Do not touch the Okavango River: APP

29 Jun 2016 17:40pm
RUNDU, 29 JUN (NAMPA) - The All People's Party (APP) in the Kavango East Region objects to the use of water from the Okavango River to address water shortages in the central areas of Namibia.
Acting regional chairperson of the party in the region, Marcelius Haivera made the statement during a media conference here on Monday.
“The Kavango regions (East and West) are the poorest regions in the country already, thus this idea cannot be considered. Rather bring some of the factories consuming a lot of water to the Kavango regions, which would in turn also create employment here,” he said.
Haivera was responding to a recent statement by NamWater Engineering Manager Kuiri Tjipangandjara, who said during a public lecture that drawing water from the Okavango River would be a more feasible option than desalination.
Tjipangandjara was quoted as saying in the local media that it could cost N.dollars 3 billion over two phases of execution, compared to desalinating seawater and pumping it to the central parts.
Furthermore, desalinating water would have numerous risks, expenses and challenges, which in turn would result in consumers having to bear the costs.
Haivera said providing water to Khomas residents is a good idea but as a party, they are objecting to the idea of taking water from the river in general.
Citing statistics and studies that show some rivers in Africa have dried up because of such practices, he said they do not want to get themselves in that situation.
“Government must rather look into other options. If you measure the current water level of the Okavango River compared to the levels of 15 to 20 years ago, it is no longer the same. The levels are dropping because of the use of the water,” he stressed.
Both the Kavango East and West regions have about five green schemes using water from that river, thus drawing water from the river for central Namibia would put more strain on it, said the APP senior official.
The Okavango River is the main source of water for both Kavango regions as well as neighbouring countries such as Angola.
“The water will also just be misused and if this river dries up, where will we get water from?” he asked, adding that the APP will stand its ground on this decision, no matter what it takes.
Haivera called on residents of the Kavango regions and traditional leaders not to support the idea of drawing water from the river.
In addition, he said the idea of constructing a new parliament should be put on hold, as it is not a priority and that providing people with water is dire.
Ousted former secretary-general of the DTA of Namibia, Vincent Kanyetu who is now a member of the APP, said it is high time Government think about cultivating rainwater.
“When you go to the north during the rainy season, a lot of water is wasted when it should be collected and kept in a dam for when it’s needed,” he said.