Communal Land Board Halts Illegal Water Drilling

ReconAfrica "Unaware" Of Additional Requirements

8 Jan 2022 by The Water Diplomat
RUNDU, Namibia

Canada-based ReconAfrica is facing government scrutiny for illegal water drilling operations in the Kavango region of Namibia.

The minister of agriculture, water and land reform, Calle Schlettwein, has called upon the company to explain why water permits were not obtained prior to commencement of drilling operations in January 2021.

ReconAfrica has been licensed with an exploration permit to search for oil and gas in the area which included boreholes, however activities carried out in the community conservancy fall under the Communal Land Reform Act and therefore require additional water permits which were not granted.

The company was only granted permission to extract water in June 2021, 6 months after operations had already begun.

“We were unhappy with how the water aspect was done in the environmental impact assessment,” Schlettwein told The Namibian last week.

“They did it illegally. We had called them in. We reiterated that the rule is they should not drill for water without any permit. We threatened not to issue a permit anymore if they carried on like that,” He added.

Officials from the ministry are said to have visited one of ReconAfrica’s sites in February 2021 but were denied access.

National Geographic have accused the oil company of disposing of wastewater unsafely and without permits which has apparently threatened nearby wildlife.

Schlettwein has stated that no criminal action will be taken against ReconAfrica, who claim that they were unaware of the additional permits required.