20 June 2019

Namibia: Epupa Residents Consume Unsafe Water

THE lack of clean water for human consumption in the Epupa constituency of the Kunene region has raised fears of water-borne diseases in villages within the consituency.

The situation has also made matters worse for residents, who are already struggling to deal with dire consequences of drought in the area. Epupa constituency councillor Nguzu Muharukua said in an interview with The Namibian last week that residents have been forced to get water rations from government institutions, while some have opted to consume unpurified water from a well in the area.

He noted that despite the drilling of eight boreholes some 14 kilometres outside Okangwati in the same constituency to provide clean drinking water to the residents, there are no pipelines to provide such water to residents.

Okangwati is the main economic centre of the Epupa constituency, and is located 22 kilometres north of Opuwo.

"Nothing has been done to get water to the settlement of Okangwati. We drink water from the police station, ministry of agriculture and the well near the riverbed,"Muharukua stated.

He noted that the water from the well might not be safe for human consumption, as it appears dirty, and there are fears that water-borne diseases could break out.

"I have addressed the problem regularly in the Kunene Regional Council meetings, but every time, there is talk of there being no money. This is a serious matter" he emphasised.

Muharukua said the cost of laying the pipelines to Okangwati was estimated at N$8 million.

The Epupa constituency is also one of the areas in the Kunene region hit hard by drought.

The constituency has lost over 1 000 livestock to drought this year.

"Promises of fodder for the livestock was made, but up to now, nothing has been done. They say they will do it, but nothing is forthcoming, maybe because of budget cuts," the councillor added.

Klavius Kaujova, chairperson of the Kunene Regional Council, shot down Muharukua's assertions that the regional council was not attending to the matter.

"The councillor knows the progress we made with the little resources at our disposal. We drilled eight new boreholes at Ohamaremba, and the bidding for the laying of a 2,5km pipeline is advertised," Kaujova responded when contacted for comment last week.

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