Northern water woes persist

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Ongwediva

The persistent water shortages experienced in some parts of the north are attributed to an increase in demand and the problem is exacerbated by the lingering drought.

The national water utility, NamWater, says parts of Oshana, Ohangwena and Oshikoto experienced unprecedented water shortages since August. The water shortage follows a power failure that affected the pumps at Calueque Dam in Angola, where the water is pumped from.

“Areas at the end-points are the worst affected ones. The impact on these schemes is caused by the increased water demand under the drought conditions, where people consume more water than is normal,” said NamWater’s head of marketing and corporate communications, Johannes Shigwedha.

According to Shigwedha, areas supplied by Ondangwa Reservoir are currently running low due to an increased water demand on the line that branches off to Omuntele, Okankolo and the off-take at Onembenge pumping schemes. As a result, Omuthiya is unable to pick up the required water levels in its water reservoir, resulting in reduced supply.

The same challenge is said to be experienced in Ohangwena. Shigwedha says there is high demand in the water supply line from Oshakati to the areas of Omafa and Eenhana and as a result Eenhana is also receiving reduced supply.

The same is said to be experienced by people receiving water from the Onambutu pipeline. Paulo Shilongo, the public relations officer at Eenhana where water woes are reported to have worsened in recent weeks, said the majority of residents now depend on outside taps for water.

According to Shilongo, the taps inside the houses have run dry since the water problems were announced in August.
Meanwhile, the water utility has mobilised resources to increase water transfers to the affected areas. NamWater engineers have been on site to increase water supply to Okatope, Omuthiya, Omafo, Eenhana and all other tributary pipelines.

Shigwedha added that additional equipment is also being installed at the water source point at Calueque Dam to increase the channelling of water to the affected areas.

He added that the situation is expected to return to normal by the end of next week once all the necessary equipment is installed.

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