By Petronella Sibeene
Sluice gates at the Hardap Dam remained open on Thursday after the catchment area received more rain resulting in the dam water levels rising to 75 percent.
On Wednesday night at some point the dam inflow was 1392 cubic meters per second, Namwater Corporate Communications Officer Johannes Shigwedha told New Era.
He said that Namwater was releasing 400 cubic meters per second from the dam.
By yesterday the inflow had receded to 706 cubic meters per second
The sluice gates have been open since Tuesday, Namwater said.
More rain was expected last Thursday as the weather bureau informed Namwater that there was a new cloud development in the west.
Governor of the Hardap region Katrina Hanse expressed concern. She however added that the region has confidence in Namwater and its controlling mechanisms in place.
A flood mitigating committee together with other stakeholders are on alert, monitoring changes in weather conditions and dam levels in the area. These authorities have been alerting the residents of Mariental on the flood situation in the area.
The governor said there is insecurity among the residents.
“Though there is no extreme panic, there is that insecurity, believing that anything can happen,” she said.
In light of the 2006 floods at Mariental, Namwater decided a water dam level limit of 70 percent.
Hydrologists say the dam could not be allowed to be 100 percent full as that poses a great danger to the 46-year-old dam wall that is nearing its lifespan.
It is the biggest of its kind in Namibia, with a water surface area of about 25 square kilometres. It dams up the waters of the Fish River, the only river in the country’s interior that flows just about all year round, although carrying very low quantities of water during the dry season.
Since the Hardap Dam was built in 1962, floods have taken place in 1972, 2001 and 2006.