United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek participated in the World Water and Wetlands Commemoration at Von Bach Dam in Okahandja.
Von Bach Dam is one of the three main dams that supply water to central region of Naibia, including Windhoek. Due to a lack of rainfall and the relentless drought, dams are extremely low on water and Namibia is at risk of running out of freshwater by October 2016. Visitors to the Dam are shocked to find out how little the water there is and how severe the water crisis is.
Following a welcome by the Mayor of Okahandja, Cynthia Ortmann, the Chairperson of the Commemoration’s planning committee opened the event by introducing what World Water Day is and stressing the importance of the themes of the day.
Cliff Olivier, from Namibia Water Corporation (NamWater), spoke about the water crisis affecting the country and discussed various methods of securing freshwater besides from dams and rivers. These methods include tapping into underground water aquifers, desalination and treating used water.
He explained that with more pollution, more chlorine is needed to clean water, which makes the process of treating water more difficult. “Please stop polluting, look after wetlands, and be careful about what you pour into your drain. You look after yourself by looking after the water.”
Dieter Tolke and Laura Ashipala from the City of Windhoek (CoW) gave an engaging presentation on water supply and consumption in the capital during the severe drought that Namibia has been facing.
Citing a 30% increase in demand for water last year, CoW urged the audience to reduce their water consumption by 30% in order to conserve freshwater resources.
In between the speakers, students danced, sang and played drums in celebration of water.
Following the performance, Anna Shiweda, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry emphasized the importance of educating the public on efficient, wise and conscientious water consumption.
"Let us educate our children to use water wisely, adapt or adopt innovative ways to ensure the available limited water generates the desired maximum benefits for a much longer period than anticipated," she said.
Students from various schools across Namibia’s central region, shared with the audience what they had learned about water conservation and water treatment during their trip to a water treatment plant in Okahandja a day before the event, on World Water Day. A competition of performances about water followed.
UNIC was part of the planning committee for the commemoration, helping organize the event throughout several weeks. UNIC shared pictures information about the commemoration and educational information from various partners on its social media campaign which lasted from 15 March to the end of the month.
The event, which took place on March 23rd, was the second day of a two-day commemoration run by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry with its partners NamWater, the City of Windhoek, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the University of Namibia and the Namibia University of Science and Technology.