The Department of Rural Water Supply will only act on the plight of Tsintsabis residents in Oshikoto Region who want clean, hygienic water once the Ministry of Land Reform that resettled the residents has submitted a request for the provision of water at Tsintsabis.
Tsintsabis residents recently complained that they have to rely on 20 boreholes that produce salt and reddish water, which is not suitable for human and animal consumption.
Furthermore, they claimed they have to walk at least 500 metres to reach the boreholes.
In this regard residents said the Department of Rural Water Supply had been informed about their plight but they were yet to receive a positive response.
“We are not mandated to fix the residents’ issue of boreholes because it’s not within our jurisdiction. The only way we can intervene in the situation is when the line ministry of lands has formally communicated with our ministry requesting assistance in that regard. Once that is in place we can assist, either by fitting new pipes or drilling further to avoid the reddish colour and reach clean water,” said Stevenson Tuukondjele, from Regional Rural Water Supply.
“Once the lands ministry has requested us, they will need to reimburse us for the job done or in case there were any consultants. The ministry has a budget for such activities as opposed to us, as such areas are not within our jurisdiction. We don’t have any funds reserved for that,” said Tuukondjele, adding that once that has been followed they will be willing to act.
He reiterated that the current situation is becoming worse, saying that with the drought there was not sufficient rainfall to raise the underground water level, so the result is that the water has turned reddish.
“Most of the boreholes are not drilled deep enough, and as a result water has subsided meaning this drying up has become a concern as it changes the colour of water. You find that most of the boreholes in the area are drilled below 200 metres. So to solve this we have to drill more than 200 metres, even though the colour might not change, but what is important is the quality of water if it is to be fit for human consumption,” he said.
With regard to walking 500 metres for water, Tuukondjele said residents should be thankful because according to the Water Sanitation Policy under the Community-Based Water Management Policy, on average boreholes should be spaced at least 2.5km apart.
“They should be thankful, unlike those in the area of Olukupa who have to walk seven kilometres to the nearest borehole,” said Tuukondjele, further advising them to use water sparingly as the situation will be dreadful in the coming months of August to October.
Meanwhile Chrispin Matongela, the spokesman of the Ministry of Land Reform, said the ministry was not aware of the concerns raised by Tsintsabis residents.