He said when considering the affordability of water, which is a basic life-giving commodity, one has to distinguish between the ability and the willingness to pay.

“For sure, we have many people that do not have the ability to pay and we commit that every citizen in Namibia will have access to safe water. Nevertheless, it is of paramount importance that water is paid for, otherwise, NamWater will not be able to perform its mandate,” he said.

According to the minister, the operations of NamWater are of the nature that it is not subsidised by the government, which he said means the water utility should have a cost-recovery model in place to continue supplying water.

“For efficiency, it has been decided that town councils, such as Rundu should convert to prepaid bulk water meters.

Installation of prepaid water meters to individual consumers within the town must become a standard norm moving forward. We must make it a culture to honour our water bill commitments as a town council,” the minister said.

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