Dam Levels Lower Than Last Year

Despite exceptionally good downpours in late February, March and April this year in most parts of the country, the sub-total of major dams in the central areas has dropped to levels lower than the corresponding period last year when Namibia was in the grip of a devastating drought.

However, the good news is that dam levels in the south and the Gobabis area are all substantially higher than at the same time last year.

Windhoek’s water situation remains a grave concern for water experts as the capital with its 300 000 residents gobbles up more than 24 million cubic metres per annum.

The current seasonal forecast of regional climate experts is that the approaching rainy season which stats in October would be normal to wetter than normal.

According to the latest NamWater Dam Bulletin, the average levels of dams in the central areas have dipped to 42 percent, compared to 43.8 percent in September 2013. The sub-total of dam levels in the eastern parts of the country has risen to 70.3 percent, compared to 44.3 percent in the corresponding period last year while dam levels in the south have risen to 61.6 percent. In September 2013, these levels stood at 41.1 percent.

The Naute Dam near Keetmanshoop, the biggest dam in Namibia, is now 68.9 percent full, compared to 64.1 percent last year at the same time.

The level of the Hardap Dam near Mariental stands at 64.7 percent, compared to 35.3 percent at the same time in 2013. The Swakoppoort Dam is now 53.5 percent full, compared to 52.7 percent last year at the same time. The levels of the Von Bach Dam and the Omatako Dam, the Friedenhau Dam and the Oanob Dam kept on dropping during winter and are now below the levels recorded at the same time last year.

The last bulletin shows that Namibia’s central areas are by no means out of the woods as far as water supply is concerned.

Grave concern has been mounting amongst role players about the ever-deteriorating situation of water levels of Namibia’s major dams and this prompted the Windhoek Municipality last year to warn residents about the precarious situation and make every drop count.

Reminding Windhoek residents of water restrictions that were imposed already last year, the manager of corporate communications at the Windhoek Municipality, Joshua Amukugo, said that the water supply situation is be reassessed after the end of every rainy season. He warned that tighter restrictions might be on the cards if the situation remained unchanged.

The current water restrictions imposed by the Windhoek Municipality include a ban on the use of hosepipes to wash cars, the mandatory covering of private swimming pools and no watering of gardens between the hours of 10:00 and 16:00.

Government recognised an imminent water crisis in the central and northern areas at the beginning of the year, launching a N$7.6 million pre-feasibility study to investigate all alternative water sources which could be developed to secure a long-term, affordable water solution for these areas as well as parts of the Omaheke and Otjizondupa regions and Cuvelai Delta.

Windhoek’s runaway population growth and economic activities prompted the urgent study.

Fears of Windhoek – economic hub of the central areas – running dry mounted when recent modelling predicted shortfalls in water supply by 2020, based on the median scenario, and this will be much earlier if Namibia experiences more poor rainy seasons, independent experts have warned.

Source : New Era