Not even N$20 for water

08 November 2019 | Local News

Some inhabitants of Omundaungilo in the Ohangwena Region have reverted to using pond water that is unfit for human consumption, claiming that they cannot afford the N$20 monthly contribution to community water points.

Omundaungilo constituency councillor Festus Ikanda says his office has not yet received complaints about people unable to pay for clean water, but they are aware that there are people using pond water.

In response to a water crisis in the Ohangwena Region, the Kalahari Ohangwena Aquifer (KOH) research team established that there is fresh water in the Omhalapapa area near the Angolan border, which offers a direct supply without any treatment needed.

Several water points have been set up supplying Omundaungilo and the surrounding areas with fresh water directly from two boreholes at Omhalapapa.

According to Ikanda, the water points are being managed by a community water point committee which charges a small fee for maintenance.

“The government has done its part to supply water to the communities. Community water points are managed by selected community members who form a community water point committee. They decide at their community meetings how they will maintain their water points,” Ikanda said.

“These boreholes are equipped with pumps that need diesel. The money they pay is mostly for diesel consumption and pump maintenance in case of breakage. At least the community must be able to maintain their boreholes, especially for minor issues,” he said.

Peinge Kashikuka, 73, says her family still uses pond water because they cannot afford to pay N$20 a month for tap water.

“We better use water from the ponds because the money we get from the government every month is reserved for other uses. We have no problem with water from the ponds because we have been drinking it long before we got tap water,” Kashikuka says.

Another resident, Festus Kafiye, says he uses pond water to make homebrew that he sells at his cuca shop.

“I cannot use the little money I get from my cuca shop to pay for tap water. I use water from the ponds to brew otombo and other beverages at my cuca shop. I've never heard people complaining that my brew is bad due to water,” Kafiye says.

Namibian Sun could not establish exactly how many households still use pond water, but apparently the majority of them do.

In some households, tap water is only for drinking, while pond water is used for washing.

The ponds were dug by the community members before the government started piping clean water to them.


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