Severe water shortages in the East

13 May 2019 | Disasters

Residents of Otjongombe village are facing difficulties due to the ongoing drought and severe water shortages in the area. Otjongombe is situated about 120 km from Gobabis and comprises 30 homesteads.

The village's waterpoint committee chairperson, Ngangaa Kauari told Nampa in an interview in April, that the water problem started last August and most villagers have since lost a number of their livestock.

“Our water pump is not functioning, so we spend a lot of money on using a privately-owned pump here, which requires payment,” Kauari said, adding that there is no grazing at the village and the lack of water is worsening the condition of the livestock.

“Drought is real here and we don't know how our livestock are going to survive. We heard about the millions of dollars given by Cabinet recently for drought relief but so far, we have heard nothing from our councillor regarding this,” Kauari said.

According to him, they reported the water issue to the Directorate of Water Affairs in Gobabis. He said that the directorate gave them a quotation of N$26 000 to buy the engine parts for the water pump which the community does not have. The village's only borehole reportedly drilled pre-independence seems to have dried up as the water level has fallen.

“The borehole pumps red water with sand and that shows that water underground is low. Government must drill another one,” Kauari said.

The villagers also obtain some water from neighbouring village Omitiomire, some 5 km from Otjongombe, at cost. “We even went as far last year as asking the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry for the truck to come help with washing the borehole, but apparently there are no trucks.”

The acting director of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Coordination in the Directorate of Water Affairs in Gobabis, Paul Kamuiingona, told Nampa he was not aware of the matter as he is new in the office. “I am calling on Otjongombe residents to approach the office to look into the matter,” he urged.

Kamuiingona said the water problem in the Omaheke region is a common issue. He urged residents to approach Water Affairs offices in their respective constituencies, but they should also bear in mind the tight economic situation in the country.– Nampa