With a serious water scarcity in Otamazi Constituency in Omusati Region, residents have decided to deepen the old earth dam at their village so that they are able to harvest water during the rainy season, starting from next year.
The voluntary work is spearheaded by Ongandjera King Johannes Muyipa, who was overwhelmed by the high turnout of people from eight nearby villages.
They got up as early as 5am to deepen the earth dam so that they can harvest water as from next year’s rainy season.
Mupiya says Otamanzi is a drought-stricken area and many earth dams and traditional wells have already dried up as a result of the recurrent dry spell.
Animals such as livestock now have to trek long distances in search of water and the situation is worsened by a critical shortage of water in the area.
The water scarcity has brought people together to rehabilitate the existing earth dam, which has not been deepened since 1963.
“The purpose of this activity is to meet government half way to create a reservoir to store water for both people and animals. We started with earthwork but every household is expected to contribute 100 dollars to hire a tractor to excavate the earth dam,” explained the Ongandjera king.
Otamanzi Constituency Councillor Johannes Iiyambo says most wells and earth dams that were dug by community members have dried up, while others have saline water that is not fit for human consumption.
People with tap water go up to seven days without water due to insufficient water pressure.
He furthers says taps in the community are not enough to cater for large numbers of people who are currently without any reliable source of water.
The underground aquifer, which is not charging, remains a problem countrywide.
“We don’t want to sit idle and wait for government to do everything for us because we know that the acute water shortage in the country is attributed to climate change effects,” said the Otamanzi councillor.
Former agriculture, water and forestry deputy minister Peter Iilonga was one of the residents that joined the group, saying water scarcity is giving them a tough time and they do not want to experience the same problem next year.
“I was born here and my cattle drink here. Therefore, this is the good opportunity that we will use to see us harvest water next year,” said Ilonga.
Some members of the community that New Era spoke to said that with the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) everything is possible.
“We are doing this in order to meet the government half way,” said Martha Iikela, the headwoman of Uukwandongo B.
She says harvesting water at their village will make life easier because they will no longer have to travel long distances in search of water.