Sipapela questions effectiveness of Water Bill

25 Sep 2013 04:10
WINDHOEK, 25 SEP (NAMPA) - Linyanti Constituency Councillor Cletius Sipapela on Tuesday questioned how the Water Resource Management Bill would help Namibia deal with floods.
The Bill is being discussed in the National Council this week, after it was referred there for consideration by the National Assembly.
The proposed legislation seeks to repeal the current Water Resources Management Act of 2004 and the Water Act No. 54 of 1956, while amending and repealing certain sections of the Local Authorities Act of 1992 and the NamWater Corporation Act, Act No. 12 of 1997.
“I thought that maybe this Bill was coming up with mechanisms that will be put in place to use flood water for our consumption, or to store such water for use at a later stage,” he said.
He indicated that had the flood waters of 2004, 2009 and 2010 been harvested and dams constructed, the impact of the current drought could have been mitigated.
Sipapela proposed that the Bill should find a way of putting into place mechanisms on how the country should harvest flood waters that otherwise cause disasters.
“It is a blessing to have more water than to have no water. So I would have suggested that the Bill finds a place where we can have flood water managed, protected and put to good use for our people,” he stated.
The Linyanti councillor further added that although he supports the Bill, he has a few concerns regarding the drafting of the proposed legislation.
He said when it comes to the drafting of laws, it often seems as if government institutions are deliberately not decentralising government functions to the regional level.
“This same law is leaving out the role of regional councils, the role of local authorities and traditional leaders. It makes you ask whom we are making the laws for. Is it not for the grassroots?” he wanted to know.
Sipapela said the grassroots are the regional, local and traditional structures.
He argued that the role of these grassroots structures is not clearly stated in the Water Resource Management Bill, adding that inputs from these structures always helps to make sure that the laws are better understood.
The Linyanti Constituency Councillor said he would want the grassroots structures to be consulted when drafting laws to ensure that laws are better understood before they are finally passed in parliament.