Water Crisis is Disgraceful

Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata

Namibia’s perennial water crises cannot be described better than how a resident of Amilema village, about 20km south of Omuthiya, put it.

“For more than 33 years since independence the government is still unable to supply the whole country with clean water. This is truly unacceptable…” Angula Amuthenu told The Namibian this week.

The lack of water in many parts of Namibia remains a constant problem. Yet, the government seems to hide behind intermittent droughts that commonly occur in our desert country, whose condition can only get worse with climate change.

Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata, executive director in the ministry responsible for water provision, confirmed that severe water shortages are being experienced in the Erongo, Kavango West, Omaheke, Ohengwena, Omusati, Oshikoto and Ohangwena regions.

Windhoek too is experiencing water problems, and residents have been asked to cut back their water consumption by 10% to help sustain water demand.

In 2012, a massive aquifer was declared as capable of supplying about 40% of the Namibian population in the central northern region with water for 400 years. The government only started with experiments to use mini desalination systems to remove salt from the water last year. Little progress was made in removing fluoride.

Yet the government and NamWater are going all out with a multibillion-dollar desalination plant at the coast, having for years frustrated mining companies and municipalities setting up similar systems.

Inconsistent water supply has cost companies a lot in potential revenue, with Swakop Uranium saying in 2020 it lost about N$1,9 billion over two years because of water scarcity.

The lack of urgency to mitigate perennial water shortages in so many parts of the country, even when solutions are available, suggests that bureaucrats and ruling politicians only move when it’s to satisfy their personal interests above those of the majority of ordinary citizens.

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