Agriculture ministry vows to make water accessible

Staff Writer

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform says it is focused on various interventions such as upgrading existing water infrastructure, construction of new water supply infrastructure, improvement of the management of existing water sources and enhancement of transboundary water cooperation to facilitate easy water access nationwide.

Minister Of Agriculture, Water And Land Reform, Carl Schlettwein at an annual staff and stakeholder address on Monday said that no development could occur without water, hence the priority that is accorded to the security of water supply in NDP5 and HPPII.

He said that the high priority for the security of water supply for Namibia further emanates from Namibia’s vulnerability to climate change and variability as an arid country.

As regards bulk water supply, Schlettwein said the Ministry, together with Namwater, is implementing Water Sector Support Program (WSSP), jointly funded by the Government, Namwater and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to the amount of N$4.8 billion.

“The key water purification and distribution projects such as the Oshakati and Rundu purification plants were commissioned last year. Implementation acceleration of these projects will contribute to the security of water supply within our integrated water resources management for which a funding pipeline of about N$10 billion is required over the next five years,” he said.

Meanwhile, other key bulk rural water supply infrastructures include, but not limited to Katima-Kongola in the Zambezi Region,Ruacana South in the Omusati Region,King Kauluma-Omutsegonime in the Oshikoto Region, Iitapa- Okeeholongo in the Omusati Region, Katima Mulilo-Ngoma in the Zambezi Region and Otjombinde in the Omaheke Region.

Schlettwein said the appointed engineering consultants for these projects are completing the final designs and the bidding documents for the contractors.

Besides this, the Ondangwa-Omuntele Water Supply Pipeline Scheme in the Oshikoto region was recently completed and short pipelines are now being developed and connected to provide water to the newly identified beneficiaries.

“Preliminary design work for the Onamatanga water supply pipeline in the Omusati region is underway for similar objectives,” he said

At the same time, the Ministry has also embarked on the Ozondati- Omatjete Water Supply pipeline in collaboration with the Erongo Regional Council and the Ohamaremba-Okangwati Water Supply pipeline in collaboration with the Kunene Regional Council.

“Considerable targeted efforts must therefore continue to be made to address pressing water needs for the remote areas hitherto without secure water supply. Over the past month short pipelines (with a maximum length of 20 kilometres) were constructed and/or upgraded in various regions such as // Kharas, Oshana, Hardap and Ohangwena,” he said.

The Minister also noted that up to 87 boreholes were drilled and installation of boreholes and water points will continue to be stepped in the coming year.

As a result, about 229 communities were supported under the emergency water tanker services in Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa, Kunene, Hardap, and //Kharas regions

Additionally, 53 water point associations were established and water point committees were elected for the purpose of coordination and effective management of rural water supply infrastructure.

“Capacity development and coordination will continue to be advanced with the associations and committees.

The Ministry continues to collaborate with the Ministry of Basic Education, Art and Culture to ensure the provision of water to up to 160 that have access to safe drinking water. A transaction advisor has been appointed to bring about the financial closure for a desalination plant with an annual capacity of about 20 million cubic meters,” said Schlettwein.

Schlettwein further shared that the impact of the ministry’s rural water development programme for severely under-serviced communities has been completely diminished in some cases.

“Boreholes, solar panels, pumps, cables and switchboards of 20 installations have been destroyed of late and obviously, the affected communities are again without a secure supply of water. When such criminal activities hurt the most vulnerable the evil of such activity is most painful. 4 officials have so far been charged for their involvement in some of the cases and no tolerance may be shown,” he added.

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