Namibia: Livestock in Oshana Critically in Need of Water

Oshakati — The Oshana Regional Council is fighting tooth and nail to avert the water situation at the grazing area in Uuvudhiya Constituency in order to save thousands of livestock currently grazing there.

This is while council is waiting on government to respond to the plight of 15 637 households, translating into 74 000 beneficiaries who are in dire need of drought relief food.

The Chief Regional Officer (CRO) at Oshana Martin Elago said despite the number of people identified to be critically in need of food, there is also a dire need for water as livestock from the four northern regions have flocked to Uuvudhiya for better grazing.

Although Uuvudhiya has enough grazing, it has no water.

The water currently available at Uuvudhiya is highly saline and is deadly for livestock.

"[Lake] Oponona has not received enough rain to recharge and as a result, the water is too salty for the animals while other earth dams have naturally dried up," Elago said.

The council took a resolution to plead with the water utility NamWater to pump water from the Etaka Canal to Uuvudhiya and further to Lake Oponona.

The CRO said the water utility has respondent positively and is now busy cleaning the canal before they can commence to pump water. By Monday, the water utility had cleaned about 60 km of the 130 km stretch.

Two years ago, NamWater also pumped water into the same canal to relieve the plight of communal farmers along the canal who were hardest hit by the drought at the time. About four of the 14 dams along the canal also received water in order to bring sustenance to livestock in Uukwaluudhi and Ongandjera. In addition to pumping water to Uuvudhiya, the council is also eyeing the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to avail the region with at least N$30 million in order to rehabilitate and put up new pipelines that can extend water to drought stricken communities on the eastern side of Uuvudhiya.

"We want to rescue as many livestock as we can. We want to applaud NamWater for the good progress made thus far. Our only concern now is the pipelines because they are equally critically needed, particularly for the people living along the identified pipelines," said Elago.

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