OTATASHE - Residents of Otatashe village in the Oshikoto region have been without water for the past four months.
Otatashe is situated 58km east of Omuthiya, and was an area designated for cattle posts.
However, due to a lack of grazing elsewhere, the majority of people flocked to this place and settled there with their livestock.
The village falls under Eengodi, a remote constituency with vast challenges such as a lack of water, roads, and telecommunication network and electricity infrastructure.
Expressing distress was Samuel Kamati, Otatashe village headman, who said the situation is tense.
Villagers struggling with sufficient water for more than four months is a worrisome matter, especially for people on medication.
The headman thus pleads with the rural water supply directorate to come to the aid of the thirsty community.
“When I came to this village in 2004, I noticed that there is a water pipeline connected to the villages
in an effort to supply them with water. However, some selfish individuals do not want to share water equally. They instead fill up all their tanks first. This water has low pressure, and the moment a homestead fills its eight tanks, for example, the next person can only expect water the next day,” lamented Kamati.
He emphasised that water is life and without water, humans and livestock will die.
Efforts were, nonetheless, made by the directorate to supply the area with water by tankers.
However, it cannot be done daily to meet the demand due to long distances and poor road conditions.
Despite the water crisis, there are a lot of human challenges in Otatashe such as a lack of health facilities, no drought relief food, and disunity among the community.
“Oshikoto is a big region by its width and does not have consumable underground water. The consumable underground water is only from Oshivelo to Tsumeb, but in the central and western parts of the region, there is no water. This is why the government has come up with pipes to channel water to the community,” stated the head of rural water supply and sanitation in Oshikoto, Stevenson Tuukondjele.
Government drilled close to 70 boreholes, but less than 20 were found suitable for safe water.
The situation, he said, is exacerbated by migration to Oshikoto, which is deemed to have better grazing land.
“The pipeline at Otatashe was installed in 2004 and completed in 2006. At that time, the population growth was not as it is today, and the water was thus reaching the communities,” he added.
“There is a pipeline from Ogongo passing through Oshakati and Ondangwa diverted to Omafo and Eenhana, then to Omuthiya up until Oshivelo. This is where we developed projects from, projects such as Ambende-Omuthiya, Ondangwa-Omuntele, Onayena-Okankolo, Onayena-Oshigambo and then Ondangwa-Omutsegonime, which is in many phases. All these projects are meant to solve water problems for the community.”
Tuukondjele further broke it down that these facilities have reached the end of their lifespan, hence cannot be stretched to pump water faster as it results in pipes bursting. On the brighter side, he said there are plans to drill six boreholes, and thereafter set up a purification plant at Akonde with reservoirs.
Despite the plans on the table, the biggest challenge is the growing population in Omuthiya.
The official blamed the political decision-makers who do not see to it that all resources are in place before proclaiming a village into a town. He believes there was supposed to be a reservoir built in Omuthiya to cater for the residents, which is not the case.
“The population in town has increased, and is now causing a water crisis in the rural community as they have to share water with the township. The affected people are blaming us in offices and not those who made the wrong decisions,” Tuukondjele added.
He also castigated the community for not reporting pipe bursts on time, and instead hunting birds at those waterlogged points.