Water shortages continue to be a major public concern, with many demanding it be placed at the top of the list of priorities of the Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5), says the National Planning Commission (NPC).
NPC spokesman Fillemon Nangonya revealed this during an interview with New Era at the NPC stand at the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair that ended last weekend.
He said water shortages remain a concern, not only for key industries, but increasingly also for human consumption, as a number of water reservoirs around the country are running dry due to the prevailing drought.
“This has, therefore, affected a number of our citizens, whose livelihood depends on agriculture. As a result, thousands of people are now left with less food for consumption and if water shortage is not addressed the situation will deteriorate,” Nangonya said.
The NPC spokesperson said while 85 percent of Namibians are reported to have access to potable water, Namibians still view water shortages as a major concern.
According to the 2011 Census report, only 15 percent of the population does not have access to potable water.
NDP5 seeks to ensure that 100 percent of the population has access to clean water.
Communities also proposed to NPC planners that government invest in a mass water desalination plant to secure adequate water supply for all regions. They suggest government construct dams for water harvesting in each constituency to supply people with water and drill boreholes in grazing areas in the regions, as well as construct an extension canal in the north.
Furthermore, respondents noted that underground water has become scarcer, as some of the boreholes that were drilled recently have already dried up, leaving villagers and their animals in a desperate situation.
It was suggested that government start preparing for major projects, such as constructing pipelines from the Zambezi or Kavango regions, as these areas have perennial rivers that could potentially provide all Namibians with water.
They further urged government to supply communities with water tanks to enable them to access clean water, while drilling boreholes in rural areas for agricultural and irrigation so as to increase food production at local level. The boreholes would also benefit livestock and other animals, it was noted.