Central dam levels above 50 percent

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Albertina Nakale

Windhoek-Despite considerable inflows in the three dam systems the central areas of Namibia do not have reliable water availability in case the next rainy season happens to be below average.

Percy Misika, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, revealed this in an interview with New Era when he gave an update on the water situation in the country following the recurrent droughts experienced over years.

Misika said the average amount of water available in the dams is around half of capacity.
Figures in the NamWater dam bulletin as of June 19, 2017 show that the sub-total for the central areas is only 50.88 percent of capacity. Swakoppoort Dam is 49.97 percent full, while Von Bach Dam is 64.52 percent full and Omatako Dam is a mere 37.32 percent full.

For nearly the same period last year the NamWater weekly dam bulletin showed Swakkoppoort’s water level stood at a mere 14.8 percent, and it also showed that Von Bach Dam stands at 21.8 percent of capacity and Omatako Dam, which was previously empty, had a water level of 7.1 percent.

Namibia received below to normal average rainfall during the previous rainy season, which has brought relief to water users in the country.

In the north central areas (Oshana, Omusati, Ohangwena and Oshikoto), which are supplied mainly through pipelines tapping water from the Kunene River, he said, the Kunene River is sufficiently high, thus supply is guaranteed.

Therefore, he said, some parts of the four regions’ aquifers have received substantial recharges allowing most of the boreholes to have improved quantity and quality water conditions.

For the coastal areas, Misika noted ground water recharge for Omdel and Kuiseb aquifers was minimal and brought little relief to coastal areas.

“The supply from the aquifers and desalinated water from the Areva plant just meets the basic water needs of the coastal areas. Urgent interventions are thus required in developing additional water sources,” he maintained.

Sadly, he said, Kunene is still grappling with acute water shortages because of poor rainfall in the region.

He noted the Kavango West, Kavango East and Zambezi regions received average rainfall, saying both river water and aquifer recharges made significant improvement.

According to him, inland areas however require more infrastructure development.
Unfortunately, Misika stated, Omaheke Region is badly affected and some boreholes are already drying up.

Rehabilitation and drilling of additional boreholes will be required soon, he indicated.
He said the southern parts of the country normally have limited groundwater resources and did not benefit much from the previous rainy season.

“One would say their situation is normal. The dams such as Oanob, Hardap and Naute received significant inflows which is good for the towns and irrigation schemes,’ he explained.

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