N$35m pipeline to alleviate water shortage in Zambezi
KATIMA MULILO – The completion of the N$35 million Katima Mulilo/Ngoma water pipeline in the Zambezi Region will bring relief for tens of thousands of people.
This was the view of the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa, during a meeting held last Friday with contractors building the pipeline.
The meeting was called to assess the progress of the project.
The second phase, which includes diverting water from the main pipeline for distribution to villages, started in May 2013 and is expected to be completed by July 2015. This reporter was reliably informed that the pipeline has reached its intended destination of Bukalo and is nearing Nachisangani in north-eastern Zambezi, with only about two kilometres left before Ngoma.
However, diverting pipelines for water distribution to villages has proven difficult as Zambezi is sparsely populated. The consultants, Element Consulting Engineers, have also bemoaned the capacity of the NamWater reservoir and revealed that a separate tender for the upgrading of the water treatment plant and reservoir has been advertised to increase water capacity.
Construction of a booster pump station on the eastern periphery of Katima Mulilo along the Ngoma road is underway to ease the distribution of water once the pipeline is completed.
Phase three of the project will cover areas such as Ngoma, Kabbe and Lusese while the 4th phase will link Bukalo to Muyako, Ibuu, Ioma and Mutikitila.
The first phase of the water pipeline project covering areas in the western part of the region from Katima Mulilo to Kongola is said to be progressing well and has been completed. Other areas would stretch from Kongola to Kapani.
Mutorwa attested to the non-suitability of underground water for human consumption in many areas of the region but noted that the Ngoma pipeline would solve the lack of potable water in the region.
“When I visited Ngoma, water was one of the most prominent issues. I even took a sample to be tested in Windhoek and it was found not to be suitable. We needed to do something regarding the quality of water. That’s why I thought the completion of the Ngoma pipeline was very crucial,” stated Mutorwa.
The N$35 million rural water supply project under the auspices of the rural water supply and development division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry was contracted to Likoze Investments which has partnered with 2M civil contractors who handle the technical aspects of the project.
According to information obtained from Likoze Investments phase two of the project is almost complete with only about less than a kilometre left to reach the targeted area of Nachisangani.
“We have less than a kilometre left to Nachisangani as we speak. Our target is to finish the job this month-end before the rains come. After that we will move to Bukalo to do branches and expect to be done with the whole work by early next year. We were given 118 kilometres and so far we have done 86 kilometres,” said Ntensa Mahoto of Likoze Investments.
The construction of the rural water pipeline is reported to have started with the first phase as far back as 2012. The second phase which is nearing completion resumed in May 2013.
Water shortages in the Zambezi is a serious problem. What seems to exacerbate matters is the fact that underground water in most areas is too salty and not suitable for human consumption, posing a great health risk.
Oscar Mulonda, the head of the rural water supply division in the Zambezi Region echoed similar sentiments noting that despite the installation of boreholes in the region the suitability of the water is still a challenge.
“Of the 33 boreholes drilled last year, most of them do not have water that is suitable for human consumption. That’s why the completion of the Katima to Kongola and Katima to Ngoma water pipeline is very vital,” he said.
Courtesy The New Era