ABOUT 50% of the Namibian population are situated in the northern areas and the need for increased water supply has become a necessity for the ever-increasing number of people.
Thus, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Calle Schlettwein said that the government has embarked on water infrastructure development across the Oshana, Omusati, Oshikoto, and Ohangwena regions.
Schlettwein noted that to avoid water shortages within the next three years, the ministry has assessed the cost of the required infrastructure development at N$3.6 billion.
The ministry has acquired a loan of N$1.2 billion from the African Development Bank to partially fund this water infrastructure development project.
Schlettwein indicated that the funds are intended to improve the water situation in the country, including upgrading of the existing infrastructure.
The minister said that the northern areas depend on two water sources of which the Calueque Dam and water canal is the main source while groundwater from the Ohangwena Aquifer makes up the shortfall.
“The aquifer is a good source for water supply that can last for at least 400 years. Thus far a borehole was drilled deep into the aquifer at Eenhana and that infrastructure is now supplying water to the town,” he said.
He noted that the aquifer is huge, but studies are still ongoing to determine how fast it can recharge as it’s estimated to be able to supply 20 million cubic metres of water for 400 years.
NamWater Chief Executive Officer Abraham Nehemia said that currently, the water is being used to benefit the northern area as studies are still ongoing regarding the lifespan of the Ohangwena Aquifer.
According to him, the largest part of the aquifer is situated in Angola and that is why many boreholes have been drilled in villages for monitoring and off-takes to villages.
“More boreholes are still required,” he said, adding that part of the budgeted funds will be pumped into the exploitation of the Ohangwena Aquifer.
The Ohangwena governor Walde Ndevashiya with delegation lead by Schlettwein visited all the areas with water infrastructure including areas where there was no water supply on Sunday.