Water woes in the Zambezi Region may soon be a thing of the past, as its water infrastructure is well suited to ensure residents have safe and potable drinking water by 2019.
Most of the region’s capital projects were completed on time during the last financial year. This was revealed by Zambezi Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu in his State of the Region Address, which is intended to provide information about developmental projects in his region during the previous financial year.
Capital projects under the Directorate of Water Supply and Sanitation Coordination in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry have been completed on time and residents are reaping the rewards.
“It is imperative to provide potable water to our rural communities. It is envisaged that by 2019 the residents of Zambezi Region will have potable water. Those living along the rivers and flood-prone areas will continue receiving boreholes and purification tablets to protect them from diseases, such as bilharzia and diarrhea,” the governor stated.
Over the years, residents of Katima Mulilo and other localities in the Zambezi Region have often been without tap water for days on end and many were forced as a result to walk to the Zambezi River to fetch water for household use.
The task of drawing water is not only tiring, but also exposes residents to crocodile attacks and water-borne diseases, such as diarrhea and cholera. The recent water crisis was not confined to Katima Mulilo, but affected the entire region. Scores of residents of Katima Mulilo flocked to the Zambezi River to draw water during the crisis that was exacerbated by the scorching summer heat that engulfed the region following the sudden vanishing of the rain.
The problem was attributed to a water pump that was not properly aligned following routine maintenance by Namwater.
Sampofu detailed the number of completed capital projects, such as Phase 2 of the Katima-Ngoma pipeline, which was commissioned last October, and noted that the intended beneficiaries have already signed contracts with NamWater to draw piped water. The project was completed at a cost of N$35.9 million.
Another major project he mentioned is the Katima-Kongola pipeline Phase 2, where pipelines are to be laid as planned at a cost of worth N$48.3 million.
Borehole water-point installations have also been completed for 10 boreholes that were drilled by Onduli Drilling, which was awarded the N$2.5 million tender.
Sampofu noted that a further seven boreholes were rehabilitated at a cost of N$2.9 million, while construction (costing N$3.4 million) and the handover of sanitation facilities has also been completed. About 392 baseline surveys have also been conducted in the region.
The governor said the Katima-Linyanti pipeline extension, measuring 12 km from Kapani to Maunga, has been completed and the construction of nine pump-houses at a cost of N$876 989, as well as an earth dam worth N$1.5 million were completed.
The only capital projects not yet completed, as per schedule, include the rehabilitation of 19 water-points and cleaning of 14 boreholes. Work, he says, that is still ongoing.
Sampofu said currently there is a water pipeline under construction from Katima Mulilo to Ngoma and the areas of Bukalo-Kabbe-Lusese-Ikumwe, as well as Bukalo-Muyako-Ibbu-Ngoma and Kongola-Sachona-Masida-Makanga to connect to the recently completed Katima-Sibbinda pipeline that connects Kongola and Choi-Lizauli-Sangwali-Batubaja-Kapani areas.
For the current financial year, the Zambezi Region only envisages to undertake the rehabilitation of four water-points at a cost of N$1.6 million, as well as six pipeline extensions to the tune of N$618 846.
“There will be fewer capital projects to be implemented during the 2016/17 financial year due to budget cuts,” he said, adding that the budgetary cuts present a challenge for the region.