By Anna Ingwafa
The Governor of the Oshikoto Region Penda ya Ndakolo handed over six water points in the region yesterday.
The handover was made to the Water Point Association of Omutsegwondjamba, Omufituwekuta, Limbandungila, IIkunino, Kole and Ndatu.
The water points currently being used by the relevant communities were rehabilitated as was agreed upon by the Government and the user communities.
Speaking at the occasion, Ya Ndakolo said that the handover is an objective of the Government to give the rural communities more decision-making power and responsibility in the management of their water points.
“The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry is committed to carry through this programme successfully.
“Water supply infrastructure were handed over in good working condition, initially on a leasehold basis and now for ownership,” he said.
For now, the beneficiaries will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the water points but after these schemes are handed over for full ownership, the communities will be responsible for the operation, maintenance, repairs and replacement of the equipment.
“I believe this is a viable option to ensure sustainable development of the sector, that is, by development through partnership between Government and the user communities,” explained Ya Ndakolo.
He said that Water and Water and Sanitation Policy was adopted by Cabinet in September 1993 aimed at making the water supply in Namibia sustainable through the involvement of stakeholders as equal partners in the development and management process of water supply infrastructure.
He made a call for diversification of economic activities such as game farming and others in order to generate additional income to ensure the successful management of the water points, at the same time alleviating poverty in general.
Ya Ndakolo added that water is life and development cannot happen without it.
“In the Oshikoto Region, the regional water committee has endorsed the provision of water for development projects and we will continue requesting the Government to approve the decision to allow development to take place where water is readily available.”
He believed that the water point association of Omutsegwondjamba, Omufituwekuta, Limbandungila, Iikunino, Kole and Ndatu are empowered to take over the responsibility for operation and maintenance and have their constitutions in place and the water point committees capable to manage and take care of their water points.
” I have learned that most of the water point associations have established a sufficient number of banking accounts with different financial institutions and collected sufficient funds which you will be using as your starting capital to manage your water supply infrastructure as from today.
“The Rural Water Supply Regional Office when requested will provide technical advice on management and operation, maintenance and repairs of water points,” Ya Ndakolo said.
He expressed his gratitude to the communities for the collection of monies and payment for consumption, saying that it shows their commitment to become self-sustaining in terms of the operation, maintenance and replacement activities.
He further urged the beneficiaries of water points to be the guardians of the facilities against any abuse and vandalism.
“It is expected from you that you take care and preserve these facilities for your own benefit as well as for the benefit of generations to come,” he said.
The beneficiaries signed the agreement to carry out the operation, maintenance and replacement on the given water points.
Moreover this came as a relief since water shortages for people and livestock are being experienced not only in Oshikoto, but Ohangwena, Oshana and Omusati are still struggling due to lack of rain in the region as well.