By: Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus
Investment in reverse osmosis units for the three communities of Farm Vrede, Goiegeluk Pos, and Santamab Pos has enabled them to have turned their salty water into potable drinking and irrigation water.
According to the Environment Investment Fund (EIF) statement, the entity funded the pilot project to the tune of One million NAD from its own resources.
Namibia is a water-scarce country and ranks among the 30 driest countries in the world- the little water that the communities of the three communal farms have access to, was not fit for direct humans due to high levels of salinity and mineralization. Experts would refer to it as “hard water”.
EIF further added that hard water, while consumable by animals, is often not capable of supporting crops – thereby limiting even household-level food production. The three mini desalination-technologically advanced facilities will now be softening the water for the three communities.
EIF chief executive officer Benedict Libanda highlighted that the three pilot facilities will contribute massively to improving community livelihoods of the communities at the 3 communal farms.
This would also allow communities in the area to diversify their livelihoods by growing vegetables in the backyard gardens.
Moreover, Libanda added that the investment will also contribute to a broader goal of achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
The EIF initiated in-depth discussions with the Erongo regional council (ERC) in mid-2020, where the ERC expressed interest in collaborating with EIF in addressing the water quality problem in the area.
With the participation of the decentralized function of Rural Water Supply.
A consensus was reached amongst the parties that EIF, subject to necessary approvals, investigates the possibility of funding low-cost technologies to soften the water in the area and make it fit for human consumption and irrigation purposes.
Libanda said it is an established fact, globally, that lack of access to quality water has a negative effect both on human health and economic welfare with a direct negative impact on people’s quality of life and also limits livelihoods.
Adding that is a well-known fact that Namibia, like the rest of southern Africa, is a water-scarce country. Making water an extremely scarce and precious commodity in the country because of the very fragile ecological conditions this country is located in.
He said These conditions are characterized by very low rainfall, repeated long spells of drought, and arid conditions.
For these reasons, various communities depend largely on underground sources of water – is it is the case in the Spitzkoppe area – to sustain lives and livelihoods. In his welcoming remarks, headman Benjamin Naruseb commented on the EIF, for their
concerted efforts and dedication in mobilizing the necessary resources towards achieving national and most importantly regional priorities and objectives.
Naruseb said the fund investment is a reflection of the reality that communities living within Namibia’s rural communal areas are at the center of government planning.
The communities were advised to take care of the facilities and ensure that the facilities are used for the right purpose and jealously guard the investment made.
EIF and Rural Water Supply in the region will be studying the facilities for at least the next 24 months to draw lessons from them – from social, cost, maintenance, etc perspectives.
If most of the lessons are positive, the EIF intends to explore a nationwide collaboration with MAWLR to roll this initiative out to more communities where the same need are experienced.
The Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia’s role is a national entity responsible for mobilizing funds and investing them into community projects to address their dire needs.
It is mandated with implementing community projects to improve the lives of our people in communal areas.