Feature: Borehole eases livelihood of inhabitants in rural Namibia amid water scarcity

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 24, 2019
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by Ndalimpinga Iita

WINDHOEK, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- A sip of clean water is not the only reason for Helena Shikudule's happiness. However, the satisfaction of a consistent supply of clean water meant improved health and socio-economic conditions for the resident of Ohangwena region in the northern part of Namibia.

Before that, like most inhabitants in her area, she depended on water from the wells.

About 159 million people worldwide still drink untreated water from surface water sources, including lakes and streams, states the Report on Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

According to Shikudule, villagers would wake up as early as 3 am, to scrabble for the scarce resource from the well.

"We used to walk a long distance to fetch water from a neighboring village, which is more than ten kilometers away. One wakes up at 03:00, but still, water was in short supply. When you get to the well, it is empty," said Shikudule, a resident of the Ohangwena region.

Not only is that, but the water drawn from the well was unfit for human consumption.

Due to a dry spell, the Ohangwena region faces a severe water shortage, which has left neither humans nor animals any choice but to resort to muddy or saline water.

The Namibian President Hage Geingob in May, this year, declared drought as a state of emergency.

Luckily, the situation improved when, in October this year, the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia funded the erection of a borehole. The Fund invested 2.5 million Namibian dollars (170 000 U.S. dollars) in rehabilitating a borehole owned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.

Pohamba Shifeta, Minister of Environment and Tourism, said the move is aimed at addressing water shortage and help people in need, and profoundly affected by the prevailing drought situation in Namibia.

"Some of the community members in the area have never tasted clean water, as they have for long depended on water from traditional wells. At times, the water may be contaminated, and they do not have any chemicals to desalinate or treat the water. Hence, this initiative is a game-changer for the people," Shifeta said.

The water borehole has since eased the burden imposed by water scarcity for the inhabitants in northern Namibia.

Petrus Weyulu, a resident in the area, said that the borehole has addressed many social and health challenges once faced by the community.

According to him, the erection of the borehole has also saved the villagers' costs related to buying water from households in neighboring villages.

"We used to struggle a lot. One had to buy water because the water in our wells causes severe illnesses," Weyulu added.

Meanwhile, inhabitants said that the borehole also saves them time.

"The time I used to spend on walking such a long distance will now be effectively utilized to complete other tasks at home. As well, spend adequate time to groom my children," Shikudule said.

For Weyulu, the borehole has eased livestock farming problems, adding that his cattle also now have a regular supply of water. "This has given me hope for my animals to survive this dry spell until the next rainy season upon us," he said.

It is estimated that this project will have the capacity to provide potable water to about 7,500 people. Enditem

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