Critical water shortage devastates Omuntele cattle farmers

05 Mar 2019 11:00am
By Linea Dishena
OMUNTELE, 05 MAR (NAMPA) – An acute water shortage has hit the Omuntele Constituency in the Oshikoto Region following insufficient rainfall, leaving livestock farmers devastated.
The constituency is situated 60 kilometres southeast of Ondangwa and houses more than five villages.
The area is also used by livestock farmers from all corners of northern Namibia who settle there, due to the good grazing land.
The poor rainfall experienced during this rainy season, which normally occurs between November and March, left thousands of cattle with little water to drink as the earthen dams are dry.
Speaking to Nampa at Etambi village in the constituency on Monday, cattle herder Leo Mateus expressed that thousands of cattle are at risk of dying if Government does not intervene to help farmers by providing boreholes or pipes that can transmit water to the villages.
Mateus who looks after 80 cattle said there is currently only one potable water point which caters for cattle from all the villages with two troughs that are not enough to provide water for the thousands of cattle.
He said the situation is devastating as herders walk about 15 to 35 kilometres to get to the only potable water point provided by the council where each farmer pays an amount of N.dollars 150 per month.
“For my cattle to get water I have to wake up at 01h00 because the distance is about 20 kilometres from where the cattle graze. Again, I will spend the whole day there because the queue is long,” a frustrated Mateus said.
Another cattle herder, Petrus Kangadjera said the situation is worrisome as it is already the last month of the current rainy season and the earthen dams are dry.
He said at the only potable water point, not all cattle get water and the rest consume only very little.
The 70 cattle in Kangadjera’s care are now nearly dehydrated due to insufficient water intake.
“There is enough grazing but there is no water, we all know that water is life. We are crying as our cattle will die very soon if the council does not help us with more water points in the area,” he stressed.
Councillor for the Omuntele Constituency, Sacky Nangula acknowledged the dire situation of the farmers and explained that Government in 2015 implemented a project whereby pipes and water tanks were installed at the villages, however, due to the current economic situation the project was put on hold.
“About N.dollars 12.5 million is currently needed to complete the project. Due to the pressing situation I have consulted the highest office and we are expecting our line minister in two weeks to come see the situation on the ground,” Nangula said.