Khorixas – Epupa Constituency Councillor Nguzu Muharukua has called on traditional leaders to appeal to government to fund a project to draw water from the Kunene River into the constituency.
Muharukua says he will convene a meeting that will be attended by officials from various government ministries, NGOs and traditional leaders, so that the funding request can be made.
The councillor of Epupa Constituency, which has around 88 000 inhabitants, says many livestock, such as goats and cattle, have died from the ravages of the drought that has also caused many springs to dry up.
He said the constituency has 21 boreholes, many of which contain water deemed unfit for human consumption, hence the urgent need to draw water from the Kunene River 80 km away.
“The drought is very, very serious. We only have 21 boreholes at Okongwati, some with very little water, while others have water that is unfit for human consumption,” he told New Era.
When asked about the exact number of livestock that succumbed to the drought, the constituency councillor said: “Farmers here don’t keep records, but a lot of them have died.”
He says once water is pumped over the hilly terrain from the Kunene River it could also be used to irrigate crops and boost food production. He also expressed concern over budgetary cuts by government, saying this has impacted negatively on numerous development projects.
Some areas in his constituency received rain, but other areas were still in the throes of the drought.
“Farmers in some areas will hardly survive due to the lack of rain. Their livelihood is at stake and, mind you, these farmers only survive from livestock and small-crop farming,” he said.
Areas southeast and northeast of Okongo are said to have received some decent rains. This year the cultivation of crops is also late due to the lack of rain last year and farmers will likely not harvest enough maize and pumpkin to meet household subsistence needs.
Muharukua also wants to approach the Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to help clean some of the springs, whose water is contaminated and dirty.
Farmers were also advised to plant crops on small scale, as well as do crop rotation, especially those residing near the springs.
“We have a lots of boreholes that we drilled a few years ago that have dried up,” Muharukua lamented.
Muharukua said he is concerned that drought aid food is being distributed without any tinned fish and meat. “Beneficiaries are given one bag of maizemeal and it’s rare for them to get canned fish or meat,” observed.