Pipeline nears completion as Kunene battles drought

Niël Terblanché

In an effort to address the perennial water scarcity in the Kunene Region, the Namibian Government’s Ohamaremba-Okangwati Pipeline project has achieved a remarkable 79 percent completion rate.

The Minister of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform, Calle Schlettwein, announced that the pipeline, set to be fully operational by July, will supply potable water to the Okanguati settlement from the Ohamaremba aquifer, heralding a new era of water accessibility in the region.

The minister made the revelation during the dual Commemoration of World Wetlands Day and World Water Day 2024, held in Opuwo, under the banners of “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing” and “Leveraging Water for Peace.”

This announcement highlights a crucial development in the government’s efforts to improve water supply infrastructure amid challenging environmental conditions.

Beyond the pipeline, Schlettwein also outlined the ministry’s achievements over the past financial year, including the installation of 31 production boreholes and the ongoing rehabilitation of 27 existing ones, raising the total number of active boreholes in the region to 682.

According to the minister, the completion of two mini desalination plants at Condor in Sesfontein Constituency and Petrusfontein Constituency, alongside the modernization of traditional wells with solar systems, illustrates the comprehensive approach taken to enhance water supply.

Despite these advancements, Schlettwein pointed out the enduring challenges faced by the Kunene Region, notably the dual threats of flash floods and droughts exacerbated by climate change.

The minister stressed the region’s vulnerability to these extreme weather events, which disrupt communities, endanger lives, and isolate populations from essential services.

To mitigate these risks, Schlettwein called for the implementation of a reliable early warning system for flash floods and the construction of standard bridges to ensure safe river crossings.

“These measures are essential to safeguard the well-being of the region’s residents and to secure uninterrupted access to critical resources and services,” he said.

Schlettwein said the need for sustained efforts to combat climate-induced challenges remains paramount.

He added that the Namibian Government’s proactive approach in both enhancing water supply and addressing environmental vulnerabilities positions will put the Kunene Region on a path towards resilience and sustainability.

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