Kunene needs water for mining, cropsBy: STAFF REPORTER
SUSTAINABLE allocation and management of water is the cornerstone of any meaningful development, as it will determine the level and quality of investment needed for local, regional and national economic development.
The Kunene Region of Namibia is one of the regions which has various sources of water, especially in the form of springs in areas such as the Sesfontein triangle, Okaoko-Otavi, Ehomba, Ongongo, Omuhiva, Fransfontein, Tsumamas and Orovandjai.
These sources could be utilised to develop small to medium-sized agricultural activities in the region.
“Should information not be available, research is urgently needed to determine the viability and volume of these crucial underground water resources to ascertain the viability of such agricultural projects,” says Kunene governor Josua //Hoëbeb.
“Should these results be substantial, agricultural projects would provide an essential lifeline to our people in the form of employment creation and self-reliance, which are important criteria for economic development of any society or community.” In terms of mining opportunities, the governor is of the opinion that his region can be considered a “sleeping giant”, therefore water issues need to be looked at in earnest to ensure that this sector can be developed to its full potential.
“There are indications of rich ore deposits – notably copper and iron – in the area. We must work to have these riches in our hands and not under our feet. But as we all know, mining activities require a substantial amount of water and therefore it is crucial that all sources of water be maximised.”
//Hoëbeb says the forthcoming Namibia Water Investment Conference is an ideal platform to gain commitment from stakeholders to engage in research and investment for the development of the water sector, which would have a significant impact on the economic development programmes for the region.
Opuwo is the political seat of the Kunene Region with a population of just over 12 000 people and although the quality of water has improved over the years, there is a need to investigate additional sources of water if the town is to meet the demands of its fast-growing population. For //Hoëbeb, there is now a need to discuss the importance and benefits of a pipeline which would link the town with the perennial Kunene River to the north.
“This is obviously within the regional development plans and we will continue to engage all relevant authorities to ensure that Opuwo does not get left behind in the national development agenda of our country.”
//Hoëbeb also believes the time is long overdue to aggressively promote the immense possibilities and advantages of additional hydropower facilities in the region. “The Kunene Region can proudly contribute significantly to the power supply endeavours of Namibia and we would therefore strongly advocate for an earnest internal and external debate and discussion centred on hydropower generation on our doorstep so that we can meaningfully contribute towards the power supply of our region and the rest of Namibia and beyond.”
‘Water for Economic Development’ is one of the themes to be discussed at the Namibia Water Investment Conference, which will take place in Windhoek this month.