Underground water discovery under scrutiny

13 Feb 2014 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 13 FEB (NAMPA) – It might take more than three years to determine the volumes of the underground water reservoir discovered in northern Namibia a few years ago.
This was revealed by the Director of Water Resources’ Management in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Harold Koch, on the sidelines of the launch of a study titled 'Augmentation of water supply to the central areas of Namibia and Cuvelai' on Thursday.
“It will take two to three-and-a-half years to determine the volumes of the water at the aquifer there,” he told Nampa.
The German government availed Euros 2 million (about N.dollars 30 million) to undertake the study, Koch said.
At the same occasion, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa said technical experts completed their work at the end of last year.
He said it was required of them to do all the necessary investigations, observations and assessments regarding the deep-seated Ohangwena aquifer and its exact extent.
A final report was then submitted to Cabinet.
“The findings were good,” he added.
Experts from the Ministry of Agriculture, NamWater and the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources discovered the underground water source in the Ohangwena Region in 2007.
It was estimated at the time that the underground water source, which is up to 10 000 years old, has a capacity of about 5 billion cubic metres.
About 40 to 60 per cent of the aquifer’s capacity could supply potable water to the central regions of Namibia.
The aquifer lies between Eenhana and Okongo, and stretches from Okankolo into southern Angola, where it is ‘recharged’ during the rainy season.
The aquifer was estimated to be between 280 to 350 metres below the surface. An area of roughly 70 by 40 kilometres was explored.
Hydro-geologists at the time of the discovery warned that careless drilling could threaten the supply.
In some areas, there are layers containing saline water overlapping the freshwater aquifer and if the drilling is mismanaged, the saltwater could contaminate the source.