MAWF still busy with aquifer studies

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Nuusita Ashipala

Ongwediva-Extracting water from the Ohangwena aquifer could be delayed as the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) is still investigating the impact of extracting water from the resource for extended periods.

Hydrologist Silvanus Uunona says the ministry is not in a position to confirm when it will finalise the investigation into extracting water from the aquifer, but it is likely to take more time.

As a result water can only be extracted for use under the supervision of the MAWF. Uunona said this during the briefing at a planning meeting organised recently by the Ohangwena Regional Council.

The meeting aimed to facilitate the prompt planning of activities in the region and to avoid ambiguous planning from both the line ministry and the regional council.

The underground water source discovered in Ohangwena Region covers a distance of 100 kilometers from Ondobe to Okongo with a capacity of a 20 billion cubic metres. It is estimated that once it is tapped the aquifer would be able to supply the northern regions with water for at least 400 years.

Uunona said currently only minimal amounts of water have been extracted for usage at Eenhana town, however, they are not yet able to understand what would be the full impact on the aquifer.

“The water extracted from the aquifer now is not of a quantity that one can understand the aquifer behaviour. You need to pump excessive amounts of water from the aquifer to understand its behaviour, hence every data collected is used for investigation,” said Uunona.

Meanwhile, the ministry has put up a monitoring network comprised of 13 telemetric devices to monitor the aquifer system.

In addition, the ministry has further undertaken to train its staff operating the network system to ensure efficient collection of data.

“The construction of a well field at Eenhana and the long-term observation of the aquifer under production conditions have finally started and the first borehole was constructed,” Uunona said.

In order to create awareness and training materials, the ‘H2O water comic’ and a supporting animation film was developed in cooperation with a local artist.

In addition to the film, a documentary called ‘Omeva’, which means ‘water’, was launched by Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Anna Shiweda.

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