Windhoek-The drilling of boreholes in most of the northern regions is seen as a sheer waste of time and resources. This due to the fact that much of the underground water is tainted with high levels of alkalinity.
This finding is contained in the report compiled in July this year by a standing committee on habitat on the progress made on rural water supply and land servicing to Oshikoto, Oshana, Ohangwena, Omusati, Kunene, Kavango East, Kavango West, Zambezi, Otjozondjupa, Omaheke, Hardap and Karas regions.
The report was adopted by the committee this week in the National Council. The committee chairperson is Cletus Sipapela deputised by Betty Kaula, while Lukas Muha, SIoman Dukeleni, Weich Mupya and Laina Mekundi are committee members.
The committee found that the chalky substance (salinity) was of dire concern particularly in the east of Ohangwena, Oshikoto, a greater part of the Omusati, Oshana, some parts of the Kunene “saline block” of the Karas Region and the Muyako settlement in the Zambezi.
Boreholes are the main source of water in many parts of Namibia, especially in remote areas where potable water is almost non-existent.
This practice of drilling boreholes was found to be more common in the west of Ohangwena, Kunene, Kavango East and Kavango West, some parts of Omusati Otjozondjupa, Hardap and Karas regions.
The committee stated the level of potable water coverage was, however, on the increase in the Zambezi where NamWater pipelines supplied water to parts of the region.
“This meant that many people along the Katima/Kongola pipeline and Katima/Ngoma pipelines had access to potable water.”
In the Zambezi Region, the committee reported that there was a single case of a borehole with saline water at Muyako. The Muyako borehole had been supplying saline water to more than 3,000 people for a very long time.
Nonetheless, it was deduced that many of the boreholes in Kavango West, Kavango East and the Zambezi regions produced water that was suitable for both animal and human consumption.
But the committee said that the high alkaline levels rendered much of the water in many parts of the northern regions undrinkable.
The high levels, they say, represented a dark spot in all water provision efforts through boreholes in regions such as the Omaheke, Ohangwena, Oshana, Omusati, Kunene, a small part of the Zambezi and some parts of Karas.
Meanwhile, in the Oshikoto Region, cases of undrinkable water were very common in areas such as Nahale ya Mpingana and Enkodi, while similar cases were common in Oshikunde, Omundongilo and Epembe in the Ohangwena Region.
Equally, undrinkable underground water due to salinity levels was quite common in the “saline block”, an area known as the “salt block” in the Karas Region.
“Lack of potable water saw residents resort to traditional wells and drinking water with this chalky substance, which was a result of high pH levels in the underground soil. Many people in the regions still chose to consume water imbedded with a substance that was likely to cause health issues in the long run.”
Therefore, though the boreholes were the cheapest methods of providing water to communities, geo-scientific analysis in the regions such as the Oshana concluded that underground water in much of the regions was saline, and therefore, not best for consumption for both animals and humans.
The committee indicated that despite the alkalinity issues, the regions still encountered other challenges such as a “sabotaging mentality” and “budget cuts”.