Despite Rain, Dams Suffer Poor Inflows


By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Though the country has experienced good rains thus far, the central parts have still not received enough inflows into the dams to last until May next year. Dam levels are only 85 percent full, says the water utility NamWater. The Hydrology Manager of NamWater, Andre Mostert, says more surface runoff water is needed to ensure a sufficient supply of water for an entire two-year period. “At the moment, we don’t have enough water, only until January 2008, while we need water in surface dams up until May 2008 – so we need just under 15 percent,” he said. The company’s latest dam level figures show that the three dams that provide water to Windhoek are in urgent need of more water inflow this rainy season. Swakoppoort stands at 55 percent full, Omatako at 33,8 percent and Von Bach Dam holds the most at 77 percent of volume. These figures were recorded last week. Yet, Mostert cautions that even though Von Bach Dam is almost full to capacity, it alone cannot sustain the supply of water to Windhoek for two years. Evaporation at the Omatako Dam is said to be “very high” because of the poor dam characteristics whereby it has a big surface area but a shallow depth area making it more prone to evaporation. Therefore, the water from this dam is quickly pumped out to Von Bach before it is lost due to evaporation. However, according NamWater’s report on the water situation, if more rainfall is not forthcoming this rainy season, emergency steps will have to be taken to make use of Windhoek’s boreholes that supply about 4 million cubic meters of water per year. Another part that is also not doing so well this rainy season is the Eastern Gobabis Area which includes both Daan Viljoen and Tilda Viljoen and where the Otjivero Dam is not yet full due to low inflows. Gobabis has enough underground water, which has not yet been used by NamWater. However, Mostert reiterated that underground water aquifers would be the preferred option if surface water becomes a problem in that area. On the other hand, the water situation in the south remains fine, where Naute Dam outside Keetmanshoop has enough water up until 2009, while Oanob and Friedenau dams have a water supply expected to last until 2008. The north is also said to be doing fine with its surface water capacity, which is normally obtained from the Zambezi, Kunene and Okavango rivers. “The levels of these rivers also rise during rainy seasons ensuring sufficient surface water, although they are expected to peak much later during the year,” states NamWater. It also states that the Kavango River level currently stands at 4,48 percent after the current good rains. Meanwhile, NamWater has in place a number of other major projects for this financial year and beyond. These range from the water quality project under construction at Katima Mulilo that will cost N$2.3-million, to the Langer Heinrich Uranium Project at an estimated value of N$85-million that will supply water to the mine. Another scheme is the N$27-million Mariental Project expected to be completed by March this year as well as the commissioning of the N$14,3-million Oshivelo-Omutsegwonime Phase 2 Project.