Some Oshikoto residents have been without water supply for three months, and the dire situation could possibly persist until next month.
Head of rural water supply and sanitation in Oshikoto, Stevenson Tuukondjele said the water shortage was caused by a burst pipe between Ondangwa and Onankali.
“If the main pipe bursts, it always interrupts the flow of electricity to the pump, and the pump will stop pumping water,” he explained.
Tuukondjele said at the moment, the water is moving since the power was restored, but it’s only supplying water to villages that are near the main pipe.
“We are still facing challenges. If the main pipe bursts and electricity goes off again, the entire region will only be able to get water next month”.
He added that the entire region is affected, making schools, offices and clinics health risks.
As a quick emergency measure, NamWater has organised to supply schools and health facilities with water through a tanker truck.
“We only have one tanker truck, which is not enough. We need at least five or more,” Tuukondjele continued.
In a telephonic interview with New Era, Okankolo councillor Hans Nambodi said hygiene is a problem, especially in the wake of Covid-19 when handwashing is critical in preventing and reducing the spread of the virulent pandemic.
“I visited the many villages in Okankolo. I did not like what I saw; the situation is very bad. People have to wake up in the middle of the night to walk long distances to go and fetch water in wells and boreholes,” he stated.
“The water crisis in the Oshikoto region has reached alarming levels that require urgent interventions, and if not timeously addressed, will lead to the loss of human lives,” another official, who requested anonymity, said.
He explained that the well on which some community members depend to survive has dried up completely, while water from boreholes is now of poor quality, thus becoming unfit for human consumption.
John Daniel from the Onyuulaye village accused NamWater of neglecting them, adding that they never even bother to update them on the situation.
According to him, NamWater only focuses on certain villages, but definitely not theirs.
“We don’t have water, and we try our best to dig as many boreholes as we can. But the place is dry. Currently, the whole village of more than 60 homes survives on only one borehole,” he said. Most Oshikoto residents now depend on natural water from small boreholes, which are used by both people and animals. One of the villagers, Maria Shoopala, said many days can pass with villagers having no water to drink because the more energetic younger people wake up as early as possible to fetch water, and leave nothing for the elderly.
“Some people wake up as early as 03h00 to go fetch water, and I wake up at around 10h00 because I am old. When I go to the borehole, there is no water,” Shoopala lamented.