Why Are We Wasting Floodwater?

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Berio Mbala It is that time of the year (March) when we are celebrating the country’s independence. Namibia’s Independence came through a long struggle for liberation by the Namibian people organised under SWAPO and supported by the international community. From April 1989, the United Nations Resolution 435 of 1978 was finally implemented, paving the way for elections for the Constituency Assembly. Since Namibia’s independence in 1990, people in the eastern part of Caprivi Region in Kabbe constituency have not enjoyed the country’s independence celebrations, due to floodwater cutting them off completely, compared to other people in other rural areas. They only get a chance of celebrating independence when there is less floodwater flow in the floodplain. The flood is affecting most people from the eastern part of Caprivi Region. This has been a continuous problem for the people in that area. My question to the Government and the top leaders of that region is: what possible solution are they working on to overcome the floods affecting the people in the area in order to avoid the same problem in the future? The reason why I am asking the question is that, it has been 17 years since the long struggle. Our heroes fought for us but up to now nothing has been planned, thought or negotiated to help those people to stay away from the same problem that affects them each year. To my knowledge, Namibia is a semi-arid to arid country with a total population 2.03 (2005 estimate) million and more than 1ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 500ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 inhabitants. The country is confined between two deserts, the Kalahari desert in the east and the Namib desert in the west with an African savannah high plateau in the middle 1ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 to 2ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 579 m. Namibia also has a temperate and subtropical climate characterised by hot and dry conditions with little rainfall in some places. That shows that, half of the people in the country are affected by water shortages. Well, plenty of floodwater is not being harvested and pumped to other places where there is a major problem of shortage of water. It is understandable that the two rivers of Zambezi and Kavango are being shared by more than one country but as long as countries have signed agreements on other basis, why can’t an agreement on harvesting water be signed with neighbouring countries to enable us to pump water from the areas in question to other places? I am also aware that there are international laws governing the rivers shared between Namibia, Angola, Zambia and Botswana but for how long will the Government of Namibia spend money on people in the eastern part of Caprivi region for disaster relief to help people suffering from lack of water? We are celebrating 17 years of independence now, it’s time for the government to cut spending and solve problems. We must move on to develop our country and reach the strategic goal of 2030. Eewa!