Olushandja could provide solar power

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Outapi

Omusati Regional Governor Erginus Endjala has revealed that Olushandja Dam near Oshakati may soon provide solar energy to Epalela and the surrounding areas.

At a meeting held at the Omusati Regional Council on Monday to discuss alternative solutions to the controversial proposal to close of the Caluque-Oshakati Canal, the governor said a local company has established that Olushandja Dam is capable of supplying up to 30 kW of solar power.

The dam, which was constructed in 1990, has the capacity to store 42.3 million cubic metres of water and has a surface area of 29 square kilometres when full. It is located 120 km northwest of Oshakati.

Endjala said the dam would be covered with floating solar panels to provide energy. The panels would also ensure that water stored in the dam is purified, a concern NamWater raised in previous meetings, where the company mentioned that more than half the water stored at the dam evaporates and is not utilised.

NamWater proposed covering up the canal and replacing it with underground pipes, claiming the company spends about N$6 million a year on maintenance.

At the Monday meeting, which was attended by local and regional authority representatives and traditional authorities, it was resolved that the canal be rehabilitated without making further adjustments. The regional leadership was called to discuss a number of suggestions on the future of the canal put forward by the custodians of the canal.

Put to the meeting was a proposal to have the Olushandja Dam rehabilitated and have an underground pipeline installed from Olushandja to transport water to Oshakati. The regional leadership was also instructed to look into rehabilitating the canal from Caluque to Ogongo.

The community arrived at the solution, fearing that once the canal is covered or replaced by underground pipes there would not be sufficient water to sustain local residents and their livestock. “Where would the water come from if the water will run under the canal?” asked the attendees.

The meeting advised NamWater to divert the funds earmarked for underground pipes to rehabilitate the Olushandja Dam instead.

The canal, which is approximately 150 km long, supplies northern Namibia with water from the Cunene River in southern Angola for household and irrigation purposes and serves an estimated population of 80 000 plus.

Water from the canal is generally used for irrigation and livestock, as well as domestic purposes, among others. The meeting this week resolved that suggestions be put forth during the rehabilitation process regarding the future use of the canal.

The governor proposed that the Olushandja Dam be deepened to sustain the Agro-Marketing Trade and Agency (AMTA). Endjala said the failure to deepen the Olushandja and the proposed closure of the canal would put additional strain on AMTA, which depends heavily on water from the Olushandja Dam.

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