Hardap dam in dire need for water inflow

The Hardap dam level near Mariental is in dire need of inflow after the dam has reached 6.6 per cent after the last measurement taken on Monday, a situation caused by below-average rainfall during the last rainy season.

The last measurement taken indicated the dam level at 6.6 per cent an equivalent of 18.9 million cubic metres.

Mariental consumes about 800 million litres a month and the dam supplies water to Mariental residents and the Hardap Irrigation Scheme farmers.

In 2017, approximately 5 billion litres of water released in August 2017 from the Hardap Dam to feed Nerckatal dam project in ||Kharas, vanished before reaching the intended destination.

The first release of 1,5 billion litres of water was done on 10 August, while the other 2 billion litres were released on 27 August the same year.

Despite caution given by then agriculture minister John Mutorwa in a letter dated 22 August 2017 to the then former executive director of Ministry Agriculture, Water and Forestry and current chief executive officer Nehemia Abraham, some officials in the ministry went ahead to release the water.

NamWater acting chief for water supply in the south, Andries Kok upon inquiry on Monday said water supply to irrigation will be stopped at 4.8 per cent, equaling, 14 million cubic metres.

Originally it was planned to stop supply to the irrigation end of December 2019, but due to savings measures implemented by the producers, the date will most probably be extended to end of Jan 2020. A new depletion analysis will be done within the next week to determine the final date, Kok said

He said once the supply is stopped to the irrigation scheme, there will be sufficient water until the end of March 2021 for Mariental town.

This is when the dam reaches 1.5 per cent equaling 4.3 million cubic metres. This means we still have two rainy seasons available to get inflow into the dam, the current season as well as the 2020/21 rainy season, he added

He added that once the level reaches 1.5 per cent at the end of March 2021 they will be into the so-called dead storage area and levels are below the normal abstraction points.

Water will still be available but will be abstracted by means of additional pumps that need to be installed into the dam basin. Once irrigation water is not available anymore, more stress will be put on the potable water system, Kok alluded.

For this reason, Kok said, they are busy with the installation of a booster station on the potable water system, to be able to supply more potable water than normal. This will however not be finished by end of January, resulting in difficulty to supply enough potable water as from February until the booster station is finished a few months later.

Source: Namibia Press Agency