RESIDENTS of the Omusati region relying on the Etaka Dam along Epalela for water say NamWater has left them with a drying-up dam.
“Claims are that for months now water has not been pumped into the dam, which has over the years been an oasis for more than a hundred vegetable farmers at Epalela and surrounding villages,” Onesi resident Ephraim Haludhilu says.
He says the authorities have not consulted farmers or the community to address the issue of the dam’s continuously diminishing water supply.
“We are just sitting around hopelessly. We are relying on the water in this dam for our livelihoods, as our gardens are watered from the dam, and our livestock drink water from the dam. Why is water not being pumped into the dam? We need clarity. We have not had rain in a while. NamWater should give us answers,” Haludhilu says.
Farmer Lavinia Simon says: “If there is no water in this dam we cannot grow our vegetables. How are we expected to survive?
“Many people have abandoned their gardens because there is no water.”
Omusati regional governor Erginus Endjala last week said he is aware of the situation.
“I visited Angola earlier this month because we needed to get to the root of the situation. While in Angola, I had the opportunity to pass through the Kunene River, where we pump water from, and we saw the water levels there are very low.
“We are also aware that the canal the water is pumped through is very old. The old technology used is not sustainable in this day and age.
“The canal is dilapidated, and NamWater is already revamping the canal from the Omahenene border post up to Epalela,” he said.
As a result water is being pumped through a tunnel and distributed to different regions, he said.
“That is the predicament we are in: We cannot have water pumped into Etaka alone. Other areas would be deprived. We understand Etaka needs water becuase it sustains agriculture in the region, but at the moment we are faced with water scarcity,” Endjala said.
NamWater spokesperson John Shigwedha says the water utility has experienced challenges with the revamping of the canal.
“Etaka is not completely dry, and it is not full either. We have been busy reconstructing the canal all the way from the Angolan border to Olushandja.
“Other projects are also slated for the canal to go further to the Calueque. While doing this we have also experienced some power cuts which affect the pumping of the water,” he says.