Otsalindi — Villagers in Otamanzi Constituency have rolled up their sleeves to construct an earth dam to harvest water for both human and livestock consumption.
Wilbard Hango, who spoke on behalf of the community, said the the idea for an earth dam came about because animals trek about 25 to 30 kilometres to and from the nearest water point. The long distance is worsened by a critical shortage of water in the area.
Piped water is also expensive for many of the people in the constituency. They want to have the earth dam ready to catch water during the coming rain season.
According to the Constituency Councillor Johannes Iyambo, each member of the community decided to contribute N$100 towards the construction of the earth dam.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Anna Shiweda, who was at the groundbreaking ceremony over the weekend, was impressed by the constituency's bold decision. She said the initiative of the community was impressive and businesspersons should follow suit to assist.
"Your project is indeed commendable, as you did not wait for the government to give you water, but instead you took it upon yourself to join hands and pull your meagre resources together towards the excavation of the earth dam."
The minister assured the residents that ministry officials had been instructed to advise them on technical specifications for their earth dam, as well as to guide and inform them on any other matter related to water supply and sanitation.
Welcoming the initiative, Shiweda said it was in line with government's water policies, which make provision for and promote the participation of rural communities and other stakeholders in the development of water infrastructure.
Given the poor quality of the underground water in Otamanzi Constituency, the ministry provides water for human consumption to villages through the Tsandi South pipeline.
"However, this pipeline occasionally experiences low pressure - particularly during the dry season. I am informed this pipeline is 25 kilometres away and another pipeline is at Iiyekeya village, which is 30 kilometres. If one considers the distances then the construction of the Onamankatu earth dam is justifiable," Shiweda noted.
The deputy minister sympathised strongly with the residents and contributed equipment worth N$5,000 and N$2,000 cash from her pocket.