Rural communities provided with improved sanitation facilities
In addition, the first phases of both the Ngoma and Kongola Water Supply Schemes at Katima Mulilo as well as the Eiseb and Soutputs Water Supply Schemes were also completed.
The facilities were constructed under the Water Supply and Sanitation Policy established in 2008 to reaffirm the need to provide potable, safe water and basic sanitation services throughout the country. Article 95 section E in the Namibian Constitution states that potable, safe water and basic sanitation services are a human right which the Government should avail to all citizens.
At a recent workshop of the review of the 8th Joint Annul Review Report for the Water and Sanitation sector, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Honourable John Mutorwa stated that the construction of the facilities was made possible with funding by the European Union.
“The increased funding towards the Water Supply and Sanitation sector has resulted in a total allocation of up to Euro 36 million including a sum of Euro 1.4 million for technical assistance. For this, we as a Ministry and as a country wish to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation towards all our development partners,” Mutorwa said.
The need for potable water and basic sanitation services across the country was identified at Independence as one of the major basic essential needs of which the people, especially those living in communal areas, had been deprived. The water and sanitation situation prevailing in the country is characterised by scarce water resources, poor access to running water in rural areas and a large percentage of the population living in vulnerable conditions in informal settlements.
The situation, which has become worse over the years, requires accelerated research and development of dry sanitation systems and affordable solutions for low income communities.
Most people residing in informal settlements still do not enjoy basic sanitation services.
The 2007 Namibia Demographic and Health Survey indicates large differences in sanitation coverage across the different regions and although access to safe water for the rural population has increased from 43% in 1991 to 80% in 2001, sanitation coverage in rural areas has not progressed according to expectations. By 2009 only 13% of the rural population had access to improved sanitation with 61% of the urban population having access to improved sanitation.
A report entitled Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water 2013 Update, warns that, at the current rate of progress, the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of the 1990 population without sanitation will be missed by 8 % which translates to half a billion people.
Although access to safe drinking water in Namibia looks favourable with an average 87% of the country’s population having access to clean potable water, the situation for sanitation, is still very challenging, particularly for the rural population where latest statistics indicate that 75% of rural households still lack access to appropriate sanitation facilities.