Epembe’s water woes far from over

Sebastian Ndeitunga

Communities in the Epembe constituency who have over the years suffered due to no proper drinking water, will continue to suffer water shortages, since drilling boreholes in the aquifers is too expensive.

This was disclosed during a community meeting held at Epembe in the Ohangwena region on Friday.

The engagement, which was organised by governor Sebastian Ndeitunga, with regional leadership and stakeholders in the health and education sectors, as well as the police, the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, the veterans’ office and traditional leaders, was prompted by a myriad issues facing the constituency.

“The Ohangwena region, including the Epembe constituency, faces challenges of a lack of water, which I have been reading in the media about for many years,” Ndeitunga said. Epembe residents have not had access to clean water since independence and are forced to travel long distances to fetch water from wells.

“Concerning the provision of water, the government has made efforts to drill boreholes in the past, but unfortunately, many of these boreholes were shallow, dry and had salty water, which was declared unfit for human consumption,” Ndeitunga said.

He said the regional government is considering the drilling of deep boreholes in areas with aquifers.

This would, however, be costly and would not be realised in the immediate future as a result.

Speaking at the same occasion, the chairperson of the Ohangwena Regional Council, Phillip Shilongo, said 20 boreholes were set up in the region, of which eight were in the Epembe constituency and all the water resulting from this was unsafe.

“These aquifers can then pump water to the rest of the villages affected by water shortages. To get to good water we have to dig very deep and this would require a lot of money,” he said.

Epembe also faces a lack of proper road infrastructure.

The only roads used are the Okankolo and Ushake roads, which are severely damaged due to rains.

“Many access and district roads in the region need to be constructed or approved, while others need to be gravelled to facilitate the easy circulation of people to access services,” Shilongo says.

“Strategic and other roads have been identified in the region that need to be constructed, improved and expanded as a matter of priority, such as the planned road that will cross the region, starting from Onepandaulo in the Endola constituency through Okwakwa, Onandova, Onamahoka, Onangwe, Ohaukelo and Otunganganga.”

“It is obvious that much needs to be done in the region to improve roads,” he said.

The lack of budget in the region has over the years hindered water provision to drought-prone areas such as Epembe, Omundaungilo, Oshikunde and Okongo.

Epembe councillor Mathew Nanghama said issues affecting the constituency have been reported to the government over the years to no avail.

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