MARIENTAL – The Mariental Flood Task Force (MFTF) has worked out modalities to control inflows into Hardap Dam that had to open its sluice gates to ease the build-up of water in the dam.
At a meeting held Wednesday the modalities were determined for the management of water levels during the remainder of the rainy season. This came about after Namwater opened the sluices of the Hardap Dam twice over the past four days to control water inflow into the country’s biggest dam.
The dam level presently stands at 71 per cent and expectations are that more water will be released during the coming days when further rainfall is anticipated in the dam’s catchment areas.
Chairman of the MFTF, Chris Nel, says there is no reason for panic as the inflow into the dam is constantly monitored for remedial action.
He said the MFTF also discussed the excavation work completed in the river last year.
Nel said the excavation work is a success and the river is no longer overflowing its banks. Hence the decision by the MFTF to call for new tenders, perhaps in May or June to complete the clearing, widening and deepening of the river. The entire clearing process will stretch over 15 kilometres.
Nel said although the management of the dam’s water level is excellent, the inflow into the dam is very fast. The water level is kept at about 70 per cent because of the speed of the inflow, but that is not the ideal scenario as it could bring about problems should rain not fall after the release of the water. Farmers particularly in the green scheme are worried when levels are too low, he said.
Since excavating the river is hampered by the presence of prosopis trees, Nel said the MFTF has resolved to clear the river of the trees by using manual labour, which provides employment for the local communities.
Nel said the MFTF also discussed the reintroduction of insurance for the areas west of the railway line, which was suspended after the 2006 flooding of Mariental when insurance companies had to pay out some N$126 million on claims for flood damage.
According Nel, development cannot take place at the town without insurance for buildings in the western parts.
“A the moment there is no protection for inhabitants in terms of insurance, both from insurance companies and the government. However indications are that plans are underway to work out modalities to reintroduce insurance,” he said.
Hardap Dam’s catchment area stretches over a whopping 13 600 square kilometers, but coordination and cooperation between all stakeholders to prevent any future flooding of Mariental are excellent, Nel said.
Meanwhile, the multi-million dollar upgrade and renovations to the Hardap Dam Resort is progressing well and the first phase of the project will be completed and handed over to Namibia Wildlife Resorts towards the end of the year.
Ngenno Himarwa, co-owner of Mariental Construction, says the first phase consists of the upgrade of the restaurant, the swimming pool, the first twenty bungalows and conference facilities.
The second phase will follow shortly after the completion of the first phase, which will cost some N$40 million
By Hoandi !Gaeb