Project to manage Keetmanshoop water leakages described as light at the end of a dark tunnel

Project to manage Keetmanshoop water leakages described as light at the end of a dark tunnel
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Frequent pipe bursts, especially during changes of season, and subsequent water losses have had a negative impact on the Keetmanshoop Municipality’s financial situation.
This was said by Keetmanshoop Mayor Gaudentia Kröhne on Tuesday during the signing of an agreement for a Fasep grant to finance a project that will provide a 20 year master plan on how the municipality can manage water leakages and avoid water losses.
The plan, funded by the French private sector study and assistance fund, will also look at how the Naute-Keetmanshoop pipeline can be rehabilitated to ensure sustainable, optimal performance.
The mayor said the grant of N$12 million was availed by France’s Ministry of Finance.
“The municipality has to pay close to N$700 000 every month to NamWater for water that flowed because of a pipe burst. Most of the time, this happens during the night,” Kröhne said.
She noted that the municipality, like all other local authorities in Namibia, is mandated to provide affordable, reliable basic services to its inhabitants. This is, however, hampered by an aging water network and infrastructure.
“It not only has a negative financial impact but also causes negative public perception and even more important is the fact that funds that could have been for servicing land and providing affordable housing, are used to keep the network functional,” she said.
Kröhne said people from surrounding farming communities have put additional pressure on the system as they come to Keetmanshoop looking for better jobs, housing and service delivery.
“The project is a light at the end of a very dark tunnel,” the mayor stated.
The project will run for 18 months and was awarded to French firm Altereo, which specialises in water and environmental engineering.
Altereo Chief Executive Officer Christian Laplaud said water scarcity is a major challenge for Namibia and it is expected to get more severe in the future given the increasing needs and changing climate.
“This is why it is imperative that we better manage existing resources. We need to understand that the water lost to leakage and other unidentified losses account for a valuable, but overlooked, water source,” he said.
Laplaud said the project, amongst others, expects to set up an asset management service to ensure an efficiently performing system.
“Our system will not only take into account large-scale infrastructure and mains, but also service connections, which are responsible for a large percentage of municipal water losses,” he added.