Water crisis hits Oshikoto hard

31 January 2018 | Disasters

The Oshikoto Region, which is dependent on NamWater's Oshakati water purification plant, has been hit hard by the current water crisis in the northern Namibia.

The most seriously affected areas are the remote villages of Omuthiya, Omuntele, Eengodi and Okankolo.

The water crisis started in December last year when the national water utility announced that the northern regions should brace for a tough six weeks due to rehabilitation work at Angola's Calueque Dam.

According to the Omuntele constituency councillor, Sacky Nangula, residents of Omuntele, Onamutenya, Onanke, Oniihadhila and the entire grazing area experience dry taps from time to time.

“Residents in these areas are now walking long distances to get potable water from areas where there is a better flow. Those who cannot travel those longer distances have resorted to wells for drinking and household water,” Nangula said.

To remedy the situation, the regional council together with the Rural Water Supply Office at Onankali made available 10 000-litre tank truck that supplies water to different communities, but still it's not enough.

The tank truck supplies water to about 60 villages. On average water can only be delivered to two points every day, as the villages are far from Onankali were the tank is filled.

Some places are inaccessible by road and the bigger villages are unable to sustain all their residents with the volume of water supplied.

Some residents say they have never received water from the truck.

The water pressure in the rural water-supply network serving the Eengodi and Okankolo constituencies is reported to be low.

The supply line stretches from Ondangwa to Iindangungu to Oshigambo, then Oshigambo to Onambutu, to Epembe and also includes Onambutu to Ondobe.

Omuthiya and the area between Omuthiya and Ondangwa get water from NamWater's South Feeder pump. Omuthiya town council spokesperson David Israel told Ewi lyaNooli that Omuthiya was experiencing a serious water problem.

“Houses on the high land stay without water throughout the day and only during night they get water, but on a slow flow. Those on low land do have water throughout, but on a slow flow,” Israel said.

The extensive weed growth and silt accumulation at the base of the Calueque-Oshakati canal is another factor affecting the performance of the supply system.

In a letter dated 22 December and addressed to minister of agriculture, water and forestry John Mutorwa, NamWater CEO Vaino Shivute confirmed that a contractor had been appointed to fix two pumps at Calueque that had been “leaking heavily.”

Shivute's letter assured the minister that the Calueque scheme, which is the main source of water to north-central Namibia, was “currently vulnerable, but not under critical threat”.

ILENI NANDJATO

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