Good Rains Boost Water Security

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Following exceptionally good rains, Namibians are assured of enough water supply till May 2008. Aquifers and underground water systems recharged by rainfall are now full and for water experts this presents a positive water picture. Unlike the current situation where the country has sufficient water, by January this year, the country had not received enough water inflows into the country’s dams. At the time, Hydrology Manager of NamWater Andre Mostert said more runoff was needed to ensure sufficient water supplies. Dams early this year also showed low levels where the three main dams that provide water to Windhoek were in urgent need of water inflow. At the time Swakoppoort Dam stood at 55 percent, Omatako at 33, 8 percent and Von Bach Dam was 77 percent full. Now when experts look at the current dam levels they say the scenario looks much brighter. According to NamWater, the current water levels measured look encouraging when compared to similar periods last year. This reflects an above average rainfall received during the past season. During the previous season, the level of Swakoppoort Dam was 40,1 percent full but comparatively it now stands at 96,6 percent capacity. As for Von Bach, the levels rose from 48,1 percent to 88,8 percent and Omatako also showed a dramatic increase from 13,7 percent the previous season to the current 90,2 percent of capacity. The rainfall performance assessment of the Namibia Meteorological Services recorded that most parts of the country had received substantial rainfall during the 2005/2006 season. In particular, the second half of the season from January to April this year was characterised by above-normal rains. “We have a sufficient distribution of monitoring boreholes at or in the proximity of bulk water supply schemes to record water level responses to rainfall and recharge events,” reads a statement from NamWater’s Hydrology Department. The north and northeast of the country is said to have reliable water sources since surface water is always available in the rivers. The so-called triangle towns like Tsumeb, Grootfontein, Otavi and Omururu have abundant and reliable underground water. The bulk water supply however does not supply water to these towns. Even though the country may be said to have enough water supply for the next two years, the public is being cautioned to still use water sparingly as water is a scarce resource in a dry country like Namibia. Therefore, using water wisely is the key in an arid country. Some tips for saving this natural resource include taking a shower instead of a bath, and using a bucket of water and a cloth to wash your car instead of a hosepipe that takes large amounts of water. Furthermore, the public is being advised to minimise leaving the tap running while shaving, brushing teeth or washing hands.