Ovitoto looks to Von Bach for relief

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Ovitoto looks to Von Bach for relief

The Ovitoto settlement in the Omatako constituency continues to face acute water disruptions in most villages – and in recent years, the situation has been worsened by the country’s perennial droughts and depleting underground water reservoirs. 

Despite the good rains witnessed in most parts of the country since late last year, communal farmers and businesses in Ovitoto, especially in villages, such as Ondamekondo, Satan, Okasuvandjiuo and Otjiserandu, are still struggling with extreme water shortages. 

Sharing the settlement’s dilemma with New Era, Omatako councillor Israel Hukura said the recurrent severe droughts of the past almost seven years negatively tempared with the levels of underground water reservoirs in the area, as most farmers there depend on earth dams and rivers for their farming activities. 

“The water situation in most villages here remains quite bad, especially for our farmers and small businesses. The droughts of the past years compromised the levels of our underground water, as most historic earth dams and large rivers never fully recovered. Even with the recent good rains in most parts of the country, we still face water problems. Government efforts to drill extra boreholes at various villages have yielded little results, as the reservoirs of most of those boreholes either have limited lifespans or were compromised by the droughts,” said Hukura. 

As an alternative, the councillor said they have been working closely with government looking at alternatives of supplying most of the hard-hit villages with water from the Von Bach dam through pipelines.

The Von Bach Dam is located about 60 kilometres north of Windhoek and approximately 5km southeast of Okahandja. 

Hukura is convinced Ovitoto is perfectly located between the two towns and, therefore, makes it easier to connect it to the dam. 

With a capacity of about 49 million m³ and being the main water supply for Windhoek, Hukura said the dam has enough capacity to take Ovitoto under its wings as an additional supply route. 

“We have already submitted our water plan to the relevant central government offices, and the regional leadership is also fully in support of the idea. It is an important and costly project; that’s why it will be built in about three phases, but I’m happy to report that government is fully on board with the idea – and the only thing pending is to work out the funding modalities.”

“In a year of good rain showers, that dam will have more than enough capacity to fully supply Windhoek and Ovitoto altogether. We should also look at it from a food security standpoint, because once we connect these villages to the pipelines for adequate water supply; our local farmers’ yearly output will double – and that will directly mean sufficient food supply to the schools, hostels and the vulnerable within our communities. This is a vital project that will have so many spill-over effects for all,” added Hukura. 

– ohembapu@nepc.com.na