Govt kick-starts N$250m water supply project

… state loses N$120m in stolen water pumps, solar panels

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform through NamWater launched a N$250-million water supply project at Eenhana in the Ohangwena region on Saturday.

The Ohangwena II Well Field Water Supply Schemes project will see the development of the Ohangwena Aquifer, making it the second primary source of bulk water supply for the central northern area.

This was announced by minister of agriculture, water and land reform Calle Schlettwein during the project’s groundbreaking ceremony this weekend.

The Oshakati purification plant and the Kunene River has been the only primary source of fresh water supplying several schemes in Ohangwena region with drinking water.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the commencement of the 110km Ondangwa-Omutsegwonime pipeline replacement project at Ondangwa took place on Friday, marking the beginning of phase 1, focusing on the 17km stretch from Ondangwa to Oshali.

The project was funded by NamWater at a cost of N$91 million.

Schlettwein said the total cost of the project is nearly N$250 million.

These funds were made available by the government through the African Development Bank’s Namibia water sector support programme.

The minister said the bank extended a loan of about N$1,8 billion for projects such as the Ohangwena II Aquifer, the new Oshakati purification plant the new Rundu purification plant, and others.

He said the project will bring about reliable access to safe drinking water for the areas between Omafo-Eenhana and Omakango-Onambutu-Eenhana.

“The Namibian government remains committed to making water supply a reality for everyone, despite limited resources,” Schlettwein said.

The project will see the construction of a 203km stretch of pipeline, as well as the installation and drilling of four boreholes at Oshandi and Eenhana.

Other projects include the construction of three concrete reservoirs at Omakango, Ondobe and Eenhana and the construction of six elevated towers at various locations.

Additional projects involve the construction of new pump stations at Omafo, Omakango and Ondobe, the construction of a reverse osmosis plant at Eenhana, as well as the construction of evaporation ponds at Eenhana.

“In addition to this significant project, the government is committed to ensuring that the eastern part of the Ohangwena region also receives water.

BREAKING GROUND … Minister of agriculture, water and land reform, Calle Schlettwein, flanked by NamWater chief executive Abraham Nehemia (right) and deputy executive director Elijah Ngurare (left) during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Ohangwena II Wellfield Water Supply schemes project at Eenhana on Saturday.

“We already have a commitment from the German Development Bank (KfW) for the funding of major water infrastructure, starting at Omundaungilo south, towards the Oshikoto region.

“Planning work for this project is currently underway,” Schlettwein said.

The minister said the ministry has so far drilled 22 additional deep boreholes and has connected over 80 water points to serve communities.

Speaking at the same event, NamWater chief executive Abraham Nehemia said Eenhana has for years relied on water supplied from Oshakati through Omafo, originating roughly 300km from the Calueque Dam in southwest Angola.

“While initially efficient, increasing demand from the Oshakati treatment plant has recently suppressed water reaching Eenhana. This challenge has necessitated prompt action from our water sector,” he said.

Nehemia said this project represents the beginning of unlocking the aquifer’s potential.

“The aim is to evaluate its capability to supply water not only to the Ohangwena region, but also to the wider northern regions,” he said.


Meanwhile, Schlettwein said the ministry has lost about N$120 million in stolen water pumps and solar panels in 2023 alone.

“Worst of all, the communities who were served with clean, reliable water have lost that existential service. The drilling of boreholes, equipping and installing required infrastructure such as a power supply, water tanks and pumps and some distribution lines were lost to the communities,” Schlettwein said.

He said this is not acceptable.

“It is your installation and I call upon traditional authorities, regional and local authorities to join us in preventing these crimes. We must also cooperate to, if such a crime happened, bring the culprits to book,” he said.

The minister said the ministry, through acts of theft and vandalism, loses significant amounts of money and infrastructure.

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