Erongo worst hit by drought

The Erongo Region is one of the most drought-affected regions in the country. This was once again reiterated by Cleophas Mutjavikua, Governor of the region during his State of the Region Address on Friday. The Governor admitted it was very late to start working out measures, but added plans are in an advanced stage to develop a desalination plant north of Henties Bay to provide potable water to this holiday town as well as Uis, Omatjete and Okombahe.
“The situation is very tough. It is very bad. To now start working out measures is very late,” Mutjavikua said during his annual address. He continued saying that he received a team from the Office of the Prime Minister recently which came to assess the situation.
“We don’t need an assessment now. We need relieve measures and we need them now,” he said.
Mutjavikua delivered his annual address in Swakopmund. Many people from all sectors of the region, including government officials, representatives from Local Authorities and business people, listened intently to him speaking for one and a half hour.
As usual he gave a broad overview of past achievements, upcoming developments and he also gave a brief summary of the performance of individual sectors in Erongo.
His key note lay in the current severe drought, which is plaguing the entire region.
“Our only hope for the region is to work on modalities to ensure a lasting solution. The aquifers in our main rivers, mainly the Omaruru River, have had no inflow for years now and our only hope lies in the desalination of water,” Mutjavikua noted.
Although it did not form part of his prepared speech, Mutjavikua announced for the first time the proposal, to construct a second desalination plant along the Namibian coastline. This plant will be situated north of Henties Bay.
While not mentioning exact details, the Governor said that this new desalination plant will provide potable drinking water to Henties Bay, Uis, Omatjete and Okombahe. “I know that our environmental friends are here and there are some concerns.
Initially it was planned to use toxics to desalinate water, but we have made it clear to not use toxics,” he said. The plant will be financed by German investors and is “at an advanced stage.” “This project forms part of the Harambee,” he said.
While talking about the drought, Mutjavikua gave some figures of the poor rainfall, thereby making the people aware about the severity of the situation. Omatjete received the most rainfall (134 mm), followed by Okombahe (55 mm), Spitzkoppe/Tubuses (36 mm) and Otjimbingwe (31 mm). The worst rainfall for the region in the rainy season ranging from October to April was recorded in Uis (25 mm). “Many communal farmers are moving their cattle along public roads in the region in seeking for better grazing, while claiming to be enroute to specific destinations as per livestock permits issued. The movement is happening at a snail’s pace. The reason being grazing till there are nothing left for livestock,” he said.

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