OMUTHIYA - Some parts of the northern regions have for the past few months been battling with water scarcity due to a slow water downstream flow.
This is due to excessive damage caused to the Calueque-Oshakati canal, as well as persistent power outages.
This resulted in some communities in remote and on high-ground areas being without water for weeks and even months, especially in Oshikoto region.
The water being pumped from the Cunene River in Angola into the canal could not reach the main pump station in Oshakati, which then supplies the rest of the northern areas as the water deviates through the broken paths. This was shared by the Head of Rural Water Supply in Oshikoto, Stevenson Tuukondjele, in an interview with New Era when responding to concerns raised by some communities whose taps have been dry for more than a month.
“Considering the unforeseen circumstances which preceded, the current situation whereby some places are still not receiving water is normal, even though the situation has been restored and I can confidently say it again. The canal was dry and some parts were extensively damaged, meaning the water that is pumped is moving at a snail’s pace as it is still filling up some ponds through water deviating in broken paths of the canal, hence the longer it is taking to fill up the canal and the main pump station in Oshakati,” explained Tuukondjele.
“The situation was exacerbated by the power outages experienced in Omusati after the issue of the canal had been resolved as the pump could not function to full capacity,” he added.
Thus, he said, some parts of Oshikoto will still experience water scarcity up to two weeks, as other pump stations are still being filled in various towns.
“I would like to urge our people not to panic and be patient as the situation is now under control. The unfortunate which happened was beyond our control and it needed sophisticated interventions to address,” said Tuukondjele who also at the same time dispelled claims that the water was deliberately disconnected at some houses.
Tuukondjele said he will take it upon himself to do a ground check especially in remote areas to assess the situation.
Furthermore, he said, they can only provide emergency water to schools, health centres and other crucial sectors in the time being with water tankers.
“Such sectors can communicate through their councillors or contact our offices and shall be assisted,” assured Tuukondjele, even though he echoed that the tanker for Oshikoto is broken hence relies on that from Ohangwena and NamWater.
“We have a cordial relationship with our stakeholders, however I would like to inform our communities to always make sure that the paths to be used by the truck are wide enough and safe as opposed to the norm where there are small roads not meant for big trucks. This always results in breakdown and tyre punctures,” said Tuukondjele.
He appealed for calm and advised people to use the water sparingly during this difficult period.