North grapples with water scarcity

by Nuusita Ashipala

Ongwediva

Governors in two northern regions have expressed concern over the drought and water scarcity following erratic rainfall over the past few years.

While the central government has put in place measures to mitigate the drought by assisting drought-stricken communities, many rural communities are struggling to secure food and water.



During their state of the region addresses delivered in June the governors of Oshikoto and Oshana revealed some of the projects in place to fight poverty.

Henock Kankoshi of the Oshikoto Region listed the drought and its devastating consequences as major challenges. His plea was for the region to propose to government possible solutions to assist the poor rural community.

In the quest to fight water scarcity, Oshikoto has during the 2015/16 financial installed 16 boreholes, 41 water pipelines, rehabilitated 11 water pipelines, while several other water measures are also expected.

“These and other challenges are mammoth. However, they are not in themselves insurmountable but we are geared towards taking immediate steps to arrest them head-on, and find amicable solutions so that our country and its people achieve prosperity and economic independence as per the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP),” stated Kankoshi.

Governor of the Oshana Region, Clemens Kashuupulwa, said money was assigned to excavate earth dams.
“Regional councils are tasked with identifying priority areas,” further explained Kashuupulwa.
Many rural communities are forced to drink salty water from self-drilled boreholes or travel long distances to acquire water of better quality.

Livestock in areas such as Otamanzi Constituency of Omusati Region, Nehale lya Mpingana, Eengodi and Okankolo of Oshikoto Region walk up to 20 km to get water, while donkeys and donkey carts are used as a mode of transport to secure water.

In the meantime, technicians are at Uuvudhiya, Ompundja and Okatyali in Oshana Region to establish how water can be provided.
While the drought continues, government has extended the drought relief programme to July this year.

The extension will cost N$89 million from the National Emergency Disaster Fund in the Office of the Prime Minister. The 2015/16 drought programme had initially ended in March.

More than 500 000 Namibians have stretched their food supplies to the limit and rely entirely on government’s drought relief programme.

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