New water restrictions in full force

Water restrictions as set out in the CoW's Category D for a severe water shortage, have to be adhered to as from 1 July.

30 June 2019 | Disasters

Windhoek • Elvira Hattingh

Residents of Windhoek are reminded that starting tomorrow, 1 July, various water restrictions come into effect.

This entails that lawns and landscaping are henceforth to be watered with semi-purified water only; no sprayers may be used for irrigation; and car washing at home is no longer permitted.

This follows after the City of Windhoek (CoW) announced on 1 May this year that Windhoek is facing a severe water scarcity and thus has moved to Category D of their water management plan. This points to a severe water scarcity, compared to a Category C situation which indicates only a water shortage.

A drought tariff was introduced for domestic water users, stipula­ting no household may use more than 25 m³ or 25 000 litres per month. The ­municipality will also no longer give any rebates for water leaks and requires that consumers record their water use on a daily or weekly basis. This is to help isolate and fix leaks promptly.

Residents are also encouraged to close the water main supply when not in use, and advise that public gardens and sport fields may only be watered with semi-purified water.

Other restrictions that are in force from 1 July, include that certified commercial car washes may only use 30 litres of water per vehicle, while residential swimming pools need to be covered and cannot be refilled ­using potable water.

Water saving measures are in place for public pools and all fountains or water features are prohibited.

Furthermore, trees, shrubs and peren­nial plants may be watered by hand once a week only, while ­flowers, vegetable and community gardens may be watered by hand twice a week. During the winter months, no watering is allowed between 09:00 and 19:00.

Impermeable and paved surfaces may not be cleaned using water, while laundry restrictions and water saving programmes are in place for the hospitality industry. Barber shops and hair salons are also required to save water, while semi-purified water will have to be used optimally on construction sites. The commercial re-use of water is also encouraged.

Category D

During a Category D situation, it is mandatory for the city to save at least 15% water. This sets the weekly water consumption target for Windhoek at 465 000 m³ per week.

During the 2018-'19 season, the city was able to achieve an average saving of 9% against a target of 10%, although it was not able to achieve its target for water savings once since January this year.

About 35% of Windhoek's weekly water needs are currently being catered­ for by NamWater, while ­Wingoc (Windhoek Goreangab Operating Company) supplies, through water reclamation, about 26% thereof. The CoW said that about 39% of the city's water needs are covered by the Windhoek aquifer, although this percentage may vary according to demand.

There is only 18% water left in the three dams that supply water to ­central areas in Namibia, including Windhoek, according to Nam­Water's latest dam bulletin released on 24 June.

CoW's external communication officer, Lydia Amutenya, reminded residents earlier this week that law enforcement will apply fines and ­disconnections will be made once the restrictions come into effect.

She also stated that the municipality will engage on dedicated education at schools and public campaigns for saving water. She added that residents may under no circumstances contaminate sewer water, as reclamation is essential during the current drought.

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